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April, 2015 Commission Meeting

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.


1:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 14

  1. Meeting Opening
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Special Recognition
  3. Strategic Discussion Follow-up
    1. Economic Development –Mr. Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will discuss partnership opportunities between FWC and DEO by including fish and wildlife resources and opportunities for fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating in employer recruiting outreach efforts.
    2. Increasing Workforce Diversity – FWC staff will give an overview of agency initiatives and challenges to increase diversity in the workforce. Presentation
    3. Innovations in Private Land Management – FWC staff will provide an update on current initiatives to develop and implement innovative strategies designed to promote public-private conservation partnerships as well as seek direction and thoughts from the Commission on this topic. Presentation
  4. Staff Report – Legislative and Budget Update - Session Report | Budget Report | Budget Worksheet
  5. Strategic Discussion Follow-up – Conservation in North America, Past, Present and Future. FWC staff and special guest Mr. Shane Mahoney will present the role and scope of wildlife conservation, lessons learned and future challenges facing Florida.
  6. Commissioner Exchange
  7. Recess Tuesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 15, Reconvene

  8. Call to Order
  9. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve February 2015 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 considered prior to the open public comment section.
  10. Executive Reports
    1. Executive Director’s Report - Report
    2. Chairman’s Report
  11. Items Requiring Action – Draft Rules

    NOTICE: Public speaking time on the bear hunting season item may be limited by the Chairman in order to try and hear from as many people as possible and also allow the Commission to conduct its business in a timely manner. Speakers are encouraged to pool their time and have a spokesperson present on their behalf. Written comments are also welcomed as an alternative to speaking during the meeting. Additional time to comment on any proposed rules approved will be available online once the rules are published.

    1. New Rules for Limited Bear Hunting Season – Staff will present a suite of proposed rules and lead a discussion with Mr. David Chanda, Director of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, regarding his agency’s experience with comprehensive bear management. The proposed rules would establish a limited hunting season for black bears on public and private lands. Rules would include requirements related to permits, season, methods of take, bag limits, check stations, harvest quotas and other changes. The proposed rules would also revise specific area regulations on Commission managed hunting areas. Presentation | Presentation V268A-1.004 | 68A-4.001 | 68A-4.004 | 68A-9.007 | 68A-12.002 | 68A-12.002 V2 | 68A-12.003 | 68A-12.004 | 68A-12.004-V268A-12.007 | 68A-13.004 7 Day Season | 68A-13.004 5 Day Season68A-13.0001 | 68A-24.002 | 68A-15.005 | 68A-15.062 | 68A-15.063 | 68A-15.064 | 68A-15.065 | 68A-17.005
    2. Revisions to Bear Related Rules – Staff will seek approval to advertise revisions to FAC Rule 68A-4.001 General Prohibitions relating to intentional feeding of bear, fox, and raccoon. Revisions to FAC Rule 68A-4.009 Florida Black Bear Conservation addressing protection of the black bear and issuance of depredation permits will also be presented. Staff will update the Commission on creation of a position statement on comprehensive waste management practices. Presentation | Proposed Changes | Summary | Amendments | Public Guidelines | Security Personnel Guidelines | Permit Program | Public Input Summary
    3. Quail Enhancement Areas (QEA) Hunting Rule Change – Staff will present draft rules modifying the process for establishing QEA quail hunting seasons and request approval to advertise. Presentation Presentation V2 | 68A-15.062 | 68A-15.063 | 68A-15.065
  12. Strategic Discussion Follow-up – Florida Youth Conservation Center Network (FYCCN). Staff will provide a short overview of current minority outreach activities, past year successes and future vision for the FYCCN. Presentation
  13. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report – Staff will report on recent actions taken by the SAFMC at its March 2 – 6, 2015 meeting in St. Simons Island, GA. Topics include: various snapper grouper species and spiny lobster. Presentation
  14. Final Rule- Restricted Species Endorsement –The restricted species endorsement (RS) allows the holder of a saltwater products license (SPL) to harvest commercial quantities of species designated by the FWC as restricted and to sell restricted species to wholesale dealers. The RS requirements were brought into FWC rules from Florida Statutes in 2014 and are now being amended in order to clarify the requirements and better provide for the intended purpose of the endorsement. Staff presented this draft rule at the February 2015 Commission Meeting.
    Presentation | Presentation V2 CPA Statement |  Draft Rule | Physician Statement | Summary

    68B-2.001 General Definitions– The proposed final rule would add the definition of “immediate family,” as used elsewhere in marine fisheries regulations to the general definitions, where it would apply to provisions associated with the RS.

    68B-2.006 Restricted Species Endorsement – The proposed final rule would provide a series of changes and clarifications to the existing RS qualification regulations. The proposed rule would do the following:

    1. Clarify details related to verification of income, both from sale of saltwater products and overall income, and eliminate outdated means of income verification
    2. Provide a form to simplify the process of submitting income verification statements prepared by certified public accountants
    3. Modify the qualifying requirements associated with the vessel purchase exception and limit abuse of this provision
    4. Provide an additional way for an individual to demonstrate disablement
    5. Provide a form for use by physicians when certifying an individual as totally and permanently disabled
    6. Clarify the qualification requirements for family members who apply for an RS after a person who held an RS dies or becomes permanently disabled
    7. Give the immediate family member of an RS holder who dies or becomes permanently disabled more time to apply for an RS under the relevant provision
    8. Remove outdated rule language that expired June 30, 2014
  15. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  16. Commissioner Exchange
  17. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, April 16, Reconvene

  18. Call to Order
  19. Awards and Recognition
    1. Shikar Safari Officer of the Year Award
    2. Hunter Education Instructor of the Year Award
    3. Youth Hunting Program of Florida Landowner of the Year Award
    4. FWC Employee Retirement Recognition
  20. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report – Staff will report on recent actions taken at its March 30 – April 2, 2015 meeting in Biloxi, MS. Topics include greater amberjack, gag grouper and federal red snapper. Staff will also report on an alternative red snapper management concept developed by staff from Gulf state marine fisheries agencies. This presentation will not include any discussion about the 2015 state red snapper season. - Presentation
  21. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule – Gulf Red Snapper season – FWC staff will present a proposed final rule which would modify the recreational harvest season for red snapper in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Staff will also present public input received at the Gulf red snapper workshops held in March. The proposed rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:

      68B-14.0038 Recreational Snapper Seasons – The proposed rule would modify the recreational harvest season for red snapper in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico to begin the Saturday before Memorial Day through July 12, the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Labor Day weekend, and weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) in September and October. When October 31 falls on a Saturday, the last day of harvest would be Sunday, November 1. This would result in a 70 day season for 2015. Presentation | Summary

    2. Draft Rule Stone Crab Trap Gear Specifications – There is a substantial overlap between the seasons and fishing regions for stone crab and lobster, both of which are under trap reduction programs designed to reduce the number of traps in the water.  Separate gear regulations for each species set the allowable dimensions and other specifications for traps in these fisheries.  Fishermen have begun taking advantage of the overlaps in the fisheries and gear specification and are now modifying stone crab traps, within the current allowable configurations, to target lobster, rather than stone crab.  These modifications circumvent the trap reduction program currently in place for the lobster trap fishery. Presentation | Presentation V2 68B-13.008

      68B-13.008 Gear, Trap Construction, Commercial Trap Marking Requirements, Trap Working Regulations, Trap Transfer - The proposed draft rule would modify trap construction requirements, including dimensions and throat design, for the stone crab fishery to ensure the traps are designed to target stone crab.

  22. General Counsel Report
  23. Future Agenda Items
  24. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  25. Commissioner Exchange
  26. Commission Administrative Matters
    The next Regular Commission Meeting is scheduled for June 23-25, 2015 in Sarasota, commencing at 1:30 p.m. the first day and 8:30 a.m. each day thereafter.
  27. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Lobster Commercial Dive Endorsement (Final Public Hearing) – The spiny lobster commercial dive endorsement (CD) is required in conjunction with a saltwater products license to commercially harvest lobster while diving. The moratorium on issuing new CDs is scheduled to expire July 1, 2015. Staff presented this draft rule at the February 2015 Commission Meeting. 

    68B-24.002; Definitions – The proposed final rule would update the definition of Biscayne National Park to correct an outdated reference to another rule.

    68B-24.055 Commercial Requirements; Appeals – The proposed final rule would remove the sunset provision for the moratorium on issuing new CD endorsements, thus continuing the moratorium on new endorsements indefinitely. The proposed rule would also provide for the transfer of any existing valid CD endorsement to another commercial fisher.
    Spiny Lobster Presentation | Spiny Lobster Notice of Proposed Rule | Transfer Form

  2. Atlantic Triggerfish (Adoption of a Federal Standard) – The proposed rule amendment would increase the gray triggerfish commercial and recreational minimum size limit from 12 inches fork length to 14 inches fork length within state waters of the Atlantic to achieve consistency between the Commission’s gray triggerfish rules and pending rules for gray triggerfish in Atlantic federal waters. This would also create uniform size limit regulations for gray triggerfish in both Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic state waters, reduce confusion of regulations, and aid law enforcement. The proposed rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rules as follows:

    68B-14.0035. Size Limits: Amberjack, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper. – This section would be modified to specify a uniform minimum size limit of 14 inches for gray triggerfish in the Atlantic and Gulf.

    68B-14.00355. Size Limits for Importation and Sale. – This section would be modified to change the minimum size limit for the sale of gray triggerfish to 14 inches.
    Gray Triggerfish Presentation

    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.