April, 2014 Commission Meeting
This meeting is
to the public
All interested individuals may speak at workshops or meetings of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) within the guidelines established by the Commission. To ensure the public's opportunity to be heard and the orderly conduct of the meeting, the Chairman reserves the right to establish a time for adjournment of the workshop or meeting, to limit the time for speakers, and to limit the time allotted for specific agenda items.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting should notify the agency at least five calendar days before the meeting by calling 850-488-6411. Contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice) if you are hearing or speech impaired.
Agenda items listed under headings other than “Items Requiring Action” may be re-ordered or moved by the Chairman to different days of the meeting to accommodate scheduling issues.
The meeting may include fact-finding field trips to Commission-managed areas or facilities; or to other areas to learn about management, and enforcement activities.
Typically, the Chairman may ask staff and the public to work through lunch on either day. Please plan accordingly.
If any person decides to challenge any decision with respect to any matter considered at the meeting, he or she may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which includes testimony and evidence upon which the challenge is based.
1:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 15
- Meeting Opening
- Call to Order
- Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
- Commissioner Strategic Discussion – Future of Conservation
- Wildlife in Florida: Conflict to Coexistence to Conservation –
Commissioners will hear presentations and have a discussion on human-wildlife interaction. Mr. Jim Sterba, author of Nature Wars: the Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned into Battlegrounds, will share his insight into the increase in human-wildlife interactions and the management measures being utilized to address this issue.
- Perspectives on connecting family and youth to the outdoors – Commissioners will receive comments from Mr. Jim Fowler, a professional zoologist who was the co-host and host of the Emmy Award-winning television show Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom from 1963-1988.
- Increasing Participation in Conservation –
Commissioners will hear presentations and have discussion on strategic challenges to increase participation in conservation by reaching Florida’s youth and families, and by extending our conservation message throughout Florida’s diverse cultural audiences. Captain Diego Torian, host of Pescando en Los Cayos (Fishing in the Keys), will address how he created a fishing sport/marine conservation message oriented towards the Hispanic audience.
- Public Comment
- Commission Exchange
- Recess Tuesday’s Portion of the Meeting
8:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 16, Reconvene
- Meeting Opening and Recognitions
- Call to Order
- Invocation and Pledge
- Louise Ireland Humphrey Award
- Shikar-Safari Officer of the Year Award
- Administrative Matters
- Review and Approve February 12-13, 2014 Commission Meeting Minutes
- Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
- Approve Consent Agenda
- Executive Director’s Report
- Chairman’s Report
- Commissioner Strategic Discussion – Habitat Conservation
- FWC Land Acquisition and Management - Staff will provide a comprehensive overview of habitat conservation in Florida with an emphasis on FWC’s Wildlife Management Area system.
- Items Requiring Action - Marine Fisheries
- Final Rules
- Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Season - The proposed rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:
68B-14.0038 Recreational Snapper Seasons - The proposed rule would modify the recreational harvest season for red snapper in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico to begin the Saturday before Memorial Day and end July 14.
- Sea Cucumbers – At the February 2014 Commission meeting, the Commission directed staff to explore possible management alternatives forensuring the sustainability of commercial sea cucumber harvest and return with a recommendation for a final rule. Sea cucumbers are prone tooverexploitation and many of the fisheries that have developed throughout the world in recent decades have been characterized by rapid expansion, unsustainable harvest rates, and fishery collapse. Commercial sea cucumberlandings in Florida have increased substantially over the last year. Staff will present a variety of options for management of commercial sea cucumber harvest for Commission considerations and recommend adopting a final rule to establish a daily commercial trip limit and a daily commercial vessel limit of 200 sea cucumbers.
- Chapter 68B-42.006 Commercial Season, Harvest Limits – The proposed rule would create a daily commercial trip limit and a daily vessel limit of 200 individual sea cucumbers.
- Draft Rules
- Gulf Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit – Staff will present a proposal for recreational reef fish data collection that would better define the population of offshore reef fish anglers for survey purposes using a permit or registry system. These improvements would enhance current recreational harvest data collection efforts for Florida’s reef fish species, including red snapper. The proposed draft rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:
- 68B-14.009 License Requirements (NEW) – A new rule would be created that would require persons recreationally harvesting red snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, almaco jack, vermilion snapper, and gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico, excluding Monroe County, to possess a valid Gulf Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit. This would apply only to harvest from private vessels and not include for-hire vessels.
- Lionfish – Lionfish are invasive marine species that pose a threat to native marine species and ecosystems. Three draft rules will be proposed to prevent further lionfish introductions and facilitate efforts to remove these non-native predators. Harvest by divers using either spearing gear or hand held nets is currently the primary means of lionfish population control. Persons diving by means of a rebreather are currently prohibited from harvesting any marine species in state waters. A proposed draft rule would create an exception to allow persons using rebreathers to harvest lionfish. In addition, there are several places in state waters that are closed to all spearfishing. In the past the Executive Director, in consultation with the Chairman, has issued Executive Orders to allowparticipants in organized, approved events to use spearing gears to remove lionfish from some of these locations. A proposed draft rule would allow the FWC Executive Director or his designee to issue permits to these types of tournaments or other approved events for the use of spearing gears (in areas where spearfishing is otherwise prohibited) to remove lionfish or other non-native invasive species, instead of having to issue an Executive Order. Control efforts are also hampered by the possible continued introduction of additional individuals or species. The third proposed draft rule would prohibit any further importation of live lionfish or the development of lionfish aquaculture in Florida. Staff will also present a summary of the outcomes of the Lionfish Summit hosted by FWC last October, including the progress made so far toward implementing many of the requests from stakeholders that were presented at that meeting.
- 68B-4.012 Diving: Powerheads and Rebreathers, Use to Harvest Fish in State Waters Prohibited; Definition; Spearfishing Marine Species in Freshwater Prohibited – The proposed rule amendment would allow persons diving by means of a rebreather to harvest lionfish from state waters.
- 68B-5.006 Lionfish – The proposed rules would eliminate the language in the lionfish rule that references the prohibition on use of rebreathers in 68B-4.012 and reference the new prohibitions on importation of live lionfish and lionfish aquaculture that would be detailed in 68-5.
- 68B-20.003 Spearing, Statewide Regulation; Prohibition Against Powerheads, Bangsticks, and Rebreathers; Repeal of Certain Special Acts. - The proposed rule amendment would create a reference to the new rule (proposed below) that allows for an exception to statewide spearing prohibitions. There would not be a change necessary in this rule to deal with rebreathers.
- 68B-20.004 Exception to Statewide Spearing Prohibitions (NEW) – The proposed new rule would allow the Executive Director or his designee to issue permits to tournaments or other approved organized events for use of spearfishing gears in areas where spearing is otherwise prohibited. These permits would only be issued for the removal of lionfish or other non-native invasive species.
- 68-5.005 Lionfish (NEW) – The proposed rule would prohibit the importation of live lionfish, prohibit sale of illegally imported live lionfish, and prohibit aquaculture of lionfish in Florida.
- Fishery Management Council Updates
- Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) – Staff will report on GMFMC actions from their April 7-11 meeting in Baton Rouge, LA. Topics include: red snapper and mackerel.
- South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) – Staff will report on SAFMC actions from their March 3-7 meeting in Savannah, GA. Topics include: various snapper grouper species, dolphin, wahoo, and mackerel.
- Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
- Commissioner Exchange
- Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting