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September, 2011 Commission Meeting

Time: 8:30am each day
Dates: September 7 - 9, 2011
Place: The Naples Grande 475 Seagate Drive Naples, FL 34103

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.

Agenda

8:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 7

  1. Meeting Opening and Recognitions
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
    3. Recognitions
      1. Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year
      2. Youth Hunting Program Landowner of the Year
    4. Introduction of Commission Employees
    5. Resolution in Honor of Commission Employees Participating in Fire Fighting Efforts
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Adoption of Meeting Agenda
    2. Review and Approval of June 8-9, 2011 Commission Meeting Minutes
    3. Approval of Consent Agenda (attached)
  3. Executive Director's Report
  4. Items Requiring Action
    1. Staff Reports
      1. Update on Florida Panthers: Population Status and Human Conflicts (Presentation)
      2. Future of Hunting in Florida (Presentation)
      3. Update on Big Cypress
      4. Florida Youth Conservation Center Network Progress (FYCCN Update Presentation)
    2. Final Rule
      68C-22.010 - Broward County Manatee Protection Rule - The proposed rule amendments would revise the existing state zones that establish safe havens and limit allowable motorboat speeds in portions of the county; make changes to conform with current statutory and rule language; and, provide a reference to the location of maps illustrating the zones. (Presentation)
      Statement of Estimated Regulatory Costs
    3. Staff Reports (continued)
      1. Boating Improvement Grants Program (Presentation)
      2. Wildlife Action Plan Revision (Wildlife Action Plan Revision Presentation)
  5. Public Comments on Items Not on the Agenda
  6. Commissioner Exchange
  7. Recess Wednesday's Portion of the Meeting


    8:30am, Thursday, September 8, Reconvene

     

  8. Meeting Opening and Recognitions
    1. Florida Guides Association (FGA) Captain Phil Chapman Conservation Award...
    2. FWC-FGA Partnership "Trained Eyes Coastwatchers" Officer of the Year Award
  9. Items Requiring Action
    1. Fishery Management Council Updates
      1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) - Staff will update the Commission on long term gag and red grouper management, the gag interim rule, recreational red snapper season, and lobster management.  Staff will report on other GMFMC actions from their June 6-9 meeting and the joint Council meeting in Key West and the August 14-19 meeting in Austin, Texas. (Gulf Council Report Presentation)
      2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) - Staff will update the Commission on the development of regulatory amendments that could result in changes to federal management regulations for octocoral, king and Spanish mackerel, cobia, golden tilefish, black sea bass, golden crab, and dolphin and wahoo.  Specific management measures being considered for the above species will be highlighted where direction to staff may be warranted.  Staff will report on other SAFMC actions from their June 12-16, 2011 meeting in Key West, FL and their August 9, 2011 meeting in Charleston, SC.
    2. Final Rules
      1. Marine Life Amendments - The purpose of these rule amendments is to extend Florida's octocoral and marine life regulations into federal waters. 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. These actions would result in the repeal of federal regulations for octocorals and allow Florida to take over management of these species in federal waters off Florida. Based on Commission direction and at the request of the Councils, Florida agreed to manage the octocoral fishery in both state and federal waters. In addition to extending existing state regulations into federal waters, the rule amendments would also establish an annual quota for 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. In addition to the amendments approved in June, staff is proposing to prohibit harvest of octocorals using power-assisted tools. Florida needs to take over the management of octocorals in adjacent federal waters prior to the removal of federal octocoral rules to prevent loss of regulations in federal waters. The proposed final rule amendments would include: (Marine Life Transfer Presentation)
        1. 68B-42.002 Definitions - This section would be modified to include a definition of "colony."  As an addition to the amendments approved in June, staff proposes adding a definition of "power-assisted tool."
        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 final 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.  As an addition to the amendments approved in June, this section would also prohibit recreational harvest of octocorals using power-assisted tools.
        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 final rule would establish an annual quota of 70,000 colonies for octocoral harvest in state and 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 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.  As an addition to the amendments approved in June, this section would also prohibit commercial harvest of octocorals using power-assisted tools.
        8. 68B-42.0065 Commercial Requirements; Endorsements; Requalifying; Appeals; Leasing; Transferability - The proposed final 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-42.007 Gear Specifications and Prohibited Gear - As an addition to the amendments approved in June, this section would be modified to prohibit harvest of octocorals using power-assisted tools.
        10. 68B-42.008 Live Rock: Harvest in State Waters Prohibited; Aquacultured Live Rock Harvest and Landing Allowed - The proposed final 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.
        11. 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 final 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 or 2) harvested and possessed pursuant to state and federal aquacultured live rock regulations.
    3. Draft Rules
      1. Spotted Seatrout - A recent spotted seatrout stock assessment was performed to assess the status of the stock in each of the spotted seatrout regions. The results indicated that the stock is exceeding the Commission's management goal in all regions, except in the northwest region, where the stock is meeting the goal. This rule proposal would relax some regulations for both recreational and commercial. The proposed draft rules would modify the Commission's rule for spotted seatrout as follows:(Spotted Seatrout Draft Rule Presentation)
        1. 68B-37.003, Size Limits - The proposed draft rule would clarify that the size limits for spotted seatrout apply in federal waters.
        2. 68B-37.004, Regional Bag Limits; Closed Seasons - The proposed draft rule would eliminate the recreational closed months in all regions.
        3. 68B-37.005, Commercial Season and Daily Harvest Limit - The proposed draft rule would modify the commercial season to be open in the northeast, southeast, and southwest regions from June through October.  It would modify the commercial season in the northwest region to be open from September through January.  The proposed draft rule would also allow the sale of spotted seatrout when the season is closed, by requiring proper documentation with a new FWC form of frozen inventory at the end of the open season and proper documentation of sale throughout the closed season.  The proposed draft rule would also require that spotted seatrout be landed and have the first point of sale only in an open region.
      2. Sharks- In 2010, the Commission directed staff to review the management of sharks in Florida, including prohibiting the harvest of additional species needing protection, and requiring circle hooks when fishing for sharks. Additionally, a request was made to the FWC to look into the practice of chumming for sharks from shore.  The proposed draft rule is the culmination of these efforts and would prohibit the recreational and commercial harvest of great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks, and tiger sharks from state waters of Florida. The proposed draft rule amendments would modify the Commission's rule for sharks as follows: (Sharks Draft Rule Presentation)
        1. 68B-44.002 Definitions - The proposed draft rule would remove great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead sharks, and tiger sharks from the definition of large coastal species that can be harvested in state waters of Florida.
        2. 68B-44.008Prohibited Species; Prohibition of Harvest, Landing, and Sale - The proposed draft rule would prohibit the recreational and commercial harvest of great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks, and tiger sharks from state waters of Florida.
      3. King Mackerel - The FWC received a request from southwest Florida commercial harvesters to allow legally harvested king mackerel to be landed in Collier County when the state waters off Collier County are closed to harvest. King mackerel are managed as two separate stocks in Florida. In spring, the dividing line between the two stocks is at the Collier and Monroe County line. Often, commercial harvest of the Gulf Atlantic stock (Collier County and north) is shut down in the spring because the quota had been reached, but the Atlantic stock (Monroe County and east coast) is still open to harvest. Our current rules state that king mackerel cannot be landed in a closed area. This creates a hardship to commercial fishers that fish in legally open waters off Monroe County but usually sell their catch to wholesale dealers in Collier County, a few miles from the open harvest area. When Collier County is closed to the harvest of king mackerel, the only other option for the local commercial fishers to sell their mackerel is in Key West. The proposed draft rule would modify the Commission's rule for the Gulf-Atlantic king mackerel fishery as follows: (King Mackerel Draft Rule Presentation)
        1. 68B-12.0046 Commercial Fishing Season for King Mackerel in the Gulf-Atlantic Fishery; Commercial Season Segments, Vessel and Landing Limits - The proposed draft rule would allow the landing of commercially caught king mackerel in Collier County when caught in adjacent waters that are open to harvest from April 1 until July 1 and Collier county waters are closed.  Such landing would only be allowed for commercial license holders that hold the federal king mackerel permit and when the transit of the king mackerel is direct and continuous through the closed area to the place of landing.
    4. Proposed Repeal (Charlotte County Special Acts Presentation)
      1. Charlotte County Local Ordinance Local Laws, Special Acts of Local Application: Charlotte County - The Charlotte County Board of Commissioners requested that the FWC repeal two Special Acts of Local Application for Charlotte County. The first act prohibits the use of underwater lights while harvesting fish in waters of the county and the second act prohibits the use of any gig or spear in inland waters of the county. These two acts were originally implemented by the Legislature in 1957 and were subsequently adopted into rule of the Marine Fisheries Commission in 1983 and then into FWC rule in 1999. The County states these rules are antiquated, serve no public purpose and provide no public benefit. With their repeal spearing and the use of lights would fall under the same rules as apply to the current statewide rules. The proposed draft rule amendments would include:
      2. 68B-3.001 (NEW) Repeal of Chapters 57-1218 and 57-1219, Charlotte County Special Acts- Rule section 68B-3.0032 would be created to repeal Chapters 57-1218 and 57-1219 that are included in the FWC's Special Acts of Local Application: Charlotte County.

        NOTE:  Staff is requesting Commission approval to notice this rule  and file as soon as possible. If the item is approved for both advertisement and filing, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

    5. Staff Report
      Gulf Sturgeon in the Suwannee River - Gulf Sturgeon are a key factor in numerous boating accidents that occur on the Suwannee River.  This report will describe FWC efforts that help to minimize these incidents. (Sturgeon Efforts Presentation)
  10. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  11. Commissioner Exchange
  12. Recess Thursday's Portion of the Meeting


    8:30 am, Friday, September 9, Reconvene

     

  13. Staff Reports (Budget Presentation v.2)
    1. Budget Process Overview and Session Timeline - Staff will review the timeline and process for developing the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Legislative Budget Request and substantive legislation for the 2012 Legislative Session. (Budget Process Overview and Session Timeline)
    2. Status of Trust Funds-Staff will review the current financial status of the agency's 14 trust funds. (Trust Fund Status)
  14. Budget Items Requiring Action
    1. Potential Reductions for 2012 Session of the Florida Legislature include: (Reductions History)
      1. Staff Proposals - Staff will present a proposed list of potential budget reductions. (Potential Reductions v.2)
      2. Public Comment
      3. Commission Discussion and Action
    2. New Budget Issues for 2012 Session of the Florida Legislature include: (New Budget Issues)
      1. Staff - Staff will present a proposed list of budget issues for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Legislative Budget Request
      2. Public Comment
      3. Commission Discussion and Action
  15. Legislative Proposals
    1. Legislative Proposals for 2012 Session - Staff will present issues to submit to the Legislature and Governor during the 2012 Session that would modify Florida law dealing with fish and wildlife issues. (Proposals Presentation) (Proposal Summaries) ( Blue Crab Softsheell Endorsement Fee Reduction) ( Florida Wildlife Magazine Statutory Repeal) (Landowner Liability) (Swamp Buggies)
      1. Staff Proposals
      2. Public Comment
      3. Commission Discussion and Action
  16. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  17. Commission Exchange
  18. Commission Administrative Matters
    The next regular Commission meeting scheduled on November 16-17, 2011, Key Largo, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.
  19. Adjournment

Consent Agenda Wednesday, September 7

  1. Report on late season migratory bird regulations for 2011-2012. (Late Season Migratory Birds)
  2. Request to increase the daily quota for dove hunts from 100 to 200 at the check station on Dinner Island Ranch Wildlife Management Area by Executive Order. (Dinner Island Ranch WMA)
  3. Request to amend 68A-17. 005(j) - Specific Regulations for Wildlife and Environmental Areas, to allow bicycles and horseback riding on Crooked Lake Mitigation Park. (Crooked Lake) (Crooked Lake Map)
  4. Request to amend 68A-15.063(22) - Specific Regulations for Wildlife Management Areas - Northwest Region, to allow deer dog hunting on the Jackson County portion of Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area since this is consistent with the surrounding land use. (Econfina Creek Deer Dog Hunting) (Econfina Creek Map)
  5. Request to amend 68-1.003(9) - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Grants Program, Florida Boating Improvement Program, to replace the Program Guidelines dated February 2010 to improve and increase efficiency in the Grant review and submittal process. [68-1.003(9)]
  6. Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species - in response to concerns raised by the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee of the Florida legislature, staff proposed creation of a new rule and some changes to existing rules.  These changes were presented at the April Commission meeting and continued from the June Commission meeting.  Staff is now seeking: (Background) (68A-27.001 NPR)
    1. Final Approval of 68A-27.0031 Marine Endangered and Threatened Species - new rule relating to federally listed marine species.
    2. Final Approval of 68A-27.0001 Purpose and Intent, 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 - rule amendments addressing federally listed marine species.
    3. Final Approval of 68A-27.001 Definitions - rule amendment addressing federally listed marine species.
  7. Addition of Parcel to the FWC Florida Forever Acquisition List - Consideration of the addition of one parcel owned by the Nativity Lutheran Church, of Spring Hill Inc., bordering the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Florida Forever acquisition list. ( Summary Analysis) ( Nativity Lutheran Church Parcel) (Maps)

NOTE:  Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise proposed amendments 3, 4, 5 and 6 c. 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 rules for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.



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Black bears can lose up to 25 percent of their body weight while denning during winter months.

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