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April, 2018 Commission Meeting

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Dates: April 25 - 26, 2018
Place: Marriott Fort Lauderdale North
6650 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309

This meeting is open to the public

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is committed to providing opportunity for public input at each Commission meeting.  As standard practice, the Commission will welcome public input regarding agenda items using the approved speaker registration process and time limits.  To accommodate as much input as possible from those attending, the Chairman reserves the right to designate the amount of time given to each speaker, including time donation to other speakers. With regard to public comment on subjects that are not on the agenda, the Commission will have a designated time period on the agenda at the end of day one, April 25th.  Those who wish to offer comments during this period will be asked to make sure their comments are not related to any agenda item.

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 may be re-ordered or moved by the Chairman to different days of the meeting to accommodate scheduling issues.  The Chairman may also ask staff and the public to work through lunch on either day.  Please plan accordingly.  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.

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.

For information on lodging and restaurants in the area, you may call the Ft. Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce External Website at (954) 462-6000 or find additional details online.

Anyone who is unable to participate in the meeting may submit comments in writing to Commissioners@MyFWC.com.

Agenda

8:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 25

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve February 2018 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 placed elsewhere on the agenda at the discretion of the Chairman.
  3. Executive Director's Report
  4. Awards and Recognition
    1. FWC Partnership with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity
    2. Guy Harvey Award

    ANTICIPATED BREAK

  5. Staff Report – Sharks
    Staff will provide a review and discussion of topics related to sharks.  The review will include information on the management of sharks, current status of sharks worldwide and in the south Atlantic, and an overview of a variety of other shark-related topics including the shore-based shark fishery.
    Summary Memo | Presentation
  6. Item Requiring Action – Draft Rule – Proposed Changes to Select Alligator Rules
    Staff will present draft rule amendments to revise the alligator farming and public waters alligator egg collection regulations.
    Summary Memo | 68A-25.004 | 68A-25.031 | Presentation

    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.

    ANTICIPATED LUNCH BREAK

  7. Staff Reports
    1. Everglades Overview.  Staff and invited guests will present a brief overview followed by a panel discussion of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades system.  Topics include habitat enhancement/restoration, research and management of fish and wildlife resources and Everglades restoration.  Staff will also discuss FWC’s role in co-managing this complex system for fish and wildlife benefits and recreational opportunities.
      Summary Memo
    2. Proposals to address the threat of injurious species entering Florida.  Recent changes to the enforcement of the Federal Lacey Act have resulted in removing a long-standing prohibition against importing injurious species into Florida.  Staff will propose actions to address this new threat to Florida’s native wildlife, economy and human safety.
      Summary Memo | Presentation
    3. Legislative and Budget Report.  Staff will present an update on the FWC Legislative Budget Requests for FY 2018/2019 and the status of legislation during the 2018 Session.
      Summary Memo | Legeslative and Budget Request

    ANTICIPATED BREAK

  8. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  9. Recess Wednesday’s Portion of the Meeting no later than 6:00 pm

     
    8:30 a.m., Thursday, April 26
     

  10. Call to Order
  11. Staff Report – Goliath Grouper
    Staff will provide a review and discussion of goliath grouper, including biology, stock status, and stakeholder feedback.  Staff will seek Commission direction on next steps for goliath management in state waters, which may include limited harvest.
    Summary Memo | Presentation

    ANTICIPATED BREAK

  12. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule - Sheepshead and Tripletail
      1. Tripletail
      2. In order to ensure the continued sustainability of this increasingly popular fishery, staff will present the following proposed final rules:
      3. 68B-49.001 Designation as a Restricted Species,68B-49.004 Bag and Vessel Limits; Bycatch Allowance and 68B-49.006 Allowed and Prohibited Gear and Method of Harvest; Bycatch Exception – The proposed rules would extend FWC’s current and proposed rules for tripletail into federal waters and update the related rule language accordingly.
      4. 68B-49.003 Size Limit; Landed in Whole Condition Requirement – The proposed rule would increase the minimum size limit from 15 to 18 inches in order to more closely align with the size at maturity.  The proposed rule would also update language related to extending FWC’s regulations into federal waters.
      5. Sheepshead
      6. Taking into account the 2017 FWRI sheepshead stock assessment, stakeholder concerns and additional stakeholder input since the draft rule hearing, as well as the increased fishing pressure on all inshore fisheries, staff will present the following proposed final rules:
      7. 68B-59.001 Designation as Restricted Species,68B-59.003 Size Limit; Landed in Whole Condition Requirement and 68B-59.006 Allowed and Prohibited Gear and Methods of Harvest; Bycatch Exception – The proposed rule would extend FWC’s current and proposed rules for sheepshead into federal waters and update the related rule language accordingly.
      8. 68B-59.004 Bag Limits; Bycatch Allowance – The proposed rule would reduce the daily recreational bag limit for sheepshead from 15 to 10.  The proposed rule would also create a vessel limit of 50 sheepshead for recreational harvesters during the peak spawning months of March and April and update language related to extending FWC’s regulations into federal waters.
        Summary Memo | Presentation | Rule Language
    2. Final Rule – Gulf Red Snapper.  Staff will provide a review and discussion of recent federal Gulf red snapper discussions, an update on the 2018 recreational red snapper harvest season for state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and a proposed final rule that would create a reporting requirement for the Gulf state waters for-hire red snapper/reef fish fishery.  Commission direction may be requested on the 2018 season and staff will present the following proposed final rule:

      68B-14.009 Reporting Requirement – In accordance with 379.354(7)(e) F.S., the proposed final rule would create the Gulf Reef Fish For-Hire Pilot Program for 2018 and 2019.  Specifically, the proposed final rule would require charter, headboat, and saltwater fishing guide operations that target or harvest certain reef fish in Gulf of Mexico state waters (excluding Monroe County), to report their intention to harvest or attempt to harvest the following species: red snapper, vermilion snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, or almaco jack.  This requirement would not apply to vessels fishing under a valid federal Gulf of Mexico Charter/Headboat Permit for Reef Fish.
      Summary Memo

    ANTICIPATED BREAK

  13. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report
    Red snapper updates from the GMFMC meeting will be discussed during the Gulf red snapper agenda item. Staff will report on actions from the GMFMC’s April 16-20 meeting in Gulfport, MS.  Topics include greater amberjack and deepwater corals.
    Summary Memo
  14. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report
    Staff will report on actions from the SAFMC's March 5-9 meeting in Jekyll Island, GA.  Topics include yellowtail snapper, establishing limited-entry for federal snapper grouper for-hire permits, and an exempted fishing request to allow pelagic longlines in the East Florida Closed area.
    Summary Memo | Presentation

    ANTICIPATED BREAK

  15. General Counsel Report
  16. Future Agenda Items
  17. Commissioner Exchange
  18. Adjournment
    The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for June 19 – 20, 2018 in Sarasota, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

Consent Agenda

  1. Draft Rule – In order to protect a restoration site in West Bay, Bay County, staff recommend a prohibition on harvest and possession of oysters at the site with support from the Bay County Oystermen’s Association.  Staff will review the provisions of the rule in 10 years to evaluate the key objectives of the project and the closure.

    68B-27.0175 West Bay Oyster Harvesting Restrictions [NEW] – The proposed rule would prohibit all harvest from or possession of oysters in or on Florida Waters within the West Bay Estuarine Habitat Restoration Project boundaries, Bay County.
    Summary Memo | 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.

  2. Repeal of FAC Rules 68A-3.002(1) and (2) and 68A-3.004 – These rules are redundant with Florida Statutes and portions are no longer needed, therefore staff is proposing that they be repealed.  These rules deal with the powers of wildlife officers and other assistants and the Wildlife Reserve Program.  Language that is being repealed is shown in background documents for this agenda item.
    Summary Memo
  3. Proposed Revisions to Specific Fish Management Area (FMA) Regulations (68A-20.005 F.A.C.) - Staff propose to revise regulations on Tenoroc FMA and Mosaic FMA.  The proposed amendments would simplify regulations related to freshwater fishing opportunities in both FMAs in the Southwest Region.  Complete details on the amendments are shown in background documents for this agenda item.

    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.

  4. Federal Consistency – Gulf Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Regulations Update – Staff propose a federal consistency action that would allow FWC to enforce federal Gulf commercial IFQ regulations at the state level. The proposed rule amendments would modify the Commission’s reef fish rule as follows:

    68B-14.0046 Commercial Individual Fishing Quotas (NEW) – This would create a new state rule, consistent with federal regulations for the Gulf commercial red snapper and grouper/tilefish IFQ fisheries, that includes requirements for IFQ operations, dealer endorsements, landings, and transactions.
    Summary Memo


FWC Facts:
Boaters must observe all manatee protection zone requirements.

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