Commission Meeting

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June, 2011 Commission Meeting

Time: 8:30am each day
Dates: June 8 - 9, 2011
Place: The Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village 500 South Legacy Trail St. Augustine, FL 32092-2719

This meeting is open 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.

For information on lodging and restaurants within the area, you may call the St. John's County Chamber of Commerce or visit their website at http://www.stjohnscountychamber.com/.

Agenda

8:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 8

  1. Meeting Opening
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
    3. Recognitions
      1. Local artist - Captain Pierre Pierce
      2. Introduction of Commission employees
  2. Adoption of Agenda
  3. Administrative Matters
    1. Election of Chair and Vice Chair
    2. Review and Approval of April, 2011, Commission Meeting Minutes (April 2011 Minutes)
    3. Approval of Consent Agenda
  4. Executive Director's Report
  5. Items Requiring Action
    1. Issues
      1. Results of Biological Status Reviews - Staff will present information on 61 Biological Status Reviews prepared for those species listed as Species of Special Concern or as State-designated Threatened Species.  The Commission will determine if staff's listing recommendations are warranted. (Threatened Species BSRs) (Staff Listing Recommendations)
      2. Approval of Changes to Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines - Staff will discuss changes to permitting guidelines that have been identified and report on the stakeholder engagement process used to review those changes.  If approved, changes would be implemented by staff as soon as possible. (Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines) (Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines Presentation)
      3. Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program - Staff will update the Commission on the status of the eligible projects on the Atlantic Coast of Florida and seek direction on selection of applicants to be a part of the legislatively authorized pilot program. (Anchoring/Mooring Presentation)
    2. Final Rules ( Daylight Alligator Hunting Presentation) (Final Rule 68A-25.042) ( Daylight Alligator Hunting Presentation Update)

      68A-25.042 Regulations Governing State-wide Alligator Trapping, Permitting, Taking and Sale.- Daylight Alligator Hunting Hours Extension - The proposed final rule will expand the legal hours for taking an alligator under the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program by 4 hours, and set the legal hours from 5pm to 10am daily during the established season.  Under this approach, alligator hunters will have more daylight hunting to accommodate more flexible scheduling and use airboats during unrestricted times, while overlap and potential conflict with other water recreationists, who typically use lakes and rivers during mid-morning through late afternoon, will be minimized.
    3. Draft Rules
      1. 68C- 22.028, Flagler County (NEW) - Flagler County Manatee Protection - Review and discussion of staff recommendations for a state manatee protection rule for Flagler County.  Staff will describe the public input received to date and plans for continuing the rule making process. (Flagler County Local Rule Review Report) (Flagler County Local Rule Review Response) (Flagler County Manatee Rule Presentation)
    4. Issues
      1. 68A- 15.064(5) - Deer Hunting Regulations, Big Cypress National Preserve, Stairsteps Unit - Staff will be seeking Commission direction on continuing restrictions on harvest of deer in this area. (Stairsteps Report) (Stairsteps Presentation)
      2. Staff Report on New Recreational License Issuance Services (RLIS) Contract (RLIS Presentation)
  6. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  7. Commissioner Exchange

    Establishment of a New Commission Award
  8. Recess Wednesday's Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, June 9, Reconvene

  9. Meeting Opening - Call to Order
  10. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rules
      1. Permit, Florida Pompano and African Pompano - In order to give permit, Florida pompano, and African pompano more protection and increase the enforceability of the Commission's current rule, extension of current state waters regulations into federal waters, where these species are currently unregulated, is being proposed along with several modifications.  The proposed final rules would create separate management strategies for permit, Florida pompano, and African pompano.  Modifications are also proposed to simplify the current rule language.  The proposed final rules would amend the Commission's rule for permit, Florida pompano, and African pompano rule as follows: (Permit and Pompano Presentation)
        1. 68B- 35.002, Definitions - The proposed final rule would add definitions for harvest for commercial purposes, person, recreational harvester, spearing, snagging, and the Special Permit Zone (SPZ) where special permit regulations apply.

          In addition to the amendments approved in April, staff is suggesting modifying the definition of the SPZ so that it would include state and federal waters lying south of a line running due east from Cape Florida at 25°40' North Latitude, waters of Biscayne Bay south of Rickenbacker Causeway, and waters south of a line at Cape Sable at 25o09'North Latitude running west through federal waters and running east to the mainland.   Staff is also proposing adding a definition for the Pompano Endorsement Zone.  If approved, these changes will be advertised via a notice of change
        2. 68B-35.003, Size Limits; Prohibition of Sale; Landing in Whole Condition - (formerly titled Size and Bag Limits; Prohibition of Sale)  The proposed final rule would extend current size regulations for commercial harvests of permit and Florida pompano, and for recreational and commercial harvests of African pompano, into adjacent federal waters.  It would also prohibit the possession of any permit or Florida pompano with a fork length greater than 20 inches on commercial vessels in all waters.  The proposed final rule would establish a minimum size of 22 inches for recreational permit harvest inside the SPZ, and a slot size of 11-22 inches for recreational permit harvest in all waters outside the SPZ.  The proposed final rule would replace the recreational slot of 11-20 inches for Florida pompano with a minimum size limit of 11 inches.  The bag limit language in this section would be moved into a newly created section of the rule.
        3. 68B-35.0035, Bag Limits (NEW) - The proposed final rule would establish this new section to define bag limits for permit, Florida pompano, and African pompano.  The bag limits from all the other portions of this rule would be moved to this new section.  The proposed final rule would maintain a recreational bag limit of 6 Florida pompano per person for all waters.  This bag limit would no longer include permit.  The proposed final rule would extend the current commercial bag limit of 250 Florida pompano to federal waters.  It would also establish a recreational bag limit of 1 permit per person, with a vessel maximum of 2 permit, inside the SPZ.  Also, it would prohibit captain and crew of for-hire vessels from keeping permit.  Outside the SPZ, the recreational bag limit for permit would be 2 per person, including 1 allowed over 22 inches, and a vessel limit of 2 permit over 22 inches.  Inside the SPZ, directed commercial harvest of permit would be prohibited.  The proposed final rule would also extend the 2 fish bag limit for African pompano for all harvesters into federal waters. In addition to the amendments approved in April, staff is suggesting that outside the SPZ, directed commercial harvest of permit would be prohibited in all waters.  The incidental bycatch allowance of 100-permit that was approved in April would be increased to 250-permit for commercial harvesters legally targeting other species with gill nets in federal waters.  If approved, these changes will be advertised via a notice of change.
        4. 68B-35.004, Gear Specifications and Prohibited Gear - The proposed final rule would extend the current allowable recreational and commercial gears for Florida pompano into federal waters.  The allowable gear for recreational harvest of permit in all state waters would continue to be hook and line only.  The allowable gears for recreational harvest of permit in all federal waters would include hook and line and spearing.  For the commercial incidental bycatch harvest in federal waters, the allowable gear would be gill and entangling nets.  For African pompano, hook and line would continue to be the only allowable gear in state waters, but spearing would be allowed for recreational and commercial harvest in federal waters.   The pompano endorsement zone boundaries and gear language would be moved to another section of the rule.  In addition to the amendments approved in April, staff is proposing to require direct transit to shore from federal waters and through state waters for any vessels that have harvested permit in federal waters with gill and entangling nets. If approved, this change will be advertised via a notice of change.
        5. 68B-35.005, Pompano Endorsement Regulations - (formerly titled Commercial Pompano Harvest Requirements; Pompano Endorsement Criteria; State and Federal Waters Pompano Daily Harvest limits and License Requirements for Sale or Purchase) The proposed final rule would add Florida pompano endorsement gear language and zone boundaries to this part of the rule, clarify the language on zone boundaries and landing requirements, and rename this section of the rule.  The pompano commercial bag limit language in this section would be moved into a newly created section of the rule.
        6. 68B- 35.006, Closed Season (NEW) - The proposed final rule would establish a closed season for permit harvest inside the SPZ during the months of May, June and July.
      2. Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper - Adoption of Federal Standard - The proposed rule amendment would reduce the length of the recreational season for red snapper harvest in the Gulf of Mexico to achieve consistency between the Commission's red snapper season and federal regulations in Gulf of Mexico federal waters.  A consistent season in Gulf state waters would contribute to the federal rebuilding plan and reduce the likelihood of catch exceeding the federal recreational quota.  The proposed rule would modify the Commission's reef fish rule as follows: (Gulf Red Snapper Presentation)
        1. 68B-14.0038, Recreational Snapper Seasons - The proposed rule amendment would create a 48-day red snapper fishing season in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, from June 1 through July 18, for 2011.
        If the proposed rule is approved, Commission staff would file the rule as allowed by the noticing requirements of 120.54 (6) Florida Statues, which provides a process for adoption of a rule identical to federal regulation without further hearing.
      3. Stone Crab - Extension of State Regulations into Federal Waters - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is in the process of repealing its Stone Crab Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and transferring the management of this fishery to Florida.  The Commission directed staff to accept this transfer and manage the fishery in both state and federal waters; therefore, the current Florida stone crab regulations must be extended into federal waters.  This extension should occur prior to the removal of the FMP to prevent loss of regulations in federal waters.  The proposed final rule would modify the Commission's rule for stone crab as follows: (Stone Crab Presentation)
        1. 68B-13.001. Applicability of rules to state and federal waters (NEW) - This newly created section would extend our state rules into federal waters in the absence of any regulations of stone crab in federal waters.
        2. 68B-13.010, Stone Crab Trap Limitation Program - The proposed final rule would remove a reference to a federal form that will no longer be required because of the repeal of the federal FMP.
        3. 68B-13.011, Prohibitions - The proposed final rule would remove a reference to a federal tag requirement.
        4. In addition to the proposed rule language approved in April, staff identified the following change which, if approved, would be advertised as a draft rule with no further hearing planned prior to adoption, unless requested68B-13.006. Licenses, Endorsements, and Permits - The proposed rule amendment would state that a stone crab endorsement is required in order to possess stone crabs for commercial purposes.
    2. Draft Rules
      1. Marine Life Rule Amendments - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council intends to remove octocorals from its Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is in the process of redefining the fishery management unit in their Coral, Coral Reef, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat FMP to exclude allowable octocorals in federal waters off Florida.  Based on Commission direction, Florida agreed to manage the fishery in both state and federal waters. In order to take over the management of this fishery, Florida octocoral regulations must be extended into federal waters.  Florida regulations would also be modified to establish an annual quota for allowable octocoral harvest in state and federal waters off Florida.  Additionally, the Commission would continue to prohibit all harvest of octocorals in Atlantic federal waters north of Cape Canaveral and in the Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern adjacent to Florida state waters (Stetson-Miami Terrace and Pourtales Terrace).  Finally, the proposed rule would clarify that regulations for all marine life species in Chapter 68B-42, F.A.C. with the exception of corals, sea fans, and live rock, apply in state and adjacent federal waters.  These changes will need to be made prior to the removal of allowable octocorals in federal waters off Florida from the fishery management unit of the FMP to prevent loss of regulations in federal waters. The proposed draft rule amendments would include: (Octocoral Presentation)
        1. 68B-42.002 Definitions - This section would be modified to include a definition of "colony".
        2. 68B-42.003 Prohibition of Harvest: Longspine Urchin, Bahama Starfish - This section would be modified to clarify that harvest and possession of longspine urchin and Bahama starfish are prohibited within or without state waters.
        3. 68B-42.0035 Live Landing and Live Well Requirements - This section would be modified to clarify that marine life species harvested within or without state waters must be landed alive and persons harvesting marine life within or without state waters must have aboard the vessel being used for harvest a continuously recirculating live well or aeration or oxygen system of adequate size and capacity to maintain harvested marine life organisms in a healthy condition.
        4. 68B-42.0036 Closed Areas - (formerly titled Harvest in Biscayne National Park Prohibited; Exception)  The proposed rule would continue octocoral harvest prohibitions that are included in current federal octocoral rules.  All harvest of octocorals would be prohibited in Atlantic federal waters north of Cape Canaveral (28°35.1'N latitude), Stetson-Miami Terrace Deepwater Coral Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC), and Pourtales Terrace Deepwater Coral HAPC.
        5. 68B-42.004, Size Limits - This section would be modified to clarify that size limits established in this section for all marine life species apply in state and adjacent federal waters.
        6. 68B-42.005 Recreational Bag Limit - This section would be modified to clarify that recreational bag limits established in this section for all marine life species, including octocorals, apply in state and adjacent federal waters.  Specifically, for octocorals the 6-colony recreational bag limit would be extended into federal waters.  The allowance for harvest of octocorals with attached substrate within 1 inch of the perimeter of the holdfast would be extended into federal waters. Additionally, this section would be modified to specify that if the quota for octocoral harvest described in 68B-42.006 is met before the end of the fishing year, all harvest of octocorals would be prohibited from the date the octocoral quota is projected to be met until the following October 1.  Language that closes state waters to octocoral harvest when federal waters close would be removed.  Finally, the zone north and west of the southernmost point of Egmont Key in the Gulf of Mexico in which ornamental sponges may be collected with attached substrate within 1 inch of the perimeter of the holdfast at the base of the sponge and extending 1 inch below the holdfast of the sponge would also be extended into adjacent federal waters.
        7. 68B-42.006 Commercial Season, Harvest Limits - The allowance for harvest of octocorals with attached substrate within 1 inch of the perimeter of the holdfast would be extended into federal waters.  The proposed rule would establish an annual quota for octocoral harvest in state in adjacent federal waters.  Additionally, the October 1 through September 30 fishing year for octocorals would be applied to state and federal waters.  If the quota for octocoral harvest described in 68B-42.006 is met before the end of the fishing year, all harvest of octocorals would be prohibited from the date the octocoral quota is projected to be met until the following October 1.  Language that closes state waters to octocoral harvest when federal waters close would be removed.  Commercial harvest limits established in this section for other species would also be extended into federal waters.  Additionally, the zone north and west of the southernmost point of Egmont Key in the Gulf of Mexico in which ornamental sponges may be collected with attached substrate within 1 inch of the perimeter of the holdfast at the base of the sponge and extending 1 inch below the holdfast would be extended into adjacent federal waters.
        8. 68B-42.0065 Commercial Requirements; Endorsements; Requalifying; Appeals; Leasing; Transferability - The proposed rule would clarify that a marine life tiered endorsement is required for commercial harvest of species listed in this rule in state and adjacent federal waters.
        9. 68B-42.008 Live Rock: Harvest in State Waters Prohibited; Aquacultured Live Rock Harvest and Landing Allowed - The proposed rule would clarify that substrate that is lawfully harvested as part of the harvest of ornamental sponges pursuant to this chapter are exempt from prohibitions on the harvest, possession, or sale of live rock.  Outdated references in this section would also be updated.
        10. 68B-42.009 Prohibition on the Taking, Destruction, or Sale of Marine Corals, Sea Fans, and Non-erect, Encrusting Octocorals; Exception - (Formerly titled Prohibition on the Taking, Destruction, or Sale of Marine Corals and Sea Fans; Exception.)  The proposed rule would clarify that harvest and possession of any non-erect, encrusting species of the Subclass Octocorallia is prohibited.  This prohibition would not apply to any non-erect, encrusting species of the Subclass Octocorallia that is 1) legally harvested outside state and adjacent federal waters and entering Florida in interstate or international commerce harvested or 2) harvested and possessed pursuant to state and federal aquacultured live rock regulations.
    3. Fishery Management Council Update (Gulf Council Report Presentation) (Gulf Council Report Presentation Update)
      1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) - Review and discussion of Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council actions to address the following:
        1. Updates to the Commission on gag and red grouper management and the gag interim rule.  Staff will report on other GMFMC actions from their April 11-14 meeting in Orange Beach, AL
    4. Issues
      1. Snook - Update and report on the impact of the 2010 cold kill on snook populations.  Staff seeks Commission direction on whether to open snook season or maintain the current closure in response to the cold kill. (Snook Cold Kill Presentation)
    5. Staff Reports
      1. Recognition of University of Florida Fishing Team
      2. Black Bass Management Plan - Report on Final Proposed Version (Black Bass Management Plan Presentation)
  11. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  12. Commissioner Exchange
  13. Commission Administrative Matters

    The next regular Commission meeting is scheduled September 7-9, 2011, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.
  14. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Review and approval of anticipated early season migratory bird hunting regulations for 2011-2012.  This includes hunting season and bag limits for dove, rail, gallinule, woodcock, snipe, Canada geese, and special September duck seasons. (Early Seasons)
  2. WMA 11-07, Ft. McCoy Wildlife Management Area (WMA) - The proposed order disestablishes the Ft. McCoy WMA in Marion County. (Ft. McCoy WMA)
  3. Wildlife Management Area Rules
    1. 68A-15.065 - Specific Regulations for Wildlife Management Areas - Northeast Region - Review of draft rule to disestablish and repeal the Ft. McCoy WMA. (68A-15.065)
    2. 68A-9.004 - Permits for Hunting or Other Recreational Use on Wildlife Management Areas - Review of draft rule to eliminate the recreational use permits for Fort McCoy WMA. (68A-9.0047)
    3. 68A-9.008 - Permits for Physically Disabled - Review and approval of draft rule regarding Special Use Vehicle Permits.  Recent changes to federal regulations indicate that those individuals that qualify for a State-issued, permanent disability parking card should be given this accommodation.  The proposed rule change would comply with federal guidelines. (68A-9.008)

    NOTE:  Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendments (Item 3) and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendments are approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
  4. Delegation of the Final Approval of Acquisition Agreements that exceed $250,000 to the Commission's Executive Director, Nick Wiley, upon notice to the Commission, until September 2011. (Executive Director Delegation)
  5. Consideration of the addition of 29 parcels bordering the Escribano Point Unit of the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area and 1 parcel bordering the Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Florida Forever acquisition list. (Addition of Parcels to the FWC Florida Forever Acquisition List) (Addition of Parcels to the FWC Florida Forever Acquisition List) (Addition of Parcels to the FWC Florida Forever Acquisition List)
  6. Consideration of the acquisition of the Freeman parcel, through The Conservation Fund, as an addition to the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Florida Forever Inholdings and Additions Acquisition Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grant Program. (Grant Program)
  7. Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species - Approval of updated schedule for rule amendment relating to federally listed marine species.  Staff has advertised proposed changes to the following rules: 
    68A-27.0001 Definitions, 68A-27.0012 Procedures for Listing, and Removing Species from Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species List, 68A-27.003 Designation of Endangered Species; Prohibitions, and 68A-27.0031 (68A-27)


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