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November, 2016 Commission Meeting

Time: 8:30am
Dates: November 16 - 17, 2016
Place: University of South Florida Student Center 200 6th Avenue South St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

This meeting is open to the public

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is committed to providing ample opportunity for public input at each Commission meeting. As standard practice, the Commission will welcome public input regarding agenda items using the approved speaker registration process and time limits. To accommodate as much input as possible from those attending, the Chairman reserves the right to designate the amount of time given to each speaker, including time donation to other speakers. 

With regard to public comment on subjects that are not on the agenda, the Commission will have time on the agenda during one day of each meeting. Those who wish to offer comments during this period will be asked to make sure their comments are not related to any agenda item. The day for comment regarding items not on the agenda will be identified when the agenda is posted.

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 Chairman may also ask staff and the public to work through lunch on either day. Please plan accordingly.

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.

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 in the area, you may call the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce External Website at (727) 821-4069, or visit their website.

Agenda

8:30 a.m., Wednesday, November 16

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve September 2016 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda – Any item not approved as part of the consent agenda may be moved to the regular meeting agenda and would be placed elsewhere on the agenda at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Executive Director’s Report - Memo
  4. Elections
  5. Item Requiring Action

    Staff Report – Critical Wildlife Areas (CWAs).  Staff will present the final recommendations for a statewide initiative to establish 14 new CWAs and modify five existing CWAs, including modifications resulting from continued public outreach efforts. Summary Memo | Presentation

  6. Staff Report – Florida Panther Update

    Staff will provide an update on panther research and management efforts including information gathered through the Panther Recovery Implementation Team (PRIT) process. Summary Memo | Presentation

  7. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule – Imperiled Species Management Plan (ISMP), Rules, and Species Guidelines.  Staff is requesting final approval of the ISMP, associated rule revisions, and eight Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines.  Staff are also requesting approval to publish a Notice of Change for two rules. Summary Memo | Presentation | Rules
    2. Draft Rule – Collier County Manatee Protection Zones.  Staff is seeking approval to proposed amendments to the manatee protection rule for Collier County.  The proposed changes, which would affect only a small portion of the existing zones, would increase protection in a few areas and reduce or eliminate restrictions in other areas. Summary Memo | Presentation | LRRC report to FWC | FWC response to LRRC
    3. Draft Rule – Proposed Rule Changes for Hunting 2017 – 2018.  Staff will present draft rule amendments to revise select statewide hunting regulations, specific area regulations on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Wildlife and Environmental Areas (WEAs) and Miscellaneous Areas and to conform hunting dates to calendar year date changes. 
      PresentationSummary Memo | Draft Rules Summary | 68A-09.007 68A-13.004 68A-15.005 68A-15.006 68A-15.061 68A-15.064 68A-15.063 68A-15.062 68A-15.065 68A-9.004 68A-17.005
  8. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda - 
  9. Commissioner Exchange
  10. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, November 17
     

  11. Call to Order
  12. Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida Update

    Foundation staff will present an update on the current status of Foundation activities.  Along with this update, the Foundation will present awards for Volunteer of the Year and Conservationist of the Year.

  13. Awards and Recognition
    1. Florida’s Lionfish King Award
    2. American Fisheries Society (AFS) 2016 Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project Award
  14. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rules – Barracuda.  Stakeholders have expressed concern about the population status of Barracuda in south Florida.  While barracuda are detected in some of the research conducted by FWC and its partners, there is not enough rigorous scientific data available to evaluate the status of the population.  However, considering the broad agreement among a variety of stakeholder groups that the barracuda population in south Florida has declined substantially, the Commission implemented bag and vessel limits in 2015 for the recreational and commercial fisheries in that area.  At the June 2016 Commission meeting, the Commission approved a draft rule that would also create a slot limit for this species in south Florida, based on additional feedback gathered from stakeholders following the 2015 changes.  The proposed final rule would create a slot limit for barracuda in south Florida, while still allowing for minimal harvest of trophy size fish in the region. Summary Memo | Draft Rule | Presentation

      68B-60.003 Size Limits (NEW) – The proposed final rule would create a size limit of no less than 15 inches and no more than 36 inches fork length for barracuda harvested from Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties.  The proposed final rule would also allow for the harvest of one barracuda over 36 inches per vessel in these counties.

    2. Federal Consistency – Hogfish – Both the GMFMC and SAFMC recently approved changes to hogfish regulations for federal waters adjacent to Florida that are now pending approval by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.  These changes are based on a recent stock assessment for hogfish that delineated separate Gulf of Mexico and East Florida/Florida Keys stocks, and indicated that the East Florida/Florida Keys stock is overfished and undergoing overfishing.  The proposed rule amendments would modify hogfish regulations for state waters to be consistent with recent federal changes. Summary Memo | Presentation | Draft Rule

      68B-14.0035. Size Limits: Amberjacks, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper – The proposed rule would increase the minimum size limit for all harvest of hogfish in state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Florida Keys, and the Gulf of Mexico south of 25°09’ North Latitude from 12 to 16 inches fork length (FL).  In Gulf state waters north of 25°09’ North Latitude, the minimum size limit would be raised from 12 to 14 inches FL.

      68B-14.00355. Size Limits for Importation and Sale – The proposed rule would increase the minimum size limit for importation and sale of hogfish to 14 inches fork length.

      68B-14-0036. Recreational Bag Limits: Snapper, Grouper, Hogfish, Black Sea Bass, Red Porgy, Amberjacks, Tilefish, Exception, Wholesale/Retail Purchase Exemption – This proposed rule would set the recreational bag limit for harvest of hogfish in all state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Florida Keys, and all waters south of 25°09’ North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico to be one fish per person per day. In Gulf state waters north of 25°09’ North Latitude, the recreational bag limit would remain at 5 fish per person per day.

      68B-14.0042. Recreational Hogfish Season (NEW) – This proposed rule would be created to set the recreational season for harvest of hogfish in all state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Florida Keys, and all waters south of 25°09’ North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico to be May 1 through October 31.


      If this proposed rule is approved, Commission staff would file the rule as allowed by the noticing requirements of 120.54 (6) Florida Statutes, which provides a process for adoption of federal standards without further
      hearing.

    3. Draft Rule – Bully Nets.  Stakeholders have expressed concerns about increased participation in the spiny lobster bully net fishery and growing conflicts between recreational bully netters, commercial bully netters, and members of the public.  Participants in the commercial bully net fishery have requested the Commission implement an endorsement program and other regulatory measures to address these concerns.  The proposed draft rules would allow the Commission to better quantify participation in the commercial bully net fishery while continuing to allow for entry into this traditional fishery as well as address other industry and stakeholder concerns.  The proposed draft rules would modify the Commission’s general and spiny lobster rules as follows: Summary Memo | Presentation

      68B-4.019 Prohibition of Trap Pullers on Recreational and Certain Commercial Vessels - Prohibit trap pullers on commercial bully net vessels and clarify existing rule language related to possession of trap pullers by updating references to other commercial fishing licenses and endorsements.

      68B-24.0055 Commercial Requirements – Create an open-access bully net endorsement that would be required in conjunction with the harvester’s saltwater products license and restricted species and crawfish endorsements for commercial harvest of spiny lobster with a bully net.

      68B-24.006 Gear: Traps, Buoys, Identification Requirements, Prohibited Devices – Require any vessel used for commercial harvest of spiny lobster with a commercial bully net to be marked with the harvester’s bully net endorsement number. Reiterate the prohibition on the possession of trap pullers on commercial bully net vessels proposed above for 68B-4.019.

      68B-24.007 Other Prohibitions – Prohibit the simultaneous possession of a bully net and any underwater breathing apparatus, as defined in 68B-4.002, aboard a vessel being used to commercially harvest spiny lobster or to transport commercial quantities of spiny lobster.

  15. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report
    Staff will provide a review of actions and discussions from the SAFMC’s September 12-16 meeting in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Topics include dolphin and yellowtail snapper sector reallocation, data collection, limited-entry for the for-hire fleet, as well as red snapper, mutton snapper, and other snapper-grouper species.
    Summary Memo | Presentation
  16. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report
    Staff will provide a review of actions and discussions from the GMFMC’s October 17-20, 2016 meeting in Biloxi, MS. Topics include data collection, red snapper, deep-water corals, gray triggerfish, and king mackerel. Summary Memo | Presentation
  17. Item Requiring Action
    2017 Legislative Requests – Staff will seek approval for the FY 2017/2018 Legislative Items, including the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program Report to the Legislature. Proposal | Report | Appendices | Summary Memo | 2017 Session Presentation | Anchoring and Mooring Presentation
  18. Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Update
    Executive Director Nick Wiley, current President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, will provide an update on AFWA issues including the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources.
  19. General Counsel Report
  20. Future Agenda Items
  21. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  22. Commissioner Exchange
  23. Commission Administrative Matters
    The next Regular Commission Meeting is scheduled for February 8 – 9, 2017 in Crystal River, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.
  24. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Draft Rule – Nile Tilapia. Staff propose an amendment to modify Chapter 68-5, Florida Administrative Code (FAC), to change the conditional species allowances for Nile tilapia to incorporate a Rule exception similar to that of blue tilapia.

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendment and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendment is 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. Summary Memo | Draft Rule

  2. Final Rule and Notice of Change – Venomous Reptile Rules. Staff is seeking approval to make an adjustment to the effective date for the facility requirements of venomous reptiles licensees. Upon receiving Commission approval of draft rules at the September 2016 Commission Meeting, staff communicated with the Venomous Reptile Technical Assistance Group (TAG) and came to a unanimous decision to request an amendment to change the effective date for currently licensed facilities to January 1, 2018. This would be a reduction in the timeframe by 1 calendar year. Summary Memo 68A-6-001 | 68A-6-007
  3. Draft Rule – Gear Regulations clean-up. Staff will present a draft rule amendment to modify outdated rule language in Rules 68B-3, 68B-4, and 68B-25, FAC, and a variety of Special Acts of Local Application to update outdated references to the Marine Fisheries Commission, and to amend or delete outdated regulations that appear to authorize the use of net gear that is prohibited by Article X Section 16 of the Florida Constitution or that reference penalties for the use of illegal net gear that are inconsistent with more recently established statewide statutory penalties created by the Legislature. The proposed changes will reduce confusion within the fishery and improve the clarity of the Florida’s statewide gear regulations.
    Summary Memo | Proposal | Draft Rule | Presentation

    68B-3 Local Laws. The proposed draft rule amendments would remove or amend provisions in rule that appear to allow the use of net gear that is prohibited by Article X Section 16 of the Florida Constitution, and would update an outdated reference to the Marine Fisheries Commission. In addition, the proposed draft rule amendments would repeal a series of Special Acts of Local Application that appear to authorize the use of prohibited net gear or that are inconsistent with more recently established statewide statutory penalties created by the Legislature for the following counties: Brevard, Citrus, Collier, Dade, Escambia, Gulf, Hernando, Lafayette, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, and Walton.

    68B-4.014 Southwest Florida Purse Seine Restrictions: Gear Specifications; Area Limitation; Local Law Repeals. The proposed draft rule amendment would delete provisions that appear to allow the use of certain net gear that is prohibited by Article X Section 16 of the Florida Constitution.

    68B-25.003 Old Tampa Bay: Repeal of Local Laws; Prohibition of Certain Gear. The proposed draft rule amendment would delete a provision that appears to allow the use of net gear that is prohibited by Article X Section 16 of the Florida Constitution.

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendment and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendment is 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.

 



FWC Facts:
The most common human causes of serious injury and mortality for right whales are vessel collisions and entanglements in fishing gear.

Learn More at AskFWC