US Fish & Wildlife Service to Issue Commercial Fishing Guide Permits

The US Fish & Wildlife Service Announces Lottery to Issue Commercial Fishing Guide Permits

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting applications for available commercial fishing guide permits. Persons who do not currently possess a permit to guide on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and would like to secure one, have until December 31, 2023 to submit their application. Fillable pdf applications are available online at 2024 Lottery Application for Fishing Guides 2024 | and can be emailed to or can be printed and delivered via the U.S. Postal Service to P.O. Box 2683 Titusville, FL 32781.

Submitted applications will be placed into a lottery. For 2024 there are approximately 8 permits available. The names drawn will receive a permit for the 2024 calendar year. The drawing will be held on January 5, 2024 at the Refuge Visitor Center. Selected individuals must meet all stipulations including liability insurance, licensing and all other requirements before receiving a permit.

A commercial special use permit is required to conduct any sort of commercial activity on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The number of fishing guide permits issued was set at 70 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as part of
their comprehensive conservation plan in 2007. Refuge website: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (   For more information regarding guide requirements and/or the lottery, please contact Todd Coudret at 321-861-0668.

2023 Waterfowl Hunt Impoundment Conditions Report Now Available

Attention waterfowl hunters! The 2023 Waterfowl Hunt Impoundment Conditions report for Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is now available in our library.

Haulover Bridge Closure Update

The Haulover Canal Bridge will remain closed to road traffic until December 10, 2023, while continuing repairs are made to the bridge. Refuge public use areas on either side of the bridge will still be open to visitation during the closure. For additional information, please contact the refuge visitor center at 321-861-0669. 

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For the most up to date information about Refuge events, closures and hours, visit our Facebook page:

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, located along Florida’s coast about 60 miles east of the city of Orlando, was established by agreement as an overlay of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. The refuge lies within one of the most productive estuaries in the country.
Refuge Passes available on

A Refuge Pass is required to enter the Black Point Wildlife Drive and Bio Lab Road, and to launch a boat at Bairs Cove, Beacon 42, and Bio Lab boat ramps. A variety of passes can be purchased in-person at the Visitor Center. Merritt Island Annual, Daily, and Foot/Bicycle passes can be purchased online at Fees collected are used to directly assist with providing safe and meaningful experiences to refuge visitors.

Learn more about Refuge Passes on our Visit Us page

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide diversity of recreational and educational opportunities. From bird watching and nature study, to fishing and seasonal hunting, you are sure to find an activity to satisfy your passion. 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established as an overlay of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. According to the agreement with NASA, the lands and waters of the Kennedy Space Center are primarily to serve the space program and secondarily to serve as a wildlife refuge or park.

      What We Do

      Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters managed within the Refuge System, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      is established to the recreational activities offered to the resource management tools used.

      Our Species

      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 for the protection of migratory birds.  Consisting of 140,000 acres, the refuge provides a wide variety of habitats: coastal dunes, saltwater marshes, managed impoundments, scrub, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks. These habitats provide habitat for more than 1,500 species of plants and animals and 15 federally listed species. 

      Our Library

      Visit our digital library to view our brochures and publications all in one convenient location.

      Merritt Island NWR Hunt Impoundment Conditions November 2023

      A report of water levels, salinities and conditions within select waterfowl hunt impoundments at Merritt Island NWR.