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July 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 a topic or speaker, including time donation to other speakers. With regard to public comment on items not on the agenda, the Commission will have a designated time period on the agenda at the end of day 1, July 17th. The deadline for registration to speak on items not on the agenda is 2:00 pm on July 17th. 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 the area, you may call the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce at (772) 287-1088 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, July 17th

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve May 2019 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 agenda at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Awards and Recognition
    1. FWC Law Enforcement Prosecutor of the Year Award
    2. Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year Award
    3. Youth Hunting Program Landowner of the Year Award
    4. Florida Sportsman’s Conservation Association Award
  4. Executive Director’s Report


  5. Rules Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule - Rules Relating to Birds, Chapter 68A-16.006, F.A.C. In February 2019, staff received Commission approval for advertising a draft rule that established regulations regarding the use, placement, possession, and transport of bird traps for the conservation of native birds. Stakeholders were invited to comment through a news release and social media post. Additionally, staff collected public comment via three webinars in early April, and through direct contact with stakeholders in late April and May. After considering public comment, staff have identified changes to improve the rule language and propose to restart the rulemaking process. The rule language is provided as a background document for this item.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68A-16006 | Permit Application
      Note: If approved, staff propose to both advertise the proposed rule change and file for adoption as soon as possible as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
    2. Draft Rule – Effective Means of Propulsion for Safe Navigation, 68D – 15.002. In accordance with the statutory direction in 327.4107(2)(e), Florida Statutes, the proposed draft rule will establish evaluation methods for determining whether vessels which are greater than 16 feet in length have an effective means of propulsion for safe navigation. This rule provides law enforcement officers with a standardized evaluation utilizing specified time, distance and maneuverability components. The rule provides restrictions on conducting evaluations during adverse weather conditions and when a vessel owner has proof of ordering parts necessary to effect repairs. Staff plan to advertise the proposed rule and a final public hearing is planned for October 2019.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language
    3. Draft Rule – Blackfin Tuna. Staff will present draft rules to implement species-specific regulations for blackfin tuna. Anglers from southeast Florida and the Keys have expressed concern about perceived declines in the population abundance and average size of blackfin tuna. Based on these concerns, staff conducted a series of public workshops in April and May 2019 to gather input statewide. Staff will propose draft rules creating bag and vessel limits for the fishery in state and federal waters off Florida, including a bag limit of two blackfin tuna per person per day or a vessel limit of 10 blackfin tuna per day, whichever is greater. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to 1 hour.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    4. Draft Rule – Northeast Florida Shrimp. Staff will present phase two of the long-term management project to modernize and streamline shrimp regulations. Participants in the commercial food shrimp fishery have requested a variety of updates to rules that apply to inland waters of Northeast Florida, including the St. Johns River. Staff recommend making the Commercial Food Shrimp Production License (required to participate in the food shrimp fishery in the area) fully transferable and allowing shrimping in open waters of the area on Mondays and the Friday after Thanksgiving.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68B-31


  6. Staff Reports
    1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report. Staff will report on actions from the GMFMC’s June 3-6 meeting in Miramar Beach, FL. Topics will include greater amberjack, carryover of unused quota, and other reef fish discussions.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report. Staff will report on actions and discussions from the SAFMC's June 10-14 meeting in Stuart, FL. Topics include dolphin, best fishing practices for snapper grouper species, red snapper, sector allocations, and king mackerel.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  7. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda (sign-up by 2:00 pm)
  8. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting no later than 6:00 pm

8:30 a.m., Thursday, July 18th

  1. Call to Order
  2. Staff Reports
    1. Florida Bay. Staff and invited guests will provide a presentation on the ecological conditions in Florida Bay, particularly how they relate to ongoing everglades restoration efforts and the status of fish and wildlife.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Presentation 2 | Presentation 3
    2. Pythons. Staff will provide an overview of how FWC and partner agencies control Burmese pythons in Florida. FWC is leading the way in Burmese python management and over the past decade has made significant advances through regulatory action, minimizing spread and impact of pythons through direct removal, supporting development of innovative detection and removal tools, incentivizing local python hunters, and engaging the public to be part of the solution. This presentation highlights successes and opportunities to address this invasive species issue.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    3. Biscayne National Park Fisheries Regulations. Staff will review the Biscayne National Park (BNP) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which was developed jointly by the FWC and the National Park Service and includes a goal of increasing the size and abundance of fishery species in BNP by 20%. Staff will discuss potential FWC rule changes that could attribute to achieving this goal and the plan to gather public input on these potential regulations. Staff will also review the Science Plan developed collaboratively by FWC and BNP to monitor fishery changes after the implementation of the FMP and recommend establishing a new Memorandum of Understanding between FWC and BNP related to managing and monitoring BNP fishery resources.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Report
  3. General Counsel Report
  4. Future Agenda Items
  5. Commissioner Exchange
  6. Adjournment


The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for October 2 – 3, 2019 in Cape Canaveral, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

Consent Agenda

  1. Hernando County Hunting Restricted Area. Establish the man-made canals and waterways connected to Hunters Lake in Hernando County as a restricted hunting area as requested by the County pursuant to Rule 68A-19.002, F.A.C.
    Summary Memo | Background Report

  2. Draft Rule – Florida Boating Improvement Program Grants, 68-1.003 (9), F.A.C. The proposed changes will include the adoption by reference of updated guidelines and an application form for Florida Boating Improvement Program grants. The guidelines and application have been rewritten to provide more detailed information on the application process and scoring criteria to assist applicants in producing competitive, high quality grant applications. The only substantive changes provide: (1) that governmental entities that allow swimming or any other activity that prohibits launching of vessels in public boat ramps would be ineligible for grant funding, and (2) that projects that have received grant funding must repay all funds when the site is converted to use for non-boating purposes and not replaced with a like project acceptable to the Commission during the period specified in the grant agreement.
    Summary Memo68-1.003 | Draft Guidelines | Draft Application
    NOTE: If approved, staff propose to both advertise the proposed rule change and file for adoption as soon as possible as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
  3. Draft Rule – Derelict Vessel Removal Program Grants, Rule 68-1.003(7), F.A.C. This rule incorporates by reference Guidelines for applicants. These Guidelines are being amended to eliminate the current 45-day application cycle for funding and to adopt a continuously open application period. Application acceptance will begin upon notice of grant opportunities in the Florida Administrative Register in the given fiscal year and will not end until that fiscal year’s funding has been exhausted or until the fiscal year ends, whichever happens first. Applications will be approved on a first come, first served basis. The current requirement for applicants to provide 25% matching funds will be removed. FWC will fund 100% of the eligible and qualified removal costs for each awarded grant. The guidelines will require the applying entity to ensure that the owner (or other responsible party) of each derelict vessel on a grant application has been afforded due process, as required by State and Federal law before grant applications are eligible for funding. The application form has also been modified to reflect these new guideline changes. No stakeholder objections have been noted as these changes are designed to improve the grant program and increase funding for removal. The new guidelines and application form are provided as background documents to this item.
    Summary Memo | Rule Language | Draft Guidelines | Draft Application
    NOTE: If approved, staff propose to both advertise the proposed rule change and file for adoption as soon as possible as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
  4. Draft Rule – Shortfin Mako. Staff proposes a draft rule that will increase the recreational minimum size limit of shortfin mako harvested in state waters from 54 to 83 inches fork length. Shortfin mako is overfished and undergoing overfishing and requires national and international management to rebuild the stock. The proposed draft rule meets an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission requirement that each Atlantic state must match new federal shortfin mako regulations or implement conservation equivalent measures. The proposed draft rule would also clarify that commercial harvest of shortfin mako is prohibited in Florida state waters because of recent changes to federal management.
    NOTE: If approved, staff propose to both advertise the proposed rule change and file for adoption as soon as possible as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
    Summary Memo | Presentation | 68B-44
  5. Proposed FWC Commission Meeting dates for 2020
    Meeting Dates