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September 2012 Commission Meeting

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8:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 5

  1. Meeting Opening
    1. Call to Order
    2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
    3. Retirement Recognition - Dorothy Campbell
    4. Employee Introduction
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve June 27-28, 2012 Commission Meeting Minutes (June 2012 Minutes)
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda
  3. Executive Director’s Report
  4. Staff Reports
    1. Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program Report (Presentation) (Background Report - Vision Statement)
    2. Imperiled Species Conceptual Framework – Imperiled species management is highly complex, a general framework for the allocation of FWC resources can be placed into three categories: 1) state listed species, 2) federally listed species, and 3) the interface between federal and state agencies.  Each of these categories can be further divided into three states: a) evaluation/listing process; b) planning; and c) management implementation.  Staff will present this framework to the Commission including a discussion on how items being presented at Commission meetings fit into it. (Presentation)
    3. Florida Panther Plan – Staff will provide information on panther population assessment, range expansion, and human/panther conflicts. (Presentation)
  5. Items Requiring Action
    1. Gopher Tortoise Management Plan - The Commission approved the Gopher Tortoise Management Plan in 2007 and reclassified the gopher tortoise to Threatened.  The management plan calls for a revision at least every 5 years.  Staff has worked with stakeholders through an extensive review process and developed a revised plan which will be presented for approval.  One part of the revised plan is an interim policy on relocation of commensals which, if approved, will supersede Appendix 9 of the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines. (Presentation) (Management Plan) (Addendum)
    2. Draft Rules -- Falconry – The purpose of these rule amendments is to ensure that falconry is continued in the State of Florida.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and FWC currently share regulatory authority and permitting responsibilities related to falconry in Florida.  The Service is relinquishing permitting responsibilities to States, Indian Tribes or U.S. territories with “certified” (by the Service) falconry regulations.  Florida must have certified rules in place by January 1, 2014 in order for falconry to continue in the state.  The proposed final rule amendments would include: (Presentation) (Draft Application) (USFWS Form)
      1. 68A-9.005 Falconry - This section would be modified to meet Federal guidelines in addition meet the needs of the State and our constituents.   Some of the major modifications include: issuance of permit from FWC only; definitions; increase species for apprentice class; criteria for lapsed or revoked permits; issuance to a new resident or visitor to the US; housing on facilities not owned by permittee; section on care of raptors; restriction of the take of American kestrels to the fall season; no take of burrowing owls; take of raptors on right of ways; propagation; exhibition of raptors; release of raptors; establishment of electronic reporting of change in inventory, to replace the current paper reporting system. (68A-9.005)
      2. 68A-4.008 (1) Taking wildlife on roads and right of ways prohibited- This section would be modified to add the exception for take of raptors from roads and right of ways to the exemptions of the prohibitions listed. (68A-4.008)
      3. 68A-9.006 Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit – This section would be modified to allow General and Master class Falconers to be able to rehabilitate raptors.  It would also allow for the transfer of raptors from a rehabilitator to a general or  master class falconer. (68A-9.006)
    3. Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program Ordinance – Monroe County. Staff will present a review of a proposed ordinance regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields in Monroe County.  Commission approval is necessary before the ordinance can be enforced. (FS 327-4105) (Maps of Managed Anchoring Zones) (Maps of No-Anchoring Buffer Zones) (Monroe County Ordinance) (Presentation)
  6. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  7. Commissioner Exchange
  8. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, September 6, Reconvene

  9. Meeting Opening
    1. Call to Order
    2. Special Recognition
  10. Items Requiring Action
    1. Fishery Management Council Updates
      1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) – Staff will report on GMFMC actions from the August 20-23, 2012 meeting in New Orleans, LA.  Topics include: gray triggerfish, grouper seasons, dealer reporting, mackerel, and vermilion snapper. (Presentation)
      2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) – Staff will update the Commission on anticipated actions at the September 10-14, 2012, Council meeting in Charleston, SC. Topics include:  red snapper, Warsaw grouper, speckled hind, mackerel, cobia, Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, shrimp, and golden crab.(Presentation)
    2. Draft Rule
      1. Atlantic Black Sea Bass -The proposed rule amendment would modify recreational and commercial harvest regulations in the Atlantic Ocean to achieve consistency between the Commission’s black sea bass regulations and federal regulations in Atlantic federal waters.  Consistent regulations in state waters would contribute to the federal rebuilding plan and reduce the likelihood of catch exceeding federal annual catch limits.  The proposed rule would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows (Presentation)
        1. 68B-14.0035 Size Limits: Amberjacks, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper – The proposed rule amendment would set the minimum size limits for black sea bass harvested from the Atlantic Ocean recreationally at 13 inches total length and commercially at 11 inches total length.
        2. 68B-14.0036 Recreational Bag Limits: Snapper, Grouper, Hogfish, Black Sea Bass, Red Porgy, Amberjacks, Tilefish, Exception, Wholesale/Retail Purchase Exemption – The proposed rule amendment would reduce the recreational bag and possession limit for black sea bass for the Atlantic Ocean to five fish per person per day.
        3. 68B-14.0045 Commercial Harvest Requirements; Licenses, Season Closures, Bag and Trip Limits – The proposed rule would specify for a person to fish with black sea bass traps in the Atlantic Ocean, a valid federal South Atlantic black sea bass pot endorsement and a valid federal South Atlantic snapper grouper unlimited commercial permit must be issued to and possessed aboard the vessel.
        4. 68B-14.005 Regulation and Prohibition of Certain Harvesting Gear: Allowable Gear, Incidental Bycatch, Violation – The proposed rule amendment would specify that black sea bass traps fished in the Atlantic Ocean must have a tag issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service attached and shall only be used north of 28°35.1’N latitude.  Trap specifications would also be modified in the Atlantic Ocean to be consistent with those for Atlantic federal waters.  Additionally, this proposed rule amendment would require black sea bass traps fished in the Atlantic Ocean to be removed from the water at the end of each trip.
    3. Draft Rule (Presentation) (Draft Rule Language) (Presentation)
      1. Restricted Species Endorsement exemptions for Veterans – The draft rule amendment would create three exemptions to the Saltwater Products License Restricted Species Endorsement requirements aimed at assisting Florida’s veterans wishing to enter into the commercial fishing industry.
        1. 68B-2.006 Restricted Species License Exemption – Would be created to waive the income requirements to attain a Restricted Species fishing endorsement (RS) for one year for a resident military veteran who applies for a Saltwater Products License (SPL) and a RS within four years after an honorable discharge.  The draft rule would also provide a one year waiver of the income requirement for all resident military veterans honorably discharged or retired between September 11, 2001, and June 30, 2013, who apply for and SPL and an RS between the implementation of the rule and June 30, 2014.  The draft rule would also waive the income requirement to acquire an RS for any honorably discharged military veteran with disabilities.  In all subsequent years, the disabled veteran with disabilities would only be required to provide proof of $2,500 in income from saltwater products instead of the current requirement of $5,000.  Additionally, these veterans would be eligible for the one-time waiver of the income requirement in any year following their honorable discharge.
      2. Staff is requesting approval to notice this draft rule and file as soon as possible.  If approved for advertisement and filing, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes with no additional public hearings.
  11. Staff Reports
    1. FWC Strategic Plan – Report (Presentation)
  12. Budget Items Requiring Action (Presentation) (Overview & Session Timeline) (Status of Trust Funds)
    1. Potential Reductions for 2013 Session of the Florida Legislature - Staff will present a proposed list of potential budget reductions. (Reductions History) (Potential Reductions)
    2. New Budget Issues for 2013 Session of the Florida Legislature - Staff will present a proposed list of budget issues for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Legislative Budget Request. (New Budget  Issues)
  13. Legislative Proposals Requiring Action (Presentation)
    1. Legislative Proposals for 2013 Session - Staff will present issues to submit to the Legislature and Governor during the 2013 Session that would modify Florida law dealing with fish and wildlife issues. (Proposal Summaries) (Recreational License Exemption) (Commercial Fishing License Exemption) (Free Fishing Days) (License Residency Requirements) (Wildlife Alert) (Federal Boating Law Reference)
  14. Staff Report - Update on Tarpon, Gamefish and Sportfish Designation. (Presentation)
  15. Public Comments on Items Not on the Agenda
  16. Commissioner Exchange
  17. Commission Administrative Matters
    1. The Next Regular Commission meeting is scheduled December 5-6, 2012 in Apalachicola at the Franklin County Courthouse, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.
  18. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Final Rule, Marine Life – Industry reports and commercial landings data indicate a substantial decline in the giant Caribbean ("pink-tipped") sea anemone population.  This decline prompted the commercial marine life industry to request a temporary closure of the fishery for this species.  The proposed final rule would prohibit harvest of the giant anemones for three years, to allow the population to rebuild.  Staff will reevaluate the status of the population prior to reopening harvest.  The proposed final rule also includes a series of other minor changes that will clarify the intent of several aspects of the marine life rule. (Presentation) (Proposed Rule)
    1. 68B-42.001, Purpose and Intent; Designation of Restricted Species; Definition of "Marine Life Species" – The proposed final rule would remove the unicorn filefish (Aluterus monoceros), sand perch (Diplectrum formosum) and dwarf sand perch (Diplectrum bivittatum) from the definition of marine life.  This rule section would also be amended to change the definition of snapping shrimp to include all species in the family Alpheidae.
    2. 68B-42.002 Definitions – The proposed final rule would clarify that reef-building (Seballarid) tube worms are included in the definition of live rock.
    3. 68B-42.004 Size Limits – The proposed final rule would clarify that the current size limits for angelfishes extend to any hybrid forms of the listed species and that the size limits for angelfishes and butterfly fishes apply to all harvesters.
    4. 68B-42.005 Recreational Bag Limit – The proposed final rule would implement a recreational bag limit of zero for the giant anemone.
    5. 68B-42.006 Commercial Season, Harvest Limits – The proposed final rule would reduce the commercial harvest and possession limits for giant anemones to zero.
    6. 68B-42.009 Prohibition on the Taking, Destruction, or Sale of Marine Corals Sea Fans, and Non-erect, Encrusting Octocorals; Exception – The proposed final rule would extend the prohibitions already in place for other stony corals to black corals.
  2. Draft Rule, Permit and Florida Pompano – In June 2011, the Commission approved a series of modifications to the Permit, Florida Pompano, and African Pompano rule.  Technical problems have since been discovered with the new rule language due to the multiple iterations.  This draft rule would implement the direction and intent of the Commission from the June 2011 hearing by correcting these errors. (Permit Draft Rule) (Presentation)
    1. 68B-35.003 Size Limits; Prohibition of Sale; Landing in Whole Condition – The proposed draft rule would eliminate the exception to the permit size limit within the Special Permit Zone (SPZ) for permit harvested commercially as bycatch in the Pompano Endorsement Zone (PEZ).  This exception is unnecessary because Pompano endorsement holders are already required to transport and land their pompano catch within the latitudes defining the boundaries of the PEZ.
    2. 68B-35.0035 Bag Limits – The proposed draft rule would eliminate the exceptions to the prohibitions on possession of permit by commercial vessels within the SPZ.  This section would also be amended to include the Florida pompano sale provision moved from the Pompano Endorsement Regulations section, as described below in 68B-35.005.
    3. 68B-35.004 Gear Specifications and Prohibited Gear – The proposed draft rule would clarify that the allowance for incidental commercial bycatch of permit using a gill net applies in federal waters only.
    4. 68B-35.005 Pompano Endorsement Regulations - The sale provision currently found in the pompano endorsement rule limits the sale of Florida pompano by pompano endorsement holders to 250 pompano per day.  This provision was intended to apply to everyone except pompano endorsement holders.  Pompano endorsement holders harvesting within the PEZ do not have a daily harvest limit and therefore should be allowed to sell their entire catch daily. The proposed draft rule would move the sale provision from its current location to the Bag Limits section and apply the daily sale limitation of 250 Florida pompano to all commercial harvesters except those who are fishing in the PEZ under a pompano endorsement.
    5. 68B-35.006 Closed Season – The proposed draft rule would eliminate the exception to the permit closed season within the SPZ.

    Staff is requesting approval to notice this draft rule and file as soon as possible.  If approved for advertisement and filing, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes with no additional public hearings.

  3. 68D-24.164 FAC, Volusia County Boating Restricted Areas
    The Commission approved a new boating restricted area at its February 2012 meeting.  Staff is requesting approval to file a Notice of Change to the Notice of Proposed Rule that was filed on April 20, 2012.  The Notice of Change is necessary to correct a scrivener’s error on “Drawing A” of the Rule, which depicted the northern boundary of the Highbridge Road Boating Safety Zone approximately 100 feet shorter than described in the rule text. (Volusia County Boating Restricted Areas) (68D-24.164)
  4. Report on anticipated late season migratory bird hunting regulations for 2012-2013.  This includes hunting seasons and bag limits for ducks, geese, and coots. (Anticipated Changes to Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons, 2012-2013)