Skip to main content

February 2019 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 1, February 20th.  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 Gainesville Chamber of Commerce at (352) 334-7100 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, February 20th

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve December 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.
    4. Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida Update and Presentation of Awards.
    5. Private Landowner of the Year Award
  3. Executive Director’s Report
  4. Staff Reports
    1. Federal Congressional Update. This item will cover legislative activity by Congress relating to fisheries and wildlife issues.  The Commission may provide direction on items as needed.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Report. Staff will report on anticipated actions and discussions for the SAFMC's March 4-8 meeting in Jekyll Island, GA.  Topics include dolphin, best fishing practices for snapper grouper species, red grouper, and sector allocations.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    3. Item Requiring Action - Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Report and Final Approval for Gulf Recreational Red Snapper Season. Staff will report on actions from the GMFMC’s January 28-31 meeting in Orange Beach, AL.  Topics will include red snapper, gray snapper, and red grouper.  Staff will also request Commission direction and final approval of the 2019 Gulf recreational red snapper season.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  1. Additional Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule – Shore-based Shark Fishing. At the December 2018 Commission meeting, the Commission approved draft rule proposals to address management of the shore-based shark fishery.  Staff will present a series of final rules including implementation of a mandatory no-cost shore-based shark fishing permit and measures intended to increase survival of released sharks and address public safety concerns.  Staff will also present final rules to cleanup other portions of the current shark rules.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language


    2. Final Rule – Marine Life Harvest at Blue Heron Bridge. The Blue Heron Bridge dive site is a world-renowned dive destination that is easily accessible from shore at Phil Foster Park in Palm Beach County.  Staff will present a final rule amendment that will provide additional conservation of this unique snorkeling and diving experience by prohibiting the collection of Marine Life (tropical aquarium species) from the Blue Heron Bridge dive site.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language
    3. NOTE: Agenda Item 5 C is being moved to a future Commission Meeting. No action on Spotted Seatrout will be requested at this meeting.
      Review and Discussion – Spotted Seatrout. Management of Florida’s spotted seatrout fishery is divided into four geographic zones.  The results of the stock assessment completed by FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute suggest that the spotted seatrout populations in the Northeast and Northwest zones were not meeting the management goal as of 2015, while seatrout populations in the southern portions of the state have been impacted by significant environmental events in more recent years.  Staff will present a summary of the assessment and public feedback gathered on this fishery and will seek Commission direction on bringing a draft rule package to a future Commission meeting.
    4. Draft Rule – Scallops. In 2017, the Commission approved a short-term regionally-specific bay scallop season structure as a pilot approach to balancing the variable desires of local communities and scallopers, while still addressing the health of bay scallop populations.  From 2017-2019, seasons were established through a series of Executive Orders (EO), including a new trial season in Pasco County in 2018 and 2019.  The 2019 season for Gulf County has not yet been set and will be considered as part of this item following development of a better understanding of the 2018 red tide effect on scallops in St. Joseph Bay.
      Staff will present a draft rule proposal that would establish the long-term season structure for the majority of the open scallop harvest area beginning in 2020 based on bay scallop research results and stakeholder feedback on the fishery.  Staff will also present recommendations to establish the bay scallop season in Gulf and Pasco counties for 2020 by EO to allow flexibility to re-evaluate the future season structure based on restoration efforts and environmental factors in Gulf County and potential scallop population needs in Pasco County.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language
  1. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  2. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting no later than 6:00 pm


8:30 a.m., Thursday, February 21st

  1. Call to Order
  2. Staff Reports
    1. Budget and Legislative Update – Staff will present an update to the Commission on the FWC Legislative Budget Requests for FY 19/20 and the status of legislation proposed during the 2019 Session.
      Summary Memo
    2. Aquatic Plant Management – Staff will provide an overview and discussion on aquatic plant management, including efforts to engage stakeholders and the public.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  1. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule – Rule Changes for Hunting 2019 – 2020. Staff will present final 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.  The Commission approved draft rules on December 13, 2018.  Detailed proposed rule language, including one amended draft rule, is provided in background documents for this item.
      Summary Memo | Summary of Proposals | Presentation | 68A-9.004 | 68A-12.002 | 68A-13.003 | 68A-13.008 | 68A-15.004 | 68A-15.006 | 68A-15.061 | 68A-15.061 NOC | 68A-15.062 | 68A-15.063 | 68A-15.063 NOC | 68A-15.064 | 68A-15.065 | 68A-17.004 | 68A-17.005
    2. Final Rule – Deer Management. Staff will present final 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, including one amended draft rule, is provided in background documents for this item.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68A-12.003 | 68A-12.004 | 68A-13.004
    3. Final Rule – Nonnative Fish and Wildlife. Staff will present final rules to add definitions in Rule 68-5.002, Florida Administrative Code (FAC), include additional high-risk species in the Prohibited species list in Rule 68-5.006 FAC, and add grandfathering language in Rule 68-5.007 FAC for people in possession of those species as personal pets before their listing as Prohibited.  Details of these changes are provided in background documents for this item.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68-5002 | 68-5006 | 68-5007 | Notice of Change
    4. Draft Rule – Bird traps. Staff will seek approval to amend FAC Chapter 68A-16, Rules Relating to Birds to regulate the use, placement, possession, and transport of bird traps.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68A-16006


  1. General Counsel Report
  2. Future Agenda Items
  3. Commissioner Exchange
  4. Adjournment

The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for May 1 – 2, 2019 in Tallahassee commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.


Consent Agenda


  1. Draft Rule – Mullet Rule Cleanup. Marine Fisheries Rule Cleanup is a long-term, ongoing effort to clarify, streamline and standardize marine fisheries rules.  In 2013, gear definitions in the Commission’s gear rule chapter [68B-4, Florida Administrative Code (FAC)] were updated to include a definition for “snagging” or “snatch hooking” that applies to all species rules in Title 68B, FAC.  Snagging or snatch hooking mullet is a commonly-used method to harvest mullet and defining snagging or snatch hooking as a gear type had the unintended consequence of appearing to prohibit this method of harvest.  The proposed draft rule amendments would clarify that the harvest of mullet by snagging or snatch hooking is allowed and would make other clarifying or non-substantive rule updates to implement the standardized rule formatting consistent with the rule clean-up process.
    Summary Memo | Rule Language

    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.
  1. Federal Consistency – Atlantic King Mackerel Commercial Vessel Limits. Staff propose a federal consistency action that would maintain consistent king mackerel commercial vessel limits in Atlantic state and federal waters following pending changes to federal commercial vessel limits.  The proposed rule amendment would modify the Commission’s King Mackerel – Atlantic Fishery rule as follows:
    68B-30.003 Commercial Harvest Limits; Recreational Bag Limit; Gear Specifications – Update the commercial vessel limit to reference the new Code of Federal Regulations citation once the pending rule change takes effect.  This would maintain consistency between state and federal commercial vessel limits for king mackerel in the Atlantic.
    Summary Memo | 68B-30.003
  1. Draft Rule – 68-003 (12) Boating Infrastructure Grant Program – The proposed changes will include the adoption by reference of updated guidelines and an application form for the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program. Revisions appear throughout the guidelines and on the application form using clarifying language to assist applicants in navigating the proposal process and produce competitive, high quality applications.
    Summary Memo | Guidelines | Application

    NOTE:  Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed draft rule and file for adoption as soon as possible.  If the draft rule is approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
  1. Draft Rule – Imperiled Species Management Plan (ISMP). Staff will seek approval to publish two Notices of Change and two Notices of Proposed Rule in order to add references to many of the ISMP Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines into rules 68A-16, 68A-25, 68A-27, and 68A-29, FAC, as requested by the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee.  No changes will be made to any of the Guidelines previously approved by the Commission.
    Summary Memo | 68A-16003 | 68A-25002 | 68A-29002 | 68A-27003

    NOTE:  Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise these rules and changes and file for adoption as soon as possible.  If 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.