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Saltwater Public Comments

The FWC welcomes comments on any species, even those not featured on this page, at any time via the comment form below, email at Marine@MyFWC.com or phone at 850-487-0554.

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.

Public Workshops

Share your input in person by attending a public workshop.

Future Commission Meeting Topics

FWC’s management philosophy of goliath grouper recognizes the role of goliath in the ecosystem and allows stakeholder access to goliath while also promoting continued population rebuilding.  Currently, access is provided through catch-and-release fishing and dive viewing, but an increase in abundance of goliath in Florida presents an additional access opportunity that would not impact rebuilding efforts.  At the October meeting, the Commission approved a draft rule proposal for a limited, highly regulated harvest of goliath. This proposal will come back to a future Commission meeting for final consideration. This proposal includes a special opportunity for harvest through a lottery draw, while enacting area and seasonal closures, size and gear restrictions, and post-harvest requirements. The proposed limited harvest would allow users additional access opportunities to this species and provide researchers with needed biological data, while allowing the population to continue to rebuild and excluding harvest from areas of heavy dive ecotourism.  For more detailed information on the proposed draft rules, see October Commission meeting agenda and documents.

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Staff is seeking feedback on potential recreational management measures for dolphinfish in Atlantic state waters.  In recent years, private recreational and for-hire fishermen have raised concerns about the declines in size and abundance of dolphinfish in south Florida, and recently, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council reduced the recreational vessel limit from 60 to 54 fish.  The Commission has expressed interest in taking a proactive management approach and could consider reducing the recreational vessel limit and possibly modifying the bag limit in Atlantic state waters.  Staff is seeking feedback on reducing dolphinfish recreational limits, including reducing the vessel limit from 60 to 30 fish for private recreational and charter operations, and expanding this vessel limit to headboat operations. Comment on this topic below.

FWC is seeking angler input on the redfish fishery; anglers’ desires for the redfish fishery, including regulation changes.  Although an updated stock assessment indicates redfish are exceeding FWC’s management goal in most of the state, staff continue to hear localized concerns from anglers.  FWC began gathering public input on this fishery at the inaugural Redfish Summit in August 2021 and provided this feedback to Commissioners at the October Commission meeting, as well as outline a plan for continuing to gather public input, including at public workshops in October 2021. Staff also sought Commissioner input on the current catch-and-release measures for Tampa Bay.

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FWC seeks feedback on the following potential management measures for shrimp:    

  • In the Big Bend, nearshore waters closest to land have been closed to all shrimp harvest since 1993 when the area was designated as a shrimp nursery. Recreational harvesters have requested to harvest shrimp in this area.  Allowing recreational harvest of two gallons per person and five gallons per vessel in this area with cast and dip nets would create additional access to the shrimp fishery and is not expected to negatively impact the shrimp resource or seagrass habitat.
  • The production of high-quality frozen shrimp for the seafood market begins with at-sea shrimping. The Individual Quick Freeze (IQF) process is the industry standard for producing a superior shrimp product; however, FWC’s rule inhibits shrimpers in state waters from preparing shrimp for this process.  This is because the rule’s “brine box” definition prohibits the possession of any high-salinity tank, and the IQF method involves placing sorted and bagged shrimp in a high-salinity freezer tank for quick freezing before going into onboard cold storage.  Allowing the possession and use of a high-salinity freezer tank for the IQF process would align FWC rules with industry standards.
  • Over time, regulations can become inaccurate for a variety of reasons, such as boundaries losing physical references, changes to license names, and omitted or imprecise definitions. Changes are needed to clarify the boundary for the commercial food shrimp harvest closed area in Santa Rosa Sound.  Also, correcting the “Live Bait Shrimp License” name and updating a definition referring to that license, as well as adding a definition of “inland waters” will clarify regulations while also being consistent with Florida Statutes.

Comment on this item below using the commenting form. 

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.

Other topics

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. 

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