TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida gives a gift to veterans just in time for Veterans Day.
The state is making it a little easier for Florida veterans to enter the commercial fishing industry.
Florida will waive restrictions on getting a restricted species license for veterans so they can take such species as king mackerel, flounder, shrimp and mahi.
Normally, people with commercial fishing licenses must meet an income requirement demonstrating that $5,000 or 25 percent of their annual income came from sales of saltwater fish during one of the past three years.
Now that requirement is waived for veterans.
The program is open to veterans honorably discharged between September 11, 2001 and June 30, 2014.
"This is an opportunity for the Fish and Wildlife Commission to give back to those people who have served our country and we're excited, we're pleased to have the opportunity to do that," said Commissioner Charles Roberts of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Roberts calls the program an opportunity for veterans to get involved in a challenging but rewarding industry.
"If you've had a day that you could spend out on the water fishing, whether you're commercial or recreational, it is a special time. It's one of those blessings that we especially share up in the Panhandle of Florida but all over the state of Florida with the many species of fish that we have the opportunity to catch."
The waiver on the restricted species license lasts one year. After that period expires, disabled veterans will get a financial break to qualify for the license.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates the program will open the door to the commercial fishing industry for hundreds of veterans.
First Coast News