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February 2014 Commission Meeting

February, 2014 Commission Meeting

This meeting is open to the public

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.

For information on lodging and restaurants within the Tampa area, you may call the Chamber of Commerce at (813) 228-7777, or visit their website at


8:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 12, 2014

  1. Meeting Opening & Recognitions
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge
    3. Recognition – TECO, Florida Aquarium
    4. Presentation to Commission by Former FWC Commissioner Jamie Adams
    5. Retirement – Louie Roberson
  2.  Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve November 20-21, 2013 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda 
  3. Executive Reports
    1. Executive Director’s Report
    2. Chairman’s Report
  4. Items Requiring Action
    1. Focal Areas Discussion
      1. Conservation Policy Scanning – Commissioners will hear presentations and have a discussion on national issues relating to fish and wildlife conservation.  Invited speakers are Mr. Whit Fosburgh, from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Ms. Jen Mock Schaeffer, from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
    2. Approvals
      1. J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area - Consideration is requested of multiple land conveyances: Approval of five land conveyances within and adjacent to Corbett Wildlife Management Area to aid in refurbishment of the M-O Canal and Levee for flood control and implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan; provide a site for development of a shooting range on the Mecca Farms Tract; and offset the impacts of the proposed project. Memo of Agreement | Presentation
    3. Draft Rule
      1. 68D-24.018—St. Johns River Boating Restricted Areas — The proposed rule amendment will  repeal duplicative regulations in two tributaries of the St. Johns River, make minor changes to the footprints of three boating restricted areas and modify five other areas to match historical boundaries established by regulatory markers.  The restricted speed designation for all zones is proposed to be changed from “Idle Speed No Wake” to “Slow Speed Minimum Wake.”  Finally, the authority for Lake, Seminole and Volusia counties to mark the state-adopted year-round boating safety zones will be repealed, since the Commission has retained this responsibility
      2. Staff is requesting approval to file a Notice of Proposed Rule in the Florida Administrative Register and will hold another public meeting, only if requested, in accordance with 120.54(3), Florida Statutes. 
        Presentation | Notice of Proposed Rule
    4. Final Rule
      1. Proposed Hunting and Fishing Rule Changes for 2014-2015 - – The proposed rules would revise specific area regulations on Commission managed hunting and freshwater fishing areas and amend or clarify rules to better manage hunting, fishing, and public use.  A complete list of the rules can be viewed in background materials for this item. Presentation | 68A-13.004 | 68A-15.00468A-15.00668A-15.06168A-15.06268A-15.06368A-15.06468A-15.06568A-17.000468A-17.005 | Notice of Rule Change 68A-17.00568A-24.00268A-25.000468A-25.032| Form 1000PW
    5. Sea Cucumber (Final Public Hearing) – At the November 2013 Commission meeting staff proposed a rule to regulate harvest sea cucumbers. Commercial sea cucumber landings have increased substantially over the last year, in part due to the development of an export market for dried sea cucumbers.  Sea cucumbers are prone to overexploitation and many of the fisheries that have developed throughout the world in recent decades have been characterized by rapid expansion, unsustainable harvest rates, and fishery collapse.  Florida’s recreational collectors of sea cucumbers are subject to a daily trip limit, but there is currently no commercial bag limit.  A commercial vessel limit and trip limit would be established in order to ensure that Florida’s harvest of sea cucumbers continues to be sustainable. Presentation
      1. Chapter 68B-42.006 Commercial Season, Harvest Limits – The proposed draft rule would create a daily commercial trip limit and a daily vessel limit of 200 individual sea cucumbers.

        NOTE:  Staff will be requesting an amendment to this item.  Rather than requesting final adoption, staff will be requesting approval to file a Notice of Proposed Rule in the Florida Administrative Register and will hold another public meeting, only if requested, in accordance with 120.54(3), Florida Statutes.

  5. Staff Reports
    1. Progress Report on Deer Management in Northwest Florida Presentation
    2. Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network Update Presentation
  6. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  7. Commissioner Exchange
  8. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, February 13, Reconvene

  9. Call to order
  10. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule – Federal Consistency Draft Rule | Presentation
      1. Atlantic Recreational Reef Fish Bag Limits for Captain and Crew of For-Hire Vessels - Adoption of a Federal Standard - The proposed rule amendment would achieve consistency between the Commission’s recreational reef fish bag limit rules for for-hire captains and crew in state waters of the Atlantic Ocean and pending rules for Atlantic federal waters. The proposed rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:
        1. 68B-14.0036 Recreational Bag Limits: Snapper, Grouper, Hogfish, Black Sea Bass, Red Porgy, Amberjacks, Tilefish, Exception, Wholesale/Retail Purchase Exemption - This section would be modified to remove language that prohibits captain and crew of for-hire vessels from retaining recreational bag limits of vermilion snapper, groupers, and golden tilefish on for-hire trips in state waters of the Atlantic (including Monroe County for grouper and golden tilefish).
      2. 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.
    2. Draft Rules Presentation
      1. Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Season - The proposed draft rule would modify the recreational harvest season for red snapper in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed draft rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:
        1. 68B-14.0038 Recreational Snapper Seasons - The proposed draft 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 and end July 10.
  11. Staff Report Presentation

    Florida Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit Proposal – Staff will present a   proposal for recreational reef fish data collection that would better define the population of offshore reef fish anglers for survey purposes using a permit or registry system.  These improvements would enhance current recreational harvest data collection efforts for Florida’s reef fish species, including red snapper.

  12. Fishery Management Council Updates
    1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) - Staff will report on GMFMC actions from their Feb. 3-7 meeting in Houston, TX. Topics include: red snapper, mackerel, and cobia. Presentation
    2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) - Staff will report on SAFMC actions from their December 2-6 meeting in Wilmington, NC and anticipated actions and discussions at their upcoming meeting on March 3-  7 in Savannah, GA.  Topics include: various snapper grouper species, and mackerel. Presentation
  13. Future Agenda Items
  14. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  15. Commissioner Exchange
  16. Commission Administrative Matters

    The Next Commission meeting is scheduled for April 15-17, 2014 in Tallahassee, commencing at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, April 15, and 8:30 a.m. thereafter.

  17. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Marine Turtle Rule Amendment -- 68E-1.004 General Permit Application Procedures, Requirements and Expiration – The proposed amendment would allow for applications for marine turtle permits to be submitted electronically through the FWC web site (while continuing to allow submittal of printed applications by mail or physical delivery). The application form also would be revised and incorporated by reference. Staff requests approval to advertise the proposed amendment and file it for adoption if no hearing is requested. 
    Notice of Proposed Rule | Form 32-101