License-free fishing: Florida officials announce license-free fishing during Thanksgiving weekend

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott is waiving fishing license requirements for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The governor and state wildlife officials have declared Friday, Nov. 29 a license-free freshwater fishing day and Saturday, Nov. 30 a license-free saltwater fishing day.

"License-free fishing days serve as a great opportunity for families to enjoy the incredible fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer," Scott said in a statement. "After the Thanksgiving holiday, families will be able to head to the water with their visiting guests and experience some of the best fishing in the world."

Each year, the state authorizes eight license-free fishing days to help grow the fishing industry and promote conservation stewardship. All other fishing and boating rules and regulations still apply. In addition, the state's fish and wildlife agency runs promotion programs that allow anglers to win prizes for catching and documenting certain species of fish.

Beginning in 2014, all of the sanctioned fishing days will fall on the same weekend days from year to year. Officials hope the regular schedule will encourage anglers and businesses to plan fishing trips around the events.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state's recreational fishing industry supports nearly 80,000 jobs and has an $8.9 billion economic impact.

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