FWC moves to simplify saltwater rules in 3 counties
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a measure at its June 18 meeting in Fort Myers that will remove several outdated or redundant localized regulations in Gilchrist, Indian River and Manatee counties. These changes will go into effect as soon as possible.
The FWC has been working to streamline and clarify saltwater fishing rules since 2009 as part of a marine fisheries rule clean-up process. This includes reviewing existing localized rules known as Special Acts of Local Application and working with county governments to remove them if warranted. Many Special Acts were put in place before the Marine Fisheries Commission, one of the FWC’s predecessor agencies, was created, and are now no longer necessary due to more current, statewide fishing management.
The governments from all three counties have been working with the FWC on these changes. The FWC will be working with other counties in the future to help streamline and reduce regulations throughout the state, increasing transparency and consistency while standardizing FWC saltwater fishing management and making it easier for fishermen to access and participate in Florida fishing. The repeal of the Special Acts for these three counties is not expected to have any negative effects on Florida’s fisheries.
In Gilchrist County, a Special Act providing for the year-round sale of saltwater fish as long as the seller has the proper licenses is slated to be removed, as there are now statewide licensing provisions for the sale of saltwater products that make this rule obsolete.
In Indian River County, three Special Acts are slated to be removed, including ones that relate to the use of fishing gear in the Indian River and requiring permission from adjacent property owners to harvest shellfish. All three acts are inconsistent with and more restrictive than current statewide fishing regulations, and repealing them will result in greater access and regulatory consistency.
In Manatee County, seven Special Acts are slated to be removed, including ones that limit the types of gear that can be used within the waters of the county, set aggregate bag limits for saltwater fish on the Manatee River, and authorize Manatee County to regulate the harvest of finfish within the county. Current statewide regulations now address the use of gear and give the FWC the authority to regulate the harvest of saltwater fish. Repealing these conflicting and redundant rules will help clarify and simplify regulations in Manatee County.
To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and “Commission Meetings.”