Originally Posted by HN1
Start here. Saltwater Fishing Regulations
You can likely do it legally, but if you violate the law and are caught the fines are very severe. I personally wouldn't do it for the worry of bringing in some funky wild disease or capturing a fish that I knew nothing about and did not know how to properly keep.
ANYTIME you bring in fish or inverts direct from the sea, you should quarantine them. This makes them safe to add to your main tank at a future date ( provided they don't come down with some incurable condition.) Failure to quarantine will usually result in disaster at some point.
As for whether it's worth the money, that's up to you. If the license costs $10 ( just using this as an example) and you only collect what would have cost you $5.00 in the store to buy, was it worth it? There are no guarantees you will collect what you seek. Sometimes the experience of collecting your own is very tempting and rewarding but I can tell you, more often than not, once you consider equipment to collect, traveling equipment, quarantine time, meds, etc., it's safer and more cost effective to buy from a store. ( And yes, I used to be a collector myself
Hope this helps