Skip to main content

November, 2015 Commission Meeting

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.

For information on lodging and restaurants within the area, you may call the Bay County Chamber of Commerce at (850) 785-5206, or visit their website at


8:30 a.m., Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation
    3. Presentation of Colors
    4. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve September 2015 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 or placed elsewhere on the agenda at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Special Recognition
    1. Veteran’s Day Recognition Memo
    2. Law Enforcement Award Presentation
  4. Executive Director’s Report
  5. Strategic Follow-Up – Innovations in Marine Fisheries Management.  Staff will present an update on efforts to gather public input about where marine fisheries management staff should focus their efforts in coming years.  As part of the Commission focal area on Marine Fisheries Innovations, staff conducted a statewide survey of fishery stakeholders and 19 public workshops to gain insight into which issues and species are of greatest interest or concern to FWC stakeholders.  Staff will present the results of the survey and workshops and highlight which suggestions were chosen for incorporation into the 2016/2017 marine fisheries workplan. Memo | Statewide Workshop Presentation | Statewide Workshop Summary
  6. Staff Reports
    1. Red Snapper Regional Management.  Staff will seek direction on potential GMFMC action to manage all or part of the recreational red snapper fishery on a regional (potentially state-by-state) basis. Memo | Presentation
    2. Mutton Snapper.  Staff will present a summary of stakeholder concerns about mutton snapper regulations and provide a series of management changes for the recreational and commercial mutton snapper fisheries for Commission discussion. Memo | Presentation
  7. Council Reports
    1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions from the GMFMC’s October 5-9 meeting in Galveston, TX.  Topics include: gag grouper, other reef fish, data collection and mackerel.  Staff will request direction on state consistency with recent federal recreational greater amberjack and red grouper season closures. Memo | Presentation
    2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions from the SAFMC’s September 14-18 meeting in Hilton Head, SC.  Topics include: multiple snapper grouper species.  Staff will seek direction on potential management changes for dolphin and proposed spawning Special Management Zones off Florida. Memo | Presentation
  8. Item Requiring Action – Draft Rule – Dwarf Seahorse– The dwarf seahorse is managed as part of the Marine Life (tropical ornamental/aquarium) fishery.  NOAA fisheries has received a petition to list the dwarf seahorse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and is currently conducting a status review for this species.  A preliminary evaluation of FWRI’s available data suggests that the dwarf seahorse could benefit from additional conservation measures.  While harvest in Florida is already regulated, reducing and maintaining low harvest would ensure the long term viability of the species and improve the condition of the population.  The effectiveness of fishery regulations is an important factor that NOAA Fisheries would consider in determining whether the species needs federal protection under the ESA. Memo | Presentation

    68B-42.0036 Closed Areas – The proposed rule would prohibit harvest of the dwarf seahorse north of a line extending due west from the Anclote Key State Park lighthouse near Tarpon Springs on the Gulf coast and north of a line extending due east of the Jupiter Inlet lighthouse in Palm Beach County on the Atlantic coast.
    68B-42.005 Recreational Bag Limit, Recreational Closed Season – The proposed rule would:

    1. Reduce the recreational bag limit for seahorse species from 5 of each species per person to 5 total seahorses per person (within the 20-organism aggregate limit including all Marine Life species).
    2. Create a closed season statewide for the recreational harvest of dwarf seahorses from July – September each year.
    3. Provide for a season closure once the dwarf seahorse commercial quota is projected to be met.

    68B-42.006 Commercial Season, Harvest Limits– The proposed rule would:

    1. Reduce the daily commercial trip limit from 400 dwarf seahorses to 200 per person or per vessel (whichever is less).
    2. Create a closed season statewide for the commercial harvest of dwarf seahorses from July – September each year.
    3. Create an annual commercial harvest quota of 25,000 individual dwarf seahorses.  The fishery would be closed when the quota is projected to be met and remain closed until the start of the following fishing year (October 1).
  9. Annual Workplan – Staff will request approval of a work plan for agenda items that are proposed to be brought forward to the Commission during the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year. Memo | Presentation
  10. Strategic Follow-up – Running the Business.  Staff will initiate a discussion on diversity within the Division of Law Enforcement workforce. Memo | Recruitment Presentation
  11. Staff Report – Deepwater Horizon. Staff will provide Commissioners with a review of restoration activities related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, including the recent agreement in principle to resolve remaining claims against BP. Memo | Presentation
  12. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  13. Commissioner Exchange
  14. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, November 19, Reconvene

  15. Call to Order
  16. Special Recognition – Award Presentation
  17. Florida Youth Conservation Center Network Update – Staff will provide Commissioners with a high level overview of the program with discussion on potential opportunities in the Northwest Region. Memo | Presentation
  18. Strategic Follow Up
    1. Imperiled Species Management Plan.  Staff will present to the Commission the draft ISMP, a summary of associated draft rule revisions, and several draft species guidelines.  Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed rule revisions. Memo | ISMP | Rule Change Summary | Management Plan
    2. Florida Fish and Wildlife Populations and their Habitats.  Staff will update the Commission on Florida’s Wildlife Management Area System.  This update will include the current status and a strategic vision for the future. Memo | Presentation
  19. Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida Update
  20. Items Requiring Action – Rules and Orders
    1. Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) designation in SW Florida.  Staff is proposing the establishment of a new CWA at a 3-acre sandbar in the Cape Romano Shoals in Collier County.  The island, known as Second Chance, provides crucial nesting habitat for imperiled seabirds and shorebirds.  The island is proposed to be seasonally closed to public access from March 1 to August 31 to prevent disturbance to nesting and roosting birds. Memo | Presentation
    2. 68C-22.016 Pinellas County Manatee Protection Rule.  Staff will seek approval to revise the manatee protection zone in Indian Rocks Beach that was approved in June 2015 as part of the final rule establishing manatee protection zones in portions of western Pinellas County. Memo | Manatee Rule Presentation | Final Rule Text
    3. Major Hunting rule changes for 2016-2017 season.  Staff will present draft rule amendments to revise select statewide hunting regulations, and specific area regulations on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Wildlife and Environmental Areas (WEAs) and Miscellaneous Areas and to conform hunting dates to calendar year date changes. Memo | 68A-09.004 | 68A-13.004 68A-15.004 68A-15.00668A-15.061 68A-15.062 68A-15.063 68A-15.064 | 68A-15.065 68A-17.004 68A-17.005 | Proposed Hunting Rules
  21. General Counsel Report
  22. Future Agenda Items
  23. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  24. Commissioner Exchange
  25. Commission Administrative Matters
    The next Regular Commission Meeting is scheduled for February 10 – 11, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.
  26. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. 68A-13.003, Hunting Regulations for Ducks, Geese and Coots – codify changes to this rule made by executive order. Final public hearing. Memo | Final Rule
  2. Alligator Management Rule Changes - clarify provisions of Rules 68A-25.032 Regulations Governing the Establishment of Alligator Management Programs and 68A-25.042, Regulations Governing Statewide Alligator Trapping, Permitting, Taking and Sale related to licensing requirements resulting from amendments to s. 379.3751, Florida Statutes. Memo | 68A-25.042 68A-25.032

    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. Miami tiger beetle Biological Review Group – Staff are requesting approval of 3 experts to serve on the biological review group of the Miami tiger beetle.  This group will use the listing criteria found in Rule 68A-27.001(3) to evaluate the beetle as a State-designated Threatened species. Memo | State Evaluation Request | Biological Review Group Bios
  4. 68E-2, Marine Turtle Grants Program – In 2003, section 370.12(1)(h), Florida Statutes, was repealed. This paragraph authorized the Commission to provide grants for marine turtle conservation projects and to adopt rules establishing the procedures for such grants. Upon repeal of this section, section 320.08058, Florida Statutes, was amended to transfer the authority to distribute a portion of funds from the sale of the Sea Turtle License Plate from the Commission to the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (now the Sea Turtle Conservancy) to administer the grant program for marine turtle conservation projects. Due to the statutory change and transfer of authority from the Commission to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, this rule is no longer necessary. Notice of Proposed Rule