News Releases

FWC meeting set for Feb. 17-18 in Apalachicola

News Release

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Media contact: (inland issues) Henry Cabbage, 850-488-8843 (marine issues) Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will convene its next meeting at the Franklin County Courthouse in Apalachicola Feb. 17-18. The meeting will come to order at 8:30 a.m. both days, with numerous high-profile issues dominating the agenda.

Wednesday's (Feb. 17) agenda includes an update on the fox or coyote enclosure permit process. The update will brief the Commissioners on the history and results of recent FWC investigations into the operation of enclosures where hunters pursue foxes or coyotes with dogs. Staff will present regulation options for those facilities.

Final action on proposals to revamp deer hunting zones and dates to align them with the rut - the period when hunters have the highest success rate - is on the Wednesday agenda, as well.

Commissioners also will consider proposed rules to clarify regulation of nuisance wildlife and nonnative wildlife. In addition, Wednesday's agenda includes final approval of hunting and fishing regulations on public lands and creating a special two-day youth turkey hunt for supervised children, under age 16.

Also on Wednesday, Commissioners will hear a staff progress report and legislative updates on reptiles of concern. The Commission will consider a draft rule furthering efforts with reptiles of concern. The draft rule extends amnesty for turning over reptiles of concern to licensed individuals and incorporates changes to the permanent identification of the animals.

In addition, Commissioners will consider a series of captive wildlife draft rules regarding hobbyists, Critical Incident/Disaster plans, and required labeling of all wildlife shipments. Staff also will present a draft rule updating the process by which counties notify the FWC regarding local zoning and building codes for proposed facilities housing Class I or Class II wildlife.

Thursday's agenda will include a staff report regarding several technical problems in the FWC's licensing system. Commissioners will consider options to improve customer service.

Another staff report will focus on an initiative to establish youth conservation centers around the state to offer children opportunities to connect with hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreational activities.

Also on Thursday, the Commission will hold final public hearings on proposed rules that would prohibit all harvest of lemon sharks from Florida waters and extend the expiration date of the moratorium on new spiny lobster commercial dive permits from July 1, 2010, until July 1, 2015.

In addition, Commissioners will consider a proposed draft rule that would include all species of bonefish found in Florida in FWC's bonefish management rules, extend Florida bonefish regulations into adjacent federal waters, and require that bonefish be landed in a whole condition.

The FWC will also consider a proposed draft rule that would:

  • apply Florida's weakfish management rules only in state waters of Nassau and Duval counties north of the Buckman Bridge on the St. Johns River;
  • provide that all weakfish-like fish (including weakfish, sand seatrout, and their hybrids) would be considered weakfish in this management area;
  • reduce the daily recreational bag limit for weakfish from four fish to one fish; and
  • establish a commercial weakfish harvest limit of 100 pounds per vessel per day or trip, whichever is longer, in the weakfish management area.

Another proposed draft rule for Commission consideration would:

  • allow all ballyhoo endorsement holders to sell their endorsement to other commercial fishers from July 1 to March 31 each year,
  • limit any one entity from holding more than two ballyhoo endorsements at any one time,
  • prohibit leasing of the endorsement, and
  • allow only one endorsement per saltwater products license and one saltwater products license to be associated with a single endorsement.

In other marine fisheries action, the Commission will review and discuss Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean red snapper and other federal fishery management issues.

FWC Facts:
Each person operating, riding on, or being towed behind a personal watercraft must wear an approved, non-inflatable Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device (PFD).

Learn More at AskFWC