FWC emergency meeting will focus on oil spill response
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Media contact: Kent Whittington, 850-488-9434
Commissioners of the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold an emergency meeting May 19
in St. Pete Beach to discuss the agency's ongoing response to the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Chairman Rodney Barreto called the meeting to make
sure the FWC is fully prepared to handle any potential impacts to
Florida's fish and wildlife resources. Since the oil spill incident
occurred in late April, the FWC has worked closely with county,
state and federal agencies to help prepare a coordinated
"The FWC will do everything possible to protect
Florida's fish and wildlife," Barreto said. "We've called
this meeting because this is an unprecedented situation. Not only
could the oil spill affect our natural resources, it's already
affecting the livelihoods of our commercial fishermen, guides and
charter boats and other tourism-related businesses."
State officials and stakeholders are concerned
about the mistaken impression that Florida is "closed." In
fact, it is business as usual; there are no beach closures, and all
Florida waters in the Gulf remain open to commercial and
The FWC has contributed to the response through a
variety of activities. FWC scientists are mapping
high-priority fish and wildlife habitats to help focus protective
measures. They are also conducting biological assessments to
establish a baseline for measuring the severity of potential
impacts on fish and wildlife.
"We are moving into the best possible position to
take care of our fish and wildlife resources as this crisis
unfolds," said Nick Wiley, the FWC's executive director.
"This is truly a well-coordinated team effort in Florida. We
are grateful for the leadership and cooperation coming from of the
Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of
Emergency Management through our State Emergency Operations Center.
The meeting will be held at the TradeWinds Island
Grand beginning at 10 a.m.
Anyone requiring special accommodations to
participate should advise the FWC at least five days prior to the
May 19 workshop, by contacting the FWC's Office of Human Resources
at 850-488-6411. If you are hearing- or speech-impaired,
contact the FWC using the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771
(TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice).