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November, 2014 Commission Meeting

Time: 8:30am
Dates: November 20 - 21, 2014
Place: Hilton Key Largo Resort 97000 Overseas Highway Key Largo, Florida 33037

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.


8:30 a.m., Thursday, November 20

  1. Meeting Opening and Recognitions
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve September 2014 Commission Meeting Minutes
    2. Approve Regular Meeting Agenda
    3. Approve Consent Agenda – Any item not approved as part of the consent agenda may be moved to the regular meeting agenda and would be considered prior to the open public comment section.
  3. Executive Reports
    1. Executive Director’s Report
    2. Chairman’s Report
  4. Council Reports
    1. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions taken by the GMFMC at its October 20-24 meeting in Mobile, AL.

      Staff anticipates that Commission direction may be needed on Red Snapper sector separation and or regional management.

    2. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report – Staff will report on actions taken by the SAFMC at its September 15-19 meeting in Charleston, SC.  Topics include: various snapper grouper species, dolphin, wahoo, and mackerel.
  5. Federal Consistency

    Final Rule – Gulf Red Grouper – adoption of a Federal Standard.  The proposed rule amendment would achieve consistency between recreational red grouper rules in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico and anticipated rules for Gulf federal waters.  The proposed rule modifications will be provided after the GMFMC takes final action on Gulf red grouper regulations at its October 20-24 meeting.

  6. Marine Habitat Management in the Florida Keys
    1. Coral Listing under ESA.  Staff will provide an overview of recent federal action to list five coral species native to Florida as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
    2. Status of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulatory Review.  Sanctuary Superintendent Sean Morton will provide an overview of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulatory Review process, including a status update and timeline for completion of the process.
  7. Staff Reports
    1. Spiny Lobster Commercial Dive Endorsement – The moratorium on issuing new spiny lobster commercial dive (CD) endorsements is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2015.  Staff will review the history of this endorsement program and provide an overview of considerations for possibly continuing the moratorium on new endorsements and/or allowing for transfer of the endorsement.  Staff will also provide a brief summary of some other closely related commercial lobster issues, including casitas, which may require Commission consideration in the near future.
    2. Barracuda – Staff will present a summary of stakeholder concerns about the status of the great barracuda population in South Florida and provide an overview of the information available to evaluate those concerns.  Staff will also provide series of potential barracuda management options for Commission discussion.
    3. Rebreathers – Staff will provide a historical review of the prohibition on harvesting marine species while diving with mixed gas rebreathers and present a variety of considerations related to whether or not the prohibition is still appropriate for state waters off Florida.
  8. Item Requiring Action

    Draft Rule 68C-22.016 Pinellas County Manatee Protection – Review and discussion of staff recommendations for proposed amendments to establish state manatee protection zones in portions of western Pinellas County.

  9. Strategic Discussion – Conflict Wildlife Marine Issues

    One of the Commission’s current strategic initiatives associated with the Agency Strategic Plan includes managing wildlife conflict.  Staff is focused on advancing the Commission’s goal of reducing wildlife conflict and conserving native species and habitats.  Staff will present updates on two marine species of interest.  The first presentation will be on lionfish and will consist of an update of recent and ongoing outreach and education efforts being used to raise public awareness about lionfish and their impacts on Florida’s marine fisheries.  The presentation will also include a summary of potential future regulatory and outreach measures that could further encourage public participation in lionfish control.  The second presentation will be on the American crocodile.  Staff will present an update on population status and outline FWC’s approach to managing human interactions with this species.  The presentation will also include a summary of ongoing outreach and education efforts and proposed future measures.

  10. Partner Recognition – Florida Youth Conservation Center Network (FYCCN)

    Florida Keys Community College has agreed to partner with the FYCCN and offer our Summer Youth Camp programming at the Key West campus in 2015.   This unique partnership is the first of its kind and we hope it will open the door to the rest of the State University System.

  11. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  12. Commissioner Exchange
  13. Recess Thursday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Friday, November 21, Reconvene

  14. Call to Order
  15. Items Requiring Action
    1. Draft Rules
      1. Proposed Rule Changes for Hunting 2015-2016 – The proposed rules would revise specific area regulations on Commission managed hunting and freshwater fishing areas and amend or clarify rules to better manage hunting, fishing and public use.  A complete list of the proposed rules can be viewed in background materials for this item.
      2. Deer Management Units within Zones A, B, and C – The proposed rule changes would establish specific regulations for deer management units within Zones A, B, and C to better manage deer on a local level to meet the needs and desires of the public.  A complete list of the rules can be viewed in background materials for this item.
    2. Legislative Issues

      The proposals to be presented for consideration for the 2016 Legislative Session include: Modification of penalties for violating wildlife and freshwater fish feeding regulations; Update of alligator statutes and modifications to alligator licenses; and Creation of reduced cost Sportsman’s License for hunting and saltwater fishing for individuals 64 years old and older.

  16. Staff Report

    General Counsel Report

  17. Future Agenda Items
  18. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  19. Commissioner Exchange
  20. Commission Administrative Matters

    The next Regular Commission Meeting is scheduled for February 4 - 5, 2015, in Jacksonville, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

  21. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. 68A-12.002 General Methods of Taking Game; Prohibitions – Staff presented this draft rule at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The proposed final rule would remove the prohibition on the use of noise-suppressed (i.e., silencer-equipped) rifles and pistols for taking deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail, and crows.
  2. 68A-25.032 Regulations Governing the Establishment of Alligator Management Programs – Staff presented this draft rule at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The proposed final rule amendment would modify the Private Lands Alligator Management Program Application form to require that the landowner/landowner’s representative signature be notarized.
  3. Wildlife Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Agriculture – Staff presented a proposed rule change to Florida Administrative Code Rule 68A-27.007 Permits and Authorizations for the Take of Florida Endangered and Threatened Species at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  Paragraph 68A-27.007(2)(d) requires that Commission staff work cooperatively with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, landowners, and other stakeholders to legislatively authorize, develop, and adopt BMPs to protect wildlife species by November 2014.  Following publication of the proposed amendments authorized by the Commission, staff determined that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services would not have completed the rule making process for adopting Chapter 5M-17 F.A.C..  Staff is seeking approval to publish a Notice of Change to remove references to Chapter 5M-17 F.A.C. and is requesting that the rule become effective as soon as possible following the publication of the Notice.
  4. 68A-13.003, Hunting Regulations for Ducks, Geese and Coots – Staff presented the proposed final rule amendment at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The rule amendment would decrease the bag limit for canvasbacks from two to one, establish a September teal season with a bag limit of six, increase the bag limit for the September wood duck and teal season from four to six (no more than two may be wood ducks), modify the dates of the September wood duck and teal season, establish a possession limit of three day’s bag limit for September duck seasons, modify the dates of the first phase of the Canada goose season, and modify the dates of the falconry season for ducks, geese and coots.
  5. 68A-13.008, Hunting Regulations for Migratory Birds Other than Ducks and Coots – Staff presented the proposed final rule amendment at the September 2014 Commission Meeting.  The rule amendment would establish regulations for taking migratory birds other than ducks and coots in conformance with federal regulations.  The proposed rule amendment would increase and modify the dates of the open season for mourning doves and white-winged doves and modify the falconry open season for mourning doves and white-winged doves.
  6. 68-1.003 Non-Traditional Section 6, and State Wildlife Grants Document (joint rule amendments by Boating and Waterways) – The proposed changes under rule 68-1.003 will include the addition of forms and guidelines for the Habitat Conservation Planning, Habitat Conservation Planning Land Acquisition, and Recovery Land Acquisition programs and address revisions to the State Wildlife Grants program Application Form, Budget Form, and Program Guidelines.
  7. Adoption of June 2015 Commission Meeting date change. The new proposed Commission Meeting dates are June 23 – 25, 2015.

FWC Facts:
Some seagrass beds, such as those in Florida Bay, are so large they are visible from space.

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