FWC wraps up 3-day meeting in Pensacola Beach
Friday, September 03, 2010
Media contact: (inland issues) Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130; (marine issues) Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) resolved quite a few issues during its three-day
meeting that concluded Friday in Pensacola Beach.
Commissioners started the meeting by recognizing
Jim Berry, a local artist from Milton, with a plaque for his
portrayal of Florida wildlife in his artwork.
Also on Sept. 1, the Commission passed several
final rules, starting with fox and coyote enclosures and their
operation in Florida. The new rule prohibits the taking of fox or
coyote by a dog or dogs within an enclosure. Another final rule
addresses how the FWC will notify a county or municipality of a
pending application for the possession of Class I or II wildlife.
Other rules passed include restricting the method of take during
the spring turkey season on wildlife management areas and adding a
month of crossbow hunting opportunity on private lands.
The Commission also approved a final rule that
changes the way Florida manages listed species. The rules describe
a system whose goals are to conserve threatened species and to
ensure no fish or wildlife goes extinct in Florida because of human
action or inaction.
Wednesday's meeting concluded with a report on
adjusting hunting season dates on FWC-managed lands and an
anchoring and mooring update from staff.
While catch-and-release fishing for snook still
will be allowed during the closed harvest seasons, the Commission
made other decisions regarding snook on Thursday. They approved the
reopening of the Atlantic snook harvest season from Sept. 17 until
Dec. 15, and then close the harvest of snook in this area from Dec.
15 until Sept. 1, 2011. Commissioners also decided to keep the
harvest of snook closed in Florida's Gulf of Mexico, Everglades
National Park and Monroe County waters until Sept. 1, 2011.
The Commission also agreed to reopen the
recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf state waters on
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for eight consecutive weekends,
beginning on Oct. 1 and continuing through Nov. 21. This coincides
with the same season expected to be implemented in federal waters
off of Florida.
In other marine fisheries action, Commissioners
proposed a draft rule that would increase the daily recreational
bag limit for red drum from one fish to two in Escambia through
Pasco counties in northwest Florida and in Flagler through Nassau
counties in northeast Florida. They also will consider implementing
a possible vessel limit for redfish in northern Florida as part of
its proposed rule. A final public hearing on the proposed redfish
draft rule will be held in February in Apalachicola.
In addition, Commissioners proposed a series of
blue crab draft rule amendments, including staggering the annual
regional, 10-day trap-harvest closures so they occur every other
year. A final public hearing on the proposed blue crab rule
amendments will be held in Weston in December.
The Commission also directed staff to continue
reviewing permit, pompano and African pompano management issues and
discussed the possible creation of a recreational reef fish tag or
endorsement and several federal fisheries management issues.
On Friday, the Commission heard reports on the
agency's budget and legislative issues for the 2011 session of the