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October 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, October 2nd. The deadline for registration to speak on items not on the agenda is 2:00 p.m. on October 2nd. 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 Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce at (321) 459-2200 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, October 2nd

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve July 2019 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. 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. Any item not approved as part of the consent agenda may be moved to the regular agenda at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Executive Directors Report


  4. Rules Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule – Blackfin Tuna. At the July 2019 Commission meeting, the Commission approved a draft rule to create species-specific regulations for blackfin tuna. Staff will present a final rule proposal that would create a bag/vessel limit of two blackfin tuna per person per day or 10 blackfin per vessel per day, whichever is more, for state and federal waters.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language
    2. Draft Rule – Spotted Seatrout. Florida’s spotted seatrout fishery is currently managed in four geographic zones: Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast. A stock assessment completed by FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute suggests that spotted seatrout are not meeting the Commission’s management target in some of these management zones and that the population status is declining in all zones. Based on direction at the May 2019 Commission meeting, staff gathered public input on an updated management proposal. Staff will present a summary of the public feedback received and a series of proposed draft rules, that are intended to improve both the fishery and angler satisfaction. Details of the proposed changes are provided in background documents for this item.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language

  5. Staff Reports
    1. Biscayne National Park Fishing Regulations Update. Staff will present an update on fishing regulations for Biscayne National Park (BNP) relating to the Park’s Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  The FMP was developed jointly by the FWC and the National Park Service and approved by the Commission.  The FMP includes goals to increase the size and abundance of targeted fishery species in BNP by 20% and provide for habitat protection within the Park.  Based on direction from the July 2019 Commission meeting, staff conducted a series of public workshops in August to gather input on a suite of management options.  Staff will present the public input received and propose management changes to apply within BNP that are intended to accomplish the FMP goals.
      Summary Memo | Presentation


    1. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Update. Staff and invited guests will provide a presentation on proposed regulatory changes for the FKNMS, including next steps.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    2. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Report. Staff will report on actions from the GMFMC’s August 12-15 meeting in New Orleans, LA. Topics will include greater amberjack, gray snapper, red snapper, and other reef fish discussions.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    3. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Report.  Staff will report on actions and discussions from the SAFMC's September 16-20 meeting in Charleston, SC.  Topics will include best fishing practices for snapper grouper species, red snapper, dolphin, wahoo, and king mackerel.  Staff will also provide information on efforts to gather public input on recreational bag limits for blueline tilefish and snowy grouper in Atlantic state waters.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    4. Boating Safety Report. Staff will present the Division of Law Enforcement’s collective efforts related to boating enforcement captured in the Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Performance Report and the annual Boating Accident Statistical Report. Categories include but are not limited to: water patrol, boating under the influence (BUI), boating accident investigation, uniform boating citations and warnings issued, and boating education.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
  6. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  7. Recess Wednesday’s portion of the meeting no later than 6:00 p.m.

8:30 a.m., Thursday, October 3rd

  1. Call to Order
  2. Staff Report – Legislative and Budget
    Staff will seek approval for the FY 2020-2021 Legislative Budget Request and Agency Legislative Package.
    Summary Memo | Presentation | Issues | Schedule VIIIB
  3. Rules Requiring Action
    NOTE: For all three of the following items, staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed draft rule and file for adoption as soon as possible as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

    1. Draft Rule – Elephant Rides. Staff will present draft rule changes to rule 68A-6.007, F.A.C., which governs elephant rides in the state of Florida. The proposed draft rule will establish new barrier requirements to address public safety concerns as well as enhance the experience requirements for qualified elephant handlers. Draft rule changes will also clarify rule language for application requirements. Staff conducted six public workshops across the state to obtain public comment on elephant rides.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language
    2. Draft Rule – Shoal Bass 68A-23.005, F.A.C. Staff will propose codifying an Executive Order to make shoal bass a catch and release only fishery at this time. The Chipola River is the only place in Florida where genetically pure shoal bass exist. Hurricane Michael severely impacted the Chipola River watershed, and subsequent sampling in the Chipola River conducted this Spring showed a significant reduction (>90%) in the numbers of shoal bass present.
      NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed draft rule and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the draft rule 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.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    3. Draft Rule – Chronic Wasting Disease Prevention Measures. Staff will present a draft rule amendment regarding deer carcass importation.  Staff will also update the Commission on additional proposals including the use of deer urine and other bodily fluids for attracting deer and the take of free ranging, non-native members of the deer family.  These are being proposed in aid of protecting the state’s deer population by helping prevent the introduction of chronic wasting disease into Florida.  Detailed proposed rule language is provided in background documents for this item.
      Summary Memo | Presentation | 68A-4.0053 | 68A-4.001 | 68A-13.001
  4. General Counsel Report
  5. Future Agenda Items
  6. Commissioner Exchange
  7. Adjournment
    The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for December 11 – 12, 2019 in Panama City, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

Consent Agenda

NOTE:  For consent items 1 and 2 below, staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed draft rule amendment via a Notice of Change to the previously filed Notice of Proposed Rule and to file for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3), Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

  1. Final Rule – Effective Means of Propulsion for Safe Navigation, 68D-15.002 (LE) Amendment.  In accordance with the statutory direction in paragraph 327.4107(2)(e), Florida Statutes, this rule will establish evaluation methods for determining whether vessels which are greater than 16 feet in length on waters of the state have an effective means of propulsion for safe navigation.  This rule provides state and local 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 as well as when a vessel owner has proof of ordering parts necessary to effect repairs related to propulsion.  The Florida Legislature provided the Commission with rulemaking authority to create these standardized and consistent evaluations.  Six public meetings were conducted during the development of this rule.  Authorization to publish the proposed rule was received at the July 2019 Commission meeting.  Staff are proposing to modify the advertised draft rule by clarifying that vessel owners can opt to detach the anchor line from the vessel and place a buoy on the line rather than pull anchor.  The language would then require that the operator remove the buoy and reattach the anchor line to the vessel once the evaluation is complete.  The modified proposed rule language is included in the background information for this agenda item.
    Summary Memo | Rule Language | Notice of Change
  2. Derelict Vessel Grant Program Rule Amendment.  At its July 2019 meeting, the Commission approved changes to Derelict Vessel Grant Guidelines incorporated by reference in Rule 68-1.003(7), FAC.  The changes approved included editing the Guidelines and Application to: (1) eliminate the current 45-day application cycle for funding and to adopt a continuously open application period; (2) eliminate the current requirement for applicants to provide 25% matching funds (FWC will fund 100% of the eligible and qualified removal costs for each awarded grant); (3) require the applying entity to ensure 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 amended Guidelines also gave notice that applicants routinely failing to legally charge derelict vessel owners would be denied use of state funding in the removal process.
    When staff moved to adopt these changes into the Rule, the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC) provided comments that the Rule, pursuant to section 379.106, F.S., must identify the method of payment to be used to disburse the grant funds, require the applicant to specifically identify the total number of derelict vessels within the applicant’s jurisdiction and address the requirement to identify the degree of commitment of the local government to maintain waters free of derelict vessels and to seek legal action against those who abandon vessels.  The amendment will include language to address these issues and provide clarifying language reflecting that, with exceptions, vessels for which the owner has not been charged will be ineligible for removal grant funding under this program.  The exceptions include when, after diligent search and inquiry law enforcement is unable to identify or locate the owner, and the rule provides what constitutes a diligent search and inquiry.  Staff also made clarifying and non-substantive changes, and one additional substantive change, to remove language that said that derelict vessels attached to, grounded upon, tied to, or docked at any private property are ineligible for removal grant funding under the program.  These vessels may fall into the definition of derelict provided under statute, and thus, may be eligible for removal funding if these changes are approved.  The edited guidelines and application are posted on the Commission Meeting agenda web page for reference.
    Summary Memo | Rule Language | Reference Sheet | Application | Guidelines | Notice of Change
  3. Biological Review Group Authorizations for 2 species. Staff will propose members of the Biological Review Group for the American flamingo and the striped newt, pursuant to Chapter 68A-27, F.A.C. Biological review groups evaluate species using the listing criteria in Rule 68A-27.001, F.A.C.
    Summary Memo | American Flamingo | Striped Newt
  4. Final Rule – Northeast Florida Shrimp. At the July 2019 Commission meeting, the Commission approved draft rules to modify regulations specific to commercial food shrimp fishery in inshore waters of Northeast Florida. This item includes final rules for 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 that are not state holidays and the Friday after Thanksgiving. Staff is recommending approval of the rules as advertised.
    Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language | License Transfer
  5. Draft Rule – 68-1.012, F.A.C (NEW) – Verification of Residency for the Purpose of Recreational Licenses and Permits. Staff are requesting approval of a new proposed rule which clarifies the methods applicants may use to demonstrate residency when applying for recreational licenses and permits. To verify residency, applicants using the Commission’s online recreational licensing system or telephone system would be required to provide proof of a valid Florida driver license or identification card, as verified by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Persons applying at a Commission licensing subagent location or Tax Collector’s office without a valid Florida driver license or identification card may provide any of the other forms of documentation authorized in s. 379.101(30), Florida Statutes (FS). These would include: a current Florida voter information card; a sworn statement manifesting and evidencing domicile in Florida in accordance with s. 222.17, FS; proof of a current Florida homestead exemption; or for a child younger than 18 years of age, a student identification card from a Florida school or, if accompanied by his or her parent at the time of purchase, the parent’s proof of residency.
    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed draft rule and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the draft rule is approved for both advertisement and final adoption, staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) FS without further public hearing.
    Summary Memo | 68-1.012