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December 2018 Commission Meeting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is committed to providing 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 a designated time period on the agenda at the end of day one, December 12th.  Those who wish to offer comments during this period will be asked to make sure their comments are not related to any agenda item.

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 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.

For information on lodging and restaurants in the area, you may call the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce at (904) 829-5681 or find additional details at

Anyone who is unable to participate in the meeting may submit comments in writing to


8:30 a.m., Wednesday, December 12th

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve September 2018 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 placed elsewhere on the agenda at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Executive Director’s Report
  4. Hurricane Michael Report

    Staff will present an update on Hurricane Michael response and recovery efforts.

  5. Items Requiring Action
    1. Draft Rule – Shore-based Shark Fishing.  Members of the public have expressed concern about Florida’s shore-based shark fishery.  Staff conducted a series of public workshops around the state to gather input on management of this fishery.  This presentation will include an overview of the feedback received.  Staff will also present a series of draft rule proposals intended to increase survival of sharks released by the fishery and address some of the public safety concerns, as well as improve information gathering on the fishery itself.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Draft Rule
    2. Draft Rule – Marine Life Harvest at Blue Heron Bridge.  The Blue Heron Bridge dive site is located in the waters surrounding Phil Foster County Park in Palm Beach County.  This dive site provides a unique opportunity for divers and snorkelers to view tropical marine species and the county park serves as a shore-based access point for this world-renowned diving destination.  Members of the dive community and local officials have raised concerns that the collection of Marine Life (tropical aquarium species) from waters around the Blue Heron Bridge negatively impacts the quality of this world-renowned dive site.  Staff will present a proposed draft rule amendment that would conserve this unique and valuable snorkeling and diving experience by prohibiting all collection of Marine Life at the Blue Heron Bridge dive site.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Draft Rule
    3. Saltwater Recreational Data Collection. Staff will give an update on efforts to improve collection of saltwater recreational data including results from the Gulf Reef Fish Survey (GRFS) and options for future enhancements.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  6. Staff Reports
    1. Goliath Grouper. Staff will provide a review and discussion on the next steps for goliath grouper research and management. This presentation will include an overview of current and future goliath grouper research. Staff will present information on how recent events, such as Hurricane Irma and the 2018 red tide, have impacted goliath grouper. Staff will seek direction on adopting a management goal for goliath grouper in state waters.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    2. Marine Fisheries Management Annual Workplan. Staff will review new and ongoing marine fisheries management issues identified by staff and stakeholders and request approval of a workplan for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  7. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report

    Staff will report on actions from the SAFMC's September 30 to October 5 meeting in Charleston, SC and the SAFMC’s December 3-7 meeting in Kitty Hawk, NC. Topics include spiny lobster, yellowtail snapper, establishing limited-entry for federal snapper grouper for-hire permits, other snapper grouper species, and king mackerel.
    Summary Memo | Presentation

  8. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report

    Staff will report on actions from the GMFMC’s October 22-25 meeting in Mobile, AL. Topics will include red snapper, red grouper, and cobia. Staff will also provide an update on the 2018 recreational red snapper harvest season and request Commission direction on the 2019 season.
    Summary Memo | Presentation

  9. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  10. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting no later than 6:00 pm



    8:30 a.m., Thursday, December 13


  11. Call to Order
  12. Items Requiring Action
    1. Draft Rule – Proposed Rule Changes for Hunting 2019 – 2020. Staff will present draft rule amendments to revise select statewide hunting regulations; specific area regulations on Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife and Environmental Areas, and Miscellaneous Areas; and to conform hunting dates to calendar year date changes. Detailed proposed rule language is provided in background documents for this item.
      Summary Memo | Proposed Rule Changes | Presentation | 68A-9.004 | 68A-12.002 | 68A-13.003 | 68A-13.008 | 68A-15.004 | 68A-15.006 | 68A-15.061 | 68A-16.062 | 68A-15.063 | 68A-15.064 | 68A-15.065 | 68A-17.004 | 68A-17.005
    2. Draft Rule – Deer Management. Staff will present draft rule amendments to establish statewide annual bag limits for deer, harvest reporting requirements, additional antlerless deer permit program requirements, and additional youth hunting opportunities intended to accomplish approved Deer Management Strategic Plan outcomes, agency R3 objectives, and deer hunter preferences. Detailed proposed rule language is provided in background documents for this item.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68A-12.003 | 68A-12.004 | 68A-13.004
    3. Draft Rule – Nonnative Fish and Wildlife. Staff will request approval to advertise proposed rules that modify Chapter 68-5, F.A.C. (Rules Relating to Non-Native Species) to add definitions in Rule 68-5.002, add species to the Prohibited species list in Rule 68-5.006, and add grandfathering language for persons in personal possession of species added to the Prohibited species in Rule 68-5.007. Staff will provide an update on permit criteria for nonnative species importation and stakeholder engagement.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68-5.002 | 68-5.006 | 68-5.007
    4. Imperiled Species Program Permitting Guidelines. Staff will provide an overview and seek approval for Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines covering nine State-designated Threatened species. Guidelines contain information on species biology and habitat needs, identify what constitutes take through habitat modification, and provide guidance on survey methodology and voluntary conservation practices. The Guidelines outline activities not expected to cause take, methods for avoiding take and in some cases authorize take for certain activities such as emergency actions for human safety or certain forestry management activities. The Guidelines also provide options for achieving conservation benefit as described in Rule 68A-27.007, F.A.C., through a combination of minimization and mitigation when take cannot be avoided. Copies of the Guidelines can be reviewed online by following the link;
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  13. General Counsel Report    
  14. Future Agenda Items    
  15. Commissioner Exchange
  16. Adjournment

The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for February 20 – 21, 2019 in Gainesville, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

Consent Agenda

  1. Draft Rule –Tarpon Tag Rule Cleanup. Tarpon is a catch-and-release-only fishery. However, anglers may harvest or possess one tarpon per year with the use of an FWC-issued tarpon tag for the purpose of pursuing an International Game Fish Association state or world record. As of July 1, 2018, FWC is now administering the saltwater fishing state records program. The tarpon rule needs to be updated to reflect this administrative change. In addition, clarification is needed to address recent confusion about regulations that prohibit the removal of tarpon over 40 inches from the water. The proposed rule changes will allow for tarpon tag holders to continue to harvest up to a single tarpon per year when in pursuit of a state record and clarify that tarpon over 40 inches may only be removed from the water if they are being harvested in pursuit of a state or world record using a tarpon tag.
    Summary Memo | Draft 68B-32

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed draft rules and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the draft rules are approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

  2. State Grant Program Routine Amendments. Staff will request approval of rule amendments to Florida Administrative Code Rule 68-1.003 to address changes to the State Wildlife Grant Program. Annual changes include incorporating a new set of permitting Guidelines and updating application forms as needed. The detailed changes are provided in background documents for this item.
    Summary Memo | Proposed 68-1.003 | Program Guidelines

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule amendments and file for adoption as soon as possible. If approved, Commission staff will file the rules for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes without further public hearing.

  3. Draft Rule 68-1.010 – The Office of General Counsel has worked to substantially reorganize rule 68-1.010, F.A.C., General Regulations Relating to Licenses, Permits and Other Authorizations. This rule governs the issuance and suspension or revocation of licenses, permits and other authorizations issued by the Commission. The goal of the rewrite is to provide clarity to staff and stakeholders as to when and under what circumstances a licensure action shall be taken, what responsibilities license holders have, and what actions are prohibited.
    Summary Memo | 68-1.010