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June, 2014 Commission Meeting

Time: 1:00 pm on June, 17, 8:30 am each day thereafter
Dates: June 17 - 19, 2014
Place: Crowne Plaza
13051 Bell Tower Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33907

This meeting is open to the public

All interested individuals may speak at workshops or meetings of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) within the guidelines established by the Commission.  To ensure the public's opportunity to be heard and the orderly conduct of the meeting, the Chairman reserves the right to establish a time for adjournment of the workshop or meeting, to limit the time for speakers, and to limit the time allotted for specific agenda items.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting should notify the agency at least five calendar days before the meeting by calling 850-488-6411.  Contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice) if you are hearing or speech impaired.

Agenda items listed under headings other than “Items Requiring Action” may be re-ordered or moved by the Chairman to different days of the meeting to accommodate scheduling issues.

The meeting may include fact-finding field trips to Commission-managed areas or facilities; or to other areas to learn about management, and enforcement activities.

Typically, the Chairman may ask staff and the public to work through lunch on either day.  Please plan accordingly.

If any person decides to challenge any decision with respect to any matter considered at the meeting, he or she may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which includes testimony and evidence upon which the challenge is based.

Agenda

1:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 17

  1. Meeting Opening
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Chairman's Report
  3. Commissioner Strategic Discussion – Conservation Approaches on Private Lands
    Commissioners will hear presentations and have a discussion on current and future fish and wildlife opportunities associated with private lands in Florida. The presentations and discussion will also include insights on the keys to successful public-private conservation partnerships. SW Presentation | Presentation
  4. Commissioner Strategic Discussion – Innovative Approaches to Marine Fisheries Management Presentation
    Commissioners will hear presentations and have a discussion on innovative approaches to marine fisheries management and streamlining regulations. The presentations and discussion will include state and federal management in Florida and nationwide.
  5. Public Comment
  6. Commissioner Exchange
  7. Recess Tuesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 18, Reconvene

  8. Meeting Opening and Recognitions
    1. Call to Order
    2. Chairman Rodney Barreto FWC Employee of the Year Award
    3. Florida Guides Association Annual Recognition Awards
      1. Trained Eyes Coastwatcher Officer of the Year Award
      2. Captain Phil Chapman Conservation Award
      3. FGA/FWC Spirit of Tarpon DNA Sampling Challenge
  9. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve April 15-17, 2014 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda
  10. Executive Director’s Report
  11. Items Requiring Action - Marine Fisheries
    1. Final Rules
      1. Gulf Reef Fish Data Reporting System – Staff will present a final rule for recreational reef fish data collection that would better define the population of offshore reef fish anglers for survey purposes using a data reporting system.  These improvements would enhance current recreational harvest data collection efforts for Florida’s reef fish species, including red snapper.  Staff will also present proposed outreach strategies and potential incentives. Presentation
        1. 68B-14.002 Definitions – The definition of recreational harvester would be removed from this rule.
        2. 68B-14.009 Reporting Requirements (NEW) – A new rule would be created that would require recreational harvesters to report their intention to harvest or attempt to harvest certain reef fish species in the upcoming year. Persons under 16 years of age, fishing from a for-hire vessel, or fishing from a vessel with a valid saltwater recreational vessel license would be exempt from reporting requirements. FWC employees harvesting for FWC business and any person otherwise authorized or permitted by the FWC to harvest for educational or scientific purposes would also be exempt. The Gulf Reef Fish Data Reporting System would be effective starting April 1, 2015, and would sunset on June 30, 2020, unless otherwise renewed by the Commission.
      2. Lionfish - The proposed final rules would create an exception to the current prohibition on the use of rebreathers when harvesting marine species to allow persons using rebreathers to harvest lionfish.  The proposed final rules would also allow the FWC Executive Director or his designee to issue permits to tournaments or other approved events for the use of spearing gears to harvest lionfish or other non-native invasive species from areas where spearfishing is otherwise prohibited.  In addition, the proposed final rules would prohibit further importation of live lionfish. Final Public Hearing Presentation | 68-5.005
        1. 68B-4.012 Diving: Powerheads and Rebreathers, Use to Harvest Fish in State Waters Prohibited; Definition; Spearfishing Marine Species in Freshwater Prohibited – The proposed rule would allow persons diving by means of a rebreather to harvest lionfish from state waters.
        2. 68B-5.006 Lionfish – The proposed amendment would eliminate the language in this rule that references the prohibition on use of rebreathers in 68B-4.012. The proposed rule would also reference the new prohibitions on importation of live lionfish and lionfish aquaculture that would be detailed 68-5.
        3. 68B-20.003 Spearing, Statewide Regulation; Prohibition Against Powerheads, Bangsticks, and Rebreathers; Repeal of Certain Special Acts – The proposed amendment would create a reference to the new rule proposed below that allows for an exception to statewide spearing prohibitions.
        4. 68B-20.004 Exception to Statewide Spearing Prohibitions (NEW) – The proposed rule would allow the Executive Director or his designee to issue permits to tournaments or other approved organized events that would allow the use of spearfishing gears for the harvest of lionfish or other non-native invasive species in areas where spearing is otherwise prohibited by Florida Statutes or FWC rule.
        5. 68-5.005 Lionfish (NEW) – The proposed rule would prohibit the importation of live lionfish and prohibit sale of illegally imported live lionfish.

          NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission direction to temporarily withdraw (until later this fall) the advertised portion of the proposal that would have prohibited lionfish aquaculture, in order to allow FDACS time to implement the appropriate aquaculture-related rules.  Staff is requesting Commission approval to publish Notices of Change that reflect the withdrawal of the aquaculture proposal and minor modifications to the previously advertised rule language related to other portions of this proposal
    2. Draft Rules
      1. Eliminate Special Acts – The proposed draft rules would repeal the Special Acts of Local Application (Special Acts) for Gilchrist, Indian River, and Manatee Counties. As part of a comprehensive review of the saltwater fishing regulations, staff is evaluating all Special Acts to determine which ones are still necessary. The proposed draft rules will repeal a series of outdated or redundant saltwater fishing regulations, allowing more current statewide regulations to apply in their place. Staff will also discuss the potential future repeal of a Volusia County Special Act which is still found in the Laws of Florida, under Legislative authority. These changes will clarify and streamline existing marine fisheries regulations and improve enforceability and public understanding. Special Acts Repeal Presentation | Special Acts Draft Rule language
        1. 68B-3.003 Repeal of Chapter 21254, Gilchrist County Special Acts (NEW) – The Special Act allows the year round sale of saltwater fish in Gilchrist County, provided the seller is properly licensed. The proposed repeal will have no effect on fishing regulations because the provisions of this chapter are provided for elsewhere in Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative.
        2. 68B-3.004 Repeal of Chapters 21305, 77-572, and 79-480, Indian River County Special Acts (NEW) – Chapter 21305 prohibits the use of nets and limits the type of gear that can be used to take fish in the Indian River channel or its banks. Chapter 77-572 limits the type of fishing gear that can be used to take fish near the bridges of the Indian River and Sebastian Inlet and the canals of Indian River County. It also prohibits throwing cast nets from most Indian River County bridges. Chapter 79-480 prohibits shellfish harvest on submerged lands within 75 feet of the shore, with allowances for shellfish harvest on privately owned submerged lands or docks. These acts are either duplicative or contrary to more current statewide regulations. Thus, their repeal will create greater consistency in Florida fishing regulations by allowing existing statewide fishing gear regulations and regulations on oyster harvest to apply throughout Indian River County.
        3. 68B-3.005 Repeal of Chapters 19961, 26000, 27697, 61-2452, 63-1585, 67-1685, 67-1883, Manatee County Special Acts (NEW) – Chapter 19961 prohibits most net fishing near municipalities in Manatee County; while Chapter 26000 prohibits the use of certain nets on the inside salt waters of Manatee County. Certain inland waters of Manatee County are closed to haul seines while all others are opened to this gear by Chapter 27697. Chapter 61-2452 closes the interior waters of Anna Maria Island to stop-net, haul net and gillnet fishing. Chapter 63-1585 closes certain inland waters of the Manatee River to commercial fishing and prohibits fishing with or possessing traps in these waters. It also sets an aggregate bag limit for saltwater fish on these waters. Chapter 67-1685 makes similar provisions for certain saltwater canals in Manatee County. Finally, Chapter 67-1883 declares certain waters of the City of Palmetto as saltwater and prohibits the use of nets in them. The provisions of these Manatee County Special Acts are addressed elsewhere in the Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes, and the Florida Administrative Code, and their repeal will further streamline and standardize statewide fishing regulations.
          NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendment and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendment is approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.
      2. Restricted Species Endorsement – The restricted species endorsement (RS) is an endorsement that allows a saltwater products license (SPL) holder to harvest commercial quantities of saltwater species designated as restricted species and to sell them. The RS is a no-cost endorsement issued to SPL holders who either meet certain income requirements associated with sale of saltwater products or qualify for one of the exceptions detailed in Florida Statutes (F.S.). The RS was created to protect the professionalism of Florida’s commercial fishery and prevent recreational harvesters from purchasing an SPL for recreational use.

        The proposed draft rule would move RS qualifying requirements from F.S. to FWC so that, in the future, the FWC could be more responsive to industry requests for modifications and address staff-identified needs for updates and clarifications in a timelier manner.  Once the RS requirements are established in rule, staff will recommend working with the Legislature to repeal the related statutes and working with the commercial fishing industry to address appropriate changes to the qualification criteria.
        68B-2.006 Restricted Species Endorsement- The proposed rule would bring the Statutory language addressing RS qualification requirements and other aspects of the RS program into FWC rules. Draft Rule Presentation | Draft Rule Language

        NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendment and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendment is approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

      3. Southwest Region and Lake Okeechobee Haul Seine Permits - Permits for commercial use of haul seines in freshwater lakes in the Southwest Region and Lake Okeechobee are limited in number and very carefully regulated. When permits become available, commercial fishers on a waiting list are contacted and given the opportunity to be issued a permit. These haul seine permits are not transferable. Many permitted operations are family businesses and when a permit holder dies or becomes permanently disabled, the family business could lose the ability to operate the haul seine. In the event of death or disability of a person in certain commercial marine fisheries, the endorsement/permit may be transferred by the person or the executor of the estate to a member of his or her immediate family. Staff is proposing to give freshwater commercial permit holders’ families the same opportunity. Additional changes are also being proposed to reduce the number of days that haul seine permit holders are required to fish on Lake Okeechobee and to clarify requirements that new permit recipients must meet. Both rules need technical updates to correct form names and references. Rule Revisions Presentation | Haul Seine Permit Application South Region | Haul Seine Permit Application Southwest Region | 68A-23.001 | 68A-23.003 | 68A-23.012
        1. 68A-23.003 Commercial Fishing Devices; Provisions for Use in Certain Waters - The proposed draft rule amendment would create provisions to allow for the transfer of a haul seine permit to a member of the permit holder’s immediate family in the event of death or permanent disability and update form names and references.
        2. 68A-23.012 Special Regulations on Lake Okeechobee – The proposed draft rule amendment would create provisions to allow for the transfer of a haul seine permit to a member of the permit holder’s immediate family in the event of death or permanent disability, clarify new permit recipient requirements and update form names and references.
        3. 68A-23.001 Definitions (NEW) – The proposed draft rule would define “immediate family member”.


          NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendments and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendments are approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

  12. Staff Reports
    1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) – Staff will report on GMFMC actions anticipated for the upcoming GMFMC meeting on June 23-27 in Key West. Topic to include red snapper management. Council Report
    2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) – Staff will report on SAFMC actions from their June 9-13 meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach. Topics include: various snapper grouper species, dolphin, wahoo, and mackerel. South Atlantic Report Presentation
    3. Panther Update – Staff will provide information on the Florida Panther Recovery Implementation Team, and updates on current panther research and management activities. Presentation
    4. Programs of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute – Commissioners will receive an update of major scientific research programs at FWRI with an emphasis on the integration of research and management activities within FWC. FWRI Overview Presentation
  13. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  14. Commissioner Exchange
  15. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Thursday, June 19, Reconvene

  16. Meeting Opening and Recognitions
    1. Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year Award
    2. FWC Contribution to AFWA State Grants Program for North American Wetlands Conservation Act
  17. Commission Discussion Item
    Status of Everglades Issues – Commissioners will receive an update from staff on current activities and issues associated with Everglades Restoration. The update will also include progress made toward development of a high water action plan to avert wildlife and habitat impacts during extreme high water events. Agenda Item
  18. Items Requiring Action

    1. Amendments to Alligator Rules - The proposed final rules would amend the Commission’s rules relating to fur and hide dealers, taking, possession and sale of alligators and collection of alligator eggs and hatchlings.
      68A-24.004 Fur and Hide Dealers: Operations, Reporting Requirements - The proposed final rule would incorporate provisions of s. 379.364, F.S., regarding the reporting, record keeping and shipping requirements of alligator hides and skins of fur-bearing animals.
      68A-25.002 General Provisions for Taking, Possession and Sale of Reptiles - The proposed final rule would incorporate a provision of s. 379.3751, F.S., regarding the number of participants engaged in the taking of alligators and eggs from the wild and would clarify the prohibition of crocodilian products manufactured in the form of a crocodilian less than three feet in length.
      68A-25.003 Taking and Disposal of Nuisance Alligators Statewide - The proposed final rule would incorporate provisions of s. 379.3752, F.S., committing to expenditures on alligator marketing and education activities for alligators taken under this rule and would remove the reference to license requirements.
      68A-25.004 Taking and Disposal of Nuisance Alligators Statewide- The proposed final rule would clarify the fencing and minimum space requirements for alligators on permitted alligator farms.
      68A-25.031 Regulations Governing Alligator Egg and Hatchling Collections on Lands Not Included in Alligator Management Programs - The proposed final rule would incorporate provisions of s. 379.3751, F.S., committing to expenditures on alligator marketing and education activities for alligator eggs taken under this rule.
      68A-25.032 Regulations Governing the Establishment of Alligator Management Programs - The proposed final rule would incorporate provisions of s. 379.3752, F.S., committing to expenditures on alligator marketing and education activities for alligators taken under this rule.
      68A-25.042 Regulations Governing Statewide Alligator Trapping, Permitting, Taking and Sale - The proposed final rule would provide for capture and release of alligators taken under this rule when captured using a hand held snare or snatch hook and extend the legal hunting hours each day during the established season from 5 p.m. through 10 a.m. to 24 hours.
      Final Rule Presentation
      | 68A-24.004 | 68A-25.002 | 68A-25.003 | 68A-25.004 | 68A-25.031 | 68A-25.032 | 68A-25.042
    2. Draft Rules
      (1) 68A-15.063 Specific Regulations for Wildlife Management Areas – Northwest Region. Blackwater WMA - The proposed rule would require that all dogs used to pursue or take deer, fox or coyote must be equipped and monitored with electronic tracking and control devices in that portion of the dog hunt area east of Belandville Road. Presentation | Presentation Version 2 | 68A-15.063

      (2) 68A-15.064 Specific Regulations for Wildlife Management Areas – South Region.  Big Cypress WMA - Staff will propose a rule to implement the Hunting Management Plan for the Addition Lands. Presentation68A-15.064

  19. Other Items Requiring Action
    Establishment of Critical Wildlife Area, Martin County Spoil Island #2 – Staff will present a proposal to consider the establishment of a new Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) around a two-acre spoil island in the Indian River Lagoon in Martin County. The island, called MC-2 but known locally as “Bird Island”, is an important rookery for 18 species of birds. Staff will request authorization to establish the area through an Executive Order and implement two closure zones within the area. If approved, the CWA would be established as soon as possible. The enforcement of the closure zones would be implemented following installation of appropriate signage. Establishment Order | Area Proposal Presentation
  20. Budget Workshop
    Staff will provide an overview of the budgetary framework of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with a status report of revenue sources, trust fund balances, and the annual operating budget. Staff will request direction on the FY 15/16 Legislative Budget Request. Presentation | Budget Request
  21. Staff Reports
    1. Legislative Overview - Session Report
    2. General Counsel’s Report
  22. Future Agenda Items
  23. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  24. Commission Elections
  25. Commissioner Exchange
  26. Commission Administrative Matters
    The Next Regular Commission meeting is scheduled September 10-11, 2014 in Kissimmee, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.
  27. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Early Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons – Review and approval of anticipated early season migratory bird hunting regulations for 2014-2015.  This includes hunting season and bag limits for dove, rail, gallinule, woodcock, Canada geese and special September duck seasons. Draft Rule
  2. Reef Fish Commercial Fishing Years – The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council recently approved changes to commercial fishing years for greater amberjack and black sea bass.  The Commission’s reef fish rule includes commercial “seasons” that were originally implemented to match the federal commercial fishing years for reef fish, including greater amberjack and black sea bass.  However, these commercial “seasons” in the reef fish rule are not necessary because state and federal rules already require commercial reef fish harvesters to follow federal waters closures and seasons when fishing in adjacent state waters.  The commercial seasons (fishing years) in the reef fish rule may also be confusing to the public when they conflict with seasonal and quota closures.  The proposed draft rule is a technical change that would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows: Draft Rule
    1. 68B-14.0045 Commercial Harvest Requirements; Licenses, Season Closures, Bag and Trip Limits– Commercial fishing seasons (fishing years) for reef fish and black sea bass would be removed. Draft Rule

NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendment and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendment is approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.



FWC Facts:
The spatulate bill of the roseate spoonbill has sensitive nerve endings that help it detect prey, and the shape helps the bird move sediment and catch the prey.

Learn More at AskFWC