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November 2013 Commission Meeting

All interested individuals may speak at workshops or meetings of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) within the guidelines established by the Commission.  To ensure the public’s opportunity to be heard and the orderly conduct of the meeting, the Chairman reserves the right to establish a time for adjournment of the workshop or meeting, to limit the time for speakers, and to limit the time allotted for specific agenda items. 

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 moved by the Chairman to different days of the meeting to accommodate scheduling problems. 

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.

The Chairman may ask staff and the public to work through lunch on either day.  Please plan accordingly.

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 Weston area, you may call the Chamber of Commerce at (954) 389-0600, or visit their website at‎

8:30 a.m., Wednesday, November 20, 2013

  1. Meeting Opening & Recognitions
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge
    3. Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year Award
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve September 5-6, and October 9, 2013 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda
  3. Executive Reports
    1. Executive Director Report
    2. Chairman’s Report
  4. Items Requiring Action and Staff Reports
    1. Planning Discussions
      1. Follow up from October 9th Commission Meeting on Strategic Vision
      2. Annual Work Plan for Commission Meeting Items – Staff will present a proposed work plan for fiscal year 2014-2015.  This will reflect items that are anticipated to be brought to the Commission for action or for information during that period. 2014-2015 Workplan Presentation
      3. Imperiled Species Management Planning and Implementation (ISPM) Update – Staff will present an update on the phased planning steps that are informing the ISMP development and will highlight on-going imperiled species projects. Presentation
    2. Staff Report – Everglades Restoration and Importance to Wildlife - The purpose of this presentation is to provide you an update on the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) and to adopt a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission position that provides biologically based guidance for managing water levels in the Everglades. Presentation | Position Paper
    3. Draft Rules
      1. Proposed Rule Changes for Hunting 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. Proposed Rules Hunting Fishing Presentation | Draft Rule 68A-13 004 Turkey Bag and Zone A | Draft Rule 68A-15.004 | Draft Rule 68A-15.004 version 2 | Draft Rule 68A-15.006 | Draft Rule 68A-15.061 | Draft Rule 68A-15.062 | Draft Rule 68A-15.063 | Draft Rule 68A-15.064 | Draft Rule 68A-15.065 | Draft Rule 68A-17.004 | Draft Rule 68A-17.004 version 2 | Draft Rule 68A-17.005 | Draft Rule 68A-24.002 | Draft Rule 68A-25.004 | Draft Rule 68A-25.032 | Draft Form 68A-25.032 FWC 1000PW
      2. Deer Management Units Zone D – The proposed rule changes would establish specific regulations for deer management units within Zone D to better manage deer on a local level to meet the needs and desires of the public.  A complete list of the rules can be viewed in background materials for this item. Proposed Deer Regulations Zone D Presentation | Draft Rules 68A-13 Zone D | Draft Rules 68A-15.063 and 17.004 Zone D
    4. Legislative Issues– Staff will update the Commission on the agency’s 2014 Session proposals. Fee Repeals | Additional Proposals Presentation
    5. Staff Report - Anchoring & Mooring Legislative Report on Pilot Program - Staff will present an overview of the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program and request approval of a statutorily required legislative report due January 1, 2014. FS 327.4105 | Presentation
  5. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  6. Commissioner Exchange
  7. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, November 21, Reconvene

  8. Meeting Opening and Recognitions
    1. Special Recognition-- American Fisheries Society recognition of FWC's FYCCN Youth Fishing Program as best in the Nation
    2. Rodney Barreto Award (to be presented Thursday afternoon upon the call of the Chairman)
  9. Items Requiring Action
    1. Biscayne National Park (BNP) Management Plans – The National Park Service (NPS) is in the process of developing a Fishery Management Plan (FMP and a General Management Plan (GMP) for BNP.  NPS is ready to finalize the FMP and is expected to release a supplemental draft of the GMP in advance of the Commission meeting.  Staff will review the history of interagency collaboration on these plans and summarize the aspects of the plans that are of greatest interest to FWC stakeholders.  Staff will also request the Commission reiterate its support for the FMP and its willingness to proceed with development of the FWC fishing regulations that would be required to implement the management strategies described by the FMP. Presentation
    2. Draft Rules
      1. Sea cucumbers – Commercial sea cucumber landings have increased dramatically over the last year, in part due to the development of an export market for dried sea cucumbers.  Florida’s recreational collectors of sea cucumbers are subject to a daily trip limit, but there is currently no commercial bag limit.  In order to ensure that Florida’s harvest of sea cucumbers continues to be sustainable; members of the commercial marine life industry have requested that FWC implement daily commercial trip limits for this fishery. Sea Cucumbers Draft Rule Presentation

        Chapter 68B-42.006 Commercial Season, Harvest Limits – The proposed draft rule would create a daily commercial trip limit and vessel limit of 200 individual sea cucumbers.

      2. Swordfish – NOAA Fisheries Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Division recently implemented new federal commercial swordfish rules.  The proposed draft rule would modify state swordfish rules to allow for commercial harvest associated with these federal changes, make state swordfish rules consistent with federal rules, designate swordfish as a restricted species, and update federal rule references. Swordfish Draft Rule Presentation
        1. 68B-58.001 Designation as a Restricted Species (NEW) – The proposed draft rule would designate swordfish as a restricted species.
        2. 68B-58.003 Size Limits – The proposed draft rule would change the minimum cleithrum to keel length measurement for swordfish harvest from 29 to 25 inches to be consistent with federal rules.
        3. 68B-58.004 Bag and Vessel Limits; Exception for Commercial Harvest (NEW Title) – The proposed draft rule would provide an exception from recreational bag and vessel limits for persons commercially harvesting swordfish pursuant to a saltwater products license and either a federal Swordfish General Commercial permit or HMS Charter/Headboat permit when not carrying passengers as a vessel for hire.  This subsection would also clarify that a valid restricted species endorsement is required for commercial harvest.  Finally, the proposed draft rule would also add dates to the federal citations in this subsection. This will ensure that constituents know which version of the federal rules is being referenced.
        4. 68B-58.005 Commercial Seasons (NEW) – This new subsection would clarify that if adjacent federal waters are closed to commercial harvest of swordfish, corresponding state waters shall also be closed until federal waters are reopened to harvest.  Harvest, possession, or landing for commercial purposes, and purchase, sale, or exchange of swordfish would be prohibited during such closure.                     
        5. 68B-58.006 Allowed and Prohibited Gear and Method of Harvest (NEW) – The proposed draft rule would clarify that swordfish may only be harvested by hook and line in state waters.  However, the proposed draft rule would also allow swordfish legally harvested in adjacent federal waters to be landed in Florida when such harvest is transported directly through state waters with gear appropriately stowed.
        6. 68B-58.007 Requirements for Sale – The proposed draft rule would allow persons to sell swordfish harvested commercially pursuant to a federal Swordfish General Commercial permit or federal HMS Charter/Headboat permit (swordfish may not be harvested on a for-hire trip).  The proposed draft rule would also clarify that a person who harvests swordfish may not sell swordfish unless the harvester possesses a valid restricted species endorsement.  This subsection would also be modified to require wholesale dealers purchasing swordfish to possess a valid federal Atlantic swordfish dealer permit.
        7. 68B-58.011 Reporting Requirement for Non-tournament Landings- The proposed draft rule would update the federal citation in this subsection. This will ensure that constituents know which version of the federal rules is being referenced.

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

      3. Removal of Gulf Reef Fish Venting Tool Requirement - Adoption of a Federal Standard - The proposed rule amendment would achieve consistency between the Commission’s reef fish gear regulations in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico and federal regulations in the Gulf of Mexico. Removal of Venting Tool Requirement Presentation
        1. 68B-14.005 (Regulation and Prohibition of Certain Harvesting Gear: Allowable Gear, Incidental Bycatch, Violation.) - This section would be modified to eliminate the requirement to possess and use venting tools when fishing for reef fish in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

        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.

    3. Fishery Management Council Updates
      1. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) - Staff will report on SAFMC actions from their September 16-20 meeting in Charleston, SC and anticipated actions and discussions at their upcoming meeting on December 2-6 in Wilmington, NC.  Topics include: various snapper and grouper species, mackerel, cobia, deepwater shrimp and corals, dolphin, and wahoo, and proposed closures for speckled hind and Warsaw grouper. South Atlantic Report Presentation
      2. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) - Staff will report on GMFMC actions from their Oct. 28 – Nov. 1 meeting in New Orleans, LA.  Topics include: red snapper, mackerel, and cobia. Gulf Council Report Presentation
  10. Future Agenda Items
  11. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  12. Commissioner Exchange
  13. Commission Administrative Matters

    The Next Commission meeting is scheduled for February 12-13, 2014 in Tampa, commencing at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 12.

Consent Agenda

  1. Blue Runner (Final Rule) - Staff presented this draft rule at the September 2013 Commission Meeting.  The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) recently approved an amendment to remove blue runner from the federal snapper grouper fishery management plan (FMP).  The SAFMC approved this amendment, in part, based on the fact that the FWC agreed to regulate blue runner harvest in federal waters of the Atlantic.  If the U.S. Secretary of Commerce approves removing this species from the FMP, FWC will need to assume management in Atlantic federal waters.  The current state regulations are limited to those in Florida Statutes that relate to harvest of all otherwise unregulated marine species. The new species chapter for blue runner would clarify these regulations with respect to blue runner and extend the proposed regulations into federal waters. Blue Runner Rules Presentation
    1. 68B-61 Blue Runner - The proposed final rule would create a new rule chapter in Florida Administrative Code for blue runner.
    2. 68B-61.002 Definitions - The proposed final rule would define blue runner as any fish of the species Caranx crysos.
    3. 68B-61.004 Bag Limits - The proposed final rule would set the recreational daily bag limit for blue runner at 100 fish in state waters and extend the proposed bag limit into federal waters in the absence of federal regulations.
    4. 68B-61.009 License Requirements - The proposed final rule would require a saltwater products license (SPL) to harvest blue runner in quantities greater than the recreational bag limit from state or federal waters off Florida, and to harvest blue runner for commercial purposes from state or federal waters.
  2. 68A-13.003, Hunting Regulations for Ducks, Geese and Coots - Staff presented this draft rule at the September 2013 Commission Meeting.  The proposed final rule increases the bag limit for canvasbacks from one to two, decreases the bag limit for scaup from four to two, and increases the possession limit to three times the bag limit for ducks, geese and coots. Final Rule 68A-13.003 NPR
  3. 68A-13.008, Hunting Regulations for Migratory Birds Other than Ducks and Coots - Staff presented this draft rule at the September 2013 Commission Meeting.  The proposed final rule increases possession limits for migratory game birds other than ducks and coots to three times the bag limit. Final Rule 68A-13.008 NPR
  4. 68A-23.012 Special Regulations on Lake Okeechobee (Final Rule) - Staff presented a draft rule to the Commission in June, 2013.  The proposed rule was modified during the Commission meeting to address concerns of the haul seine fishers.  The rule approved by the Commission was advertised and a letter of support was received from the fishers that requested the modification.  The purpose of the rule amendment is to reduce user conflicts and confusing language in rule for the haul seine program on Lake Okeechobee. The amended rule will extend the northern boundary for haul seines, adjust the boundary in an area of conflict, allow earlier times for setting of haul seine nets, and remove outdated and redundant rule language. The amended rule will reduce user conflicts and enhance enforcement of Freshwater Fisheries Management rules in the lake. Lake Okeechobee Haul Seine Rule Change Presentation