Special Use Permits

Snowy Egret
  • Commercial Fishing

    In 2007 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service developed a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) to guide the management of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The plan outlines the Refuge's programs and corresponding resource needs for the next 15 years as mandated by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.

    As part of the planning process the Service conducted a visitor services review of the public use program. As a result of that review process, it was determined that within five years of the approval of the CCP the Refuge would cap the number of commercial fishing guide permits at no more than 70 permits and the fees would be sufficient to defray the program costs.

    As of the beginning of fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016) 70 permits have been issued and no more will be issued. If, due to natural attrition, the number of permitted guides falls below 70, available permits will be issued based on a lottery system. For an updated list of commercial guides, go to Visit then Visitor Activities then Fishing to view an updated list on our website.


  • Research

    If you are a student, teacher, or other non-FWS organization interested in conducting research or educational programming on the refuge, we encourage you to contact refuge management at least one month in advance to begin the SUP process. If you are found conducting an activity that requires a SUP without the appropriate permission you could be subject to legal action.

    Research Permit Application

  • Commercial Photography

    A Film Permit is required for commercial filming and photography on National Wildlife Refuges. The Film Permit will help insure compatibility with refuge purposes, public use, ongoing research, or to protect refuge resources. 

    Commercial filming and photography will not be permitted if it is determined if:
    *There is likelihood of wildlife disturbance.
    *There would be an unreasonable disruption of the public’s use
      and enjoyment of the site (beyond short-term interruptions).
    *The activity poses a health or safety risk to the public.

     Commercial Use Permit Application


  • General Use

    Special Use Permits are also required for miscellaneous events (fishing tournaments, one-time events, other special events),  and any other activity not mentioned. Weddings and other non-wildlife related gatherings are not authorized. Contact refuge management at least one month in advance to begin the permit process. 



  • Fishing Permit

    You must possess a current signed Refuge Sport Fishing Permit at all times while fishing on the refuge. 

    Boating and Fishing Permit

  • Hunting Permit

    The refuge offers waterfowl and deer hunting.  All hunters, 16 years of age or older, are required to possess a free Merritt Island NWR Hunt Permit, which certifies they understand and will comply with all refuge hunting regulations.

    Waterfowl Hunt Regulations 

    Download/View the Big Game Hunting brochure here

    or you may pick one up at the refuge Visitor Center.