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May 2020 Commission Meeting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is committed to providing opportunity for public input at each Commission meeting. The Commission will welcome public input regarding agenda items requiring action. 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. Due to this meeting being held by video conference and telephonic participation we are presenting a reduced agenda and are limiting public comment to one hour per agenda item. Public comment will be taken on a first call/first serve basis utilizing a speaker call in number.

Due to the meeting being held solely by video and telephonic participation, the Commission is also offering the opportunity for stakeholders to provide their comments regarding the agenda item topics in advance. Advanced comments should be submitted no later than Friday, May 1, 2020. Those comments can be submitted via email to If you would like to provide written comments via mail, please send those comments to the following address;

FWC Commissioners
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

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.

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.

9:00 a.m., Thursday, May 14th

  1. Call to Order
  2. Administrative Matters
      1. Review and Approve February 2020 Commission Meeting Minutes
    1. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    2. Approve Consent Agenda
      Details for all consent agenda items are listed at the end of this document. Any questions or concerns about a consent agenda item should be addressed to agency staff prior to the Commission meeting.
  3. Executive Directors Report
  4. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule – Proposed Changes to Private Lands Alligator Management Rule. Staff will present a proposed final rule amendment that will increase sustainable access to the alligator egg resource on permitted properties and strengthen participant accountability in an effort to achieve improvements desired by program participants and staff. Detailed rule language is provided in background documents for this item. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68A-25.032
    2. Final Rule – State Reef Fish Survey. Staff will present a proposed final rule to replace the Gulf Reef Fish Survey (GRFS), which expires June 30, 2020, with a State Reef Fish Survey (SRFS) and expand the reef fish survey statewide. Recreational fishers would be required to sign up for SRFS if they intend to fish for or possess certain reef fish species while aboard a private vessel in or on Florida waters. This requirement would better define the population of offshore private recreational reef fish harvesters for survey purposes, leading to improved recreational data and improved fisheries management opportunities for reef fish statewide. Details of the proposed final rule are provided in the background documents for this item. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Draft Rule Language
    3. Draft Rule – Stone Crab. Commercial stone crab landings show a long-term decline in the average annual harvest of stone crab claws despite an increasing trend in market price. Staff will present proposed draft rules for commercial and recreational stone crab harvesters to help increase the stone crab population and add resiliency to the fishery, including:
      • Moving the end of stone crab season from May 15 to April 9
      • Requiring a 2 3/16” escape ring in all plastic and wood stone crab traps before the 2023/2024 season
      • Increasing the minimum claw size limit by 1/8” to 2 7/8”
      • Limiting the possession of whole stone crabs on the water to 2 “checker boxes,” each up to 3’ x 2’ x 2’ or 12 cubic ft.
      Specific details of the proposals are provided in the background documents for this item. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Draft Rule Language
  5. Future Agenda Items
  6. Commissioner Exchange
  7. Adjournment
    The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for July 22 – 23, 2020 in Bonita Springs, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day. This future meeting is subject to being limited to a single day agenda and/or being held by video and/or teleconference technology if needed for purposes of maintaining social distancing for public health purposes.

Consent Agenda

  1. Proposed 2021 FWC Commission Meeting Dates
    Proposed Meeting Dates
  2. Draft Rules – Rules 68A-13.003 and 68A-13.008 Migratory bird hunting regulations. Review and approval of migratory bird hunting regulations (dove, rail, gallinule, woodcock, snipe, special early waterfowl, regular waterfowl and coot, and limited Canada goose seasons) for the 2020-2021 season. Staff is seeking approval to publish proposed rules that would add two Veterans/Active Military Waterfowl Hunt Days, reduce the bag limit for scaup during certain periods of the established waterfowl season, and adjust the length of the falconry duck and common moorhen season to conform to federal frameworks. Detailed proposed rule language is provided in background documents for this item.
    Summary Memo | Background Report | 68A-13.003 | 68A-13.008
  3. Draft Rule – Lake Monroe Boating-Restricted Area. In order to protect the public, the FWC is proposing rule language that will establish an Idle Speed No Wake boating-restricted area from shoreline to shoreline in the St. Johns River extending 1.25 miles north of the I-4 bridge in Sanford, Florida. This boating speed restriction would become effective only when the river is at flood stage. The proposed boating restricted area would have a flood stage restriction height of 5.5 feet as reported by the National Weather Service Gauge at Lake Monroe. This portion of the St. Johns River is currently within a slow speed minimum wake zone however, Seminole County has expressed concern for public safety during flooding at this area.
    Summary Memo | Draft Rule Language

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule amendments and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendments 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.