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
FWC’s management of goliath grouper recognizes fish’s role in the ecosystem and allows stakeholder access to goliath while also promoting continued population rebuilding. Currently, access is provided to anglers through catch-and-release fishing, sightseeing opportunities for recreational divers, and dive ecotourism. The Commission is considering also allowing a limited harvest of goliath grouper in state waters.
Comment on this item below using the commenting form.
The spot and Atlantic croaker fisheries are managed cooperatively in state waters of the U.S. Atlantic coast by 15 states, including Florida, through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. This includes management measures by individual states when data indicate conservation measures are warranted. At the August Commission meeting, staff will propose rules that would apply in Atlantic state waters (Florida-Georgia border through Miami-Dade County) and establish the following conservation measures:
- Recreational bag limits of 50 fish per person for each species
- Commercial vessel limits
- Spot: 2,200 pounds
- Atlantic croaker: 1,200 pounds
Staff have heard concerns in recent years about the status of dolphinfish in Florida, particularly from south Florida and the Florida Keys, and is gathering feedback on this fishery throughout Florida waters in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Staff is seeking feedback on potential management measures to address these concerns including reduced bag limits and vessel limits for dolphinfish in Florida state waters. 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.
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.
The FWC is hosting a day-long public discussion about redfish research and management in Florida Aug. 24 in Ocala.
Registration opens July 26, and space will be limited.