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November 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.

November, 2014 Commission Meeting


8:30 a.m., Thursday, November 20

  1. Meeting Opening and Recognitions
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve September 2014 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 considered prior to the open public comment section.
  3. Executive Reports
    1. Chairman’s Report
    2. Executive Director’s Report
  4. Council Reports
    1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions taken by the GMFMC at its October 20-24 meeting in Mobile, AL, including Red Snapper sector separation and/or regional management.
    2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions taken by the SAFMC at its September 15-19 meeting in Charleston, SC.  Topics include: various snapper grouper species, dolphin, wahoo, and mackerel.
  5. Federal Consistency

    Gulf of Mexico Recreational Red Grouper Bag Limits - Adoption of a Federal Standard - The proposed rule amendment would reduce the red grouper recreational bag limit from four fish down to two fish per person per day within state waters of the Gulf of Mexico excluding Monroe County to achieve consistency between the Commission’s red grouper rules and pending rules for red grouper in Gulf federal waters. Consistent regulations in state waters would reduce the likelihood of the annual recreational catch exceeding federal annual catch limits. The proposed rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:

    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 add language specifying a recreational bag limit for red grouper in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, excluding Monroe County, of two fish per person per day within the four grouper aggregate bag limit. 

    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.

    Bag Limit Presentation

  6. Marine Habitat Management in the Florida Keys
    1. Coral Research and Management.  Staff will describe FWC efforts to monitor and restore corals, as well as the status of several species of Florida corals that have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
    2. Status of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulatory Review.  Sanctuary Superintendent Sean Morton will provide an overview of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulatory Review process, including a status update and timeline for completion of the process.
      Presentation | "Next Step"
  7. Staff Reports
    1. Spiny Lobster Commercial Dive Endorsement – The moratorium on issuing new spiny lobster commercial dive (CD) endorsements is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2015.  Staff will review the history of this endorsement program and provide an overview of considerations for possibly continuing the moratorium on new endorsements and/or allowing for transfer of the endorsement.  Staff will also provide a brief summary of some other closely related commercial lobster issues, including casitas, which may require Commission consideration in the near future.
    2. Barracuda – Staff will present a summary of stakeholder concerns about the status of the great barracuda population in South Florida and provide an overview of the information available to evaluate those concerns.  Staff will also provide series of potential barracuda management options for Commission discussion.
  8. Item Requiring Action

    Draft Rule 68C-22.016 Pinellas County Manatee Protection – Review and discussion of staff recommendations for proposed amendments to establish state manatee protection zones in portions of western Pinellas County.

  9. Strategic Discussion Follow-up - Conflict Wildlife – Lionfish and American Crocodile

    One of the Commission’s current strategic initiatives associated with the Agency Strategic Plan includes managing wildlife conflict. Staff is focused on advancing the Commission’s goal of reducing wildlife conflict and conserving native species and habitats. Staff will present updates on two marine species of interest. The first presentation will be on lionfish and will consist of an update of recent and ongoing outreach and education efforts being used to raise public awareness about lionfish and their impacts on Florida’s marine fisheries. The presentation will also include a summary of potential future regulatory and outreach measures that could further encourage public participation in lionfish control. The second presentation will be on the American crocodile. Staff will present an update on population status and outline FWC’s approach to managing human interactions with this species. The presentation will also include a summary of ongoing outreach and education efforts and proposed future measures.
    Lionfish Presentation | American Crocodile Presentation

  10. Strategic Discussion Follow-up - Efforts to Increase Diversity
    1. Florida Youth Conservation Center Network (FYCCN). Florida Keys Community College has agreed to partner with the FYCCN and offer our Summer Youth Camp programming at the Key West campus in 2015. This unique partnership is the first of its kind and we hope it will open the door to the rest of the State University System.
    2. Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF). Staff will update the Commission on the RBFF’s President George H. W. Bush Vamos a Pescar Educational Fund to increase participation in fishing and boating with Hispanic and other urban residents. Florida and Texas are working together with RBFF, Bass Pro Shops, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to determine how this Fund will be administered and expanded throughout the Nation.
    3. Media Partnership. Captain Diego Toiran is assisting the FWC in this program and will discuss future efforts to expand our conservation messages via television and other media. A briefing on the Wildlife Foundation of Florida’s “I DO” campaign to boost fishing license sales will also be provided.
  11. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  12. Commissioner Exchange
  13. Recess Thursday’s Portion of the Meeting

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

  14. Call to Order
  15. Items Requiring Action
    1. Draft Rules - Background Report | 68A-15.065 | 68A-15.064 | 68A-15.063 | 68A-15.063 Version 2 | 68A-15.062 | 68A-15.061 | 68A-15.006 | 68A-17.005
      1. Proposed Rule Changes for Hunting 2015-2016 – 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 proposed rules can be viewed in background materials for this item.
        Presentation | 68A-17.004 | 68A-09.007 | 68A-15.004
      2. Deer Management Units within Zones A, B, and C – The proposed rule changes would establish specific regulations for deer management units within Zones A, B, and C 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.
        Presentation | 68A-13.004 | 68A-13.0001
    2. Legislative Issues

      The proposals for consideration for the 2015 Legislative Session include: Modification of penalties for violating wildlife and freshwater fish feeding regulations; and update of alligator statutes and modifications to alligator licenses.
      Wildlife Feeding Proposal | Alligator Statutes Proposal | Additional Proposals

  16. Staff Report

    General Counsel Report

  17. Future Agenda Items
  18. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  19. Commissioner Exchange
  20. Commission Administrative Matters

    The next Regular Commission Meeting is scheduled for February 4 - 5, 2015, in Jacksonville, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

  21. Adjournment


Consent Agenda

  1. 68A-12.002 General Methods of Taking Game; Prohibitions – Staff presented this draft rule at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The proposed final rule would remove the prohibition on the use of noise-suppressed (i.e., silencer-equipped) rifles and pistols for taking deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail, and crows.

    Proposed Rule

  2. 68A-25.032 Regulations Governing the Establishment of Alligator Management Programs – Staff presented this draft rule at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The proposed final rule amendment would modify the Private Lands Alligator Management Program Application form to require that the landowner/landowner’s representative signature be notarized.

    Proposed Rule | Form

  3. Wildlife Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Agriculture – Staff presented a proposed rule change to Florida Administrative Code Rule 68A-27.007 Permits and Authorizations for the Take of Florida Endangered and Threatened Species at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  Paragraph 68A-27.007(2)(d) requires that Commission staff work cooperatively with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, landowners, and other stakeholders to legislatively authorize, develop, and adopt BMPs to protect wildlife species by November 2014.  Following publication of the proposed amendments authorized by the Commission, staff determined that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services would not have completed the rule making process for adopting Chapter 5M-17 F.A.C..  Staff is seeking approval to publish a Notice of Change to remove references to Chapter 5M-17 F.A.C. and is requesting that the rule become effective as soon as possible following the publication of the Notice.

    Proposed Rule | Notice of Change

  4. 68A-13.003, Hunting Regulations for Ducks, Geese and Coots – Staff presented the proposed final rule amendment at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The rule amendment would decrease the bag limit for canvasbacks from two to one, establish a September teal season with a bag limit of six, increase the bag limit for the September wood duck and teal season from four to six (no more than two may be wood ducks), modify the dates of the September wood duck and teal season, establish a possession limit of three day’s bag limit for September duck seasons, modify the dates of the first phase of the Canada goose season, and modify the dates of the falconry season for ducks, geese and coots.

    Proposed Rule

  5. 68A-13.008, Hunting Regulations for Migratory Birds Other than Ducks and Coots – Staff presented the proposed final rule amendment at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The rule amendment would establish regulations for taking migratory birds other than ducks and coots in conformance with federal regulations.  The proposed rule amendment would increase and modify the dates of the open season for mourning doves and white-winged doves and modify the falconry open season for mourning doves and white-winged doves.

    Proposed Rule

  6. 68-1.003 Non-Traditional Section 6, and State Wildlife Grants Document (joint rule amendments by Boating and Waterways) – The proposed changes under rule 68-1.003 will include the addition of forms and guidelines for the Habitat Conservation Planning, Habitat Conservation Planning Land Acquisition, and Recovery Land Acquisition programs and address revisions to the State Wildlife Grants program Application Form, Budget Form, and Program Guidelines.

    Grant Rule | Guidelines | Summary of Changes | Revisions to RuleSummary

  7. Adoption of June 2015 Commission Meeting date change. The new proposed Commission Meeting dates are June 23 – 25, 2015.