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 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 Commission meeting, staff will present a draft rule proposal for a limited, highly regulated harvest of goliath. 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.
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 October 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 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; and the catch-and-release measures for redfish, snook, and spotted seatrout in effect for Tampa Bay via Executive Order through Oct. 11, 2021. 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 will provide 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 will also seek Commissioner input on the current catch-and-release measures for Tampa Bay.
- 2021 Redfish Summit I
- 2020 Redfish Stock Assessment
- Upcoming redfish workshops
- October 2021 Commission meeting agenda
- Tampa Bay catch-and-release Executive Order
Comment on this item below using the commenting form.
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.