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 Islands Information

Place: Gulf Islands

Gulf Islands National Seashore - Seasonal Guide to Marine Fauna

Gulf Islands National Seashore is surrounded by water. The Gulf of Mexico, bays, sounds, and inlets provide bountiful waters for a wide variety of marine fauna. The quiet bays, sounds, and inlets are estuaries where fresh water from mainland rivers mix with saltwater from the Gulf. These estuarine areas are nurseries providing nutrients from decomposing marsh plants for developing shell and finfish such as shrimp, blue crab, and cobia. Likewise seaweed wracks produce nutrients for small marine creatures that are fed on by large animals in the Gulf of Mexico. Consequently, Florida's waters have thousands of organisms including jellyfish, barnacles, isopods, polychaete worms, crustaceans, crabs, fish, reptiles, and mammals.

Common Marine Species

Spring (March-May)

Fish: bluefish, cobia, croaker, grouper, pompano, sea trout, snapper, blue crab, and shrimp

Mammals: Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin close inshore.

Crustaceans: Hermit Crabs, conquina clams

Summer (June-September)

Fish: saltwater mullet, bluefish, croaker, pompano, sea trout, snapper, blue crab, shrimp

Mammals: Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins

Reptiles: Loggerhead and green sea turtles nesting on Gulf beaches

Jellyfish: Sea Nettles, Moon Jelly

Crustaceans: Hermit crabs, coquina clams, blue crabs

Phosphorescent plankton glowing in night waters

Fall (October-November)

Fish: flounder, saltwater mullet, bluefish, croaker, grouper, red fish, sea trout, snapper

Winter (December-February)

Fish: flounder, king mackerel, bluefish, croaker, grouper, saltwater mullet, red fish, sea trout, snapper

For the protection of the marine environment, please respect the following regulations:

    A saltwater license is not required if you are fishing ONLY from the Fort Pickens fishing pier. If you are fishing from anywhere else, you MUST have a fishing license. Know your legal requirements. Licenses are available at local fish shops.

    Seas grass bed closures in two coves behind Perdido Key are marked by closure bouys. These areas are closed to combustible engines. Boaters can enter, but only while using paddles, sails, poles or electric motors.

    Release unwanted fish. Remember, unless you eat it or use it for bait, it MUST be returned to the water immediately.

    Dispose of garbage in proper receptacles.

    Do not walk on submerged sea grass beds.

    Educate others on proper fishing etiquette.

    Recycle monofilament fishing line.

    Know your bag limits and protected species.

Information provided by:
National Park Service