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
Red Tide: Snook, redfish, and spotted seatrout catch-and-release measures in Southwest Florida
A prolonged red tide event occurred from November 2017 through February 2019, negatively affecting fish populations in southwest Florida. In response, FWC took short-term conservation measures making snook, redfish, and spotted seatrout catch-and-release only in a portion of southwest Florida. The current catch-and-release executive order (EO) is in effect through May 31, 2021.
The Commission wants public input on how to manage snook, redfish, and spotted seatrout after the EO expires. Staff will provide this feedback to the Commission at the May 2021 FWC meeting. Comment on this topic below.
Staff will provide a review and discussion of goliath grouper, including biology, updates on ongoing research, and stakeholder opinions. Staff will seek Commission approval on next steps for goliath management in state waters, including whether to prepare a draft rule for limited harvest.
Comment on this item below using the commenting form.
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.
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.