Saltwater Public Comments
The following topics are either tentatively slated to be brought before the Commission in the near future or items FWC staff plan to begin working on.
This is not an all-encompassing list and topics may be moved to a later date or not discussed at all.
Visit the Commission meeting agenda page to see what FWC staff will be presenting to the Commission at an upcoming meeting.
Future Commission Meeting Topics
The Commission will discuss a draft proposal to seasonally protect a multi-species spawning aggregation site in the lower Florida Keys. The proposed draft rule would prohibit fishing from May through June in a 1-square-mile area near Western Dry Rocks. Comment on this proposal below.
Red Tide: Snook, redfish, and spotted seatrout catch-and-release measures in Southwest Florida
At the February 2021 Commission meeting, staff will update the Commission on snook, redfish, and spotted seatrout in southwest Florida, which were temporarily made catch-and-release only in response to the prolonged 2017-2019 red tide event. The current catch-and-release measures are in effect through May 2021. FWC monitoring indicates the 2017-2019 red tide event did not cause long-term negative effects to snook, redfish, and spotted seatrout in southwest Florida. When available, background information can be found on the Commission meeting webpage https://myfwc.com/about/commission/commission-meetings/february-2021/. Comment on this topic below.
The FWC will be reviewing several trap fisheries in the upcoming year including spiny lobster, blue crab, pinfish/baitfish, trap retrieval, recreational trap fisheries, and traps used for shellfish aquaculture leases.
Staff has been hearing concerns about the status of various fisheries in Charlotte Harbor and is gathering feedback on the fisheries in that area.
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) coordinates management of spot and croaker along the Atlantic coast through an interstate fishery management plan. Population trends indicate potential cause for concern for these species and the Commission may consider modifying regulations.
Blue Crab Trap Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs)
Diamondback terrapins are considered a Species of Greatest Concern in Florida. They live in brackish coastal ecosystems, commonly inhabiting salt marsh and mangrove habitats. Because diamondback terrapins and blue crabs share similar habitat and diets, terrapins can be incidentally caught in blue crab traps. Staff is working on a holistic management approach for terrapins to address potential threats to this species, including regulation changes, outreach and education, and habitat restoration.
At its December meeting, the Commission approved draft proposals to prohibit the take and possession of diamondback terrapins and require the use of bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) in blue crab traps. They also directed staff to continue looking into the draft proposals before the Commission considers approval of final rules, including further exploring the potential impacts requiring BRDs may have on the blue crab industry.
Staff is continuing to gather public input on BRDs and potential impacts to the blue crab industry before returning to a future FWC Commission meeting for a final hearing.