News Releases

FWC sets April 28-29 meeting near Tallahassee

News Release

Monday, April 12, 2010

Media contact: (inland issues) Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130; (marine issues) Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet April 28 and 29 at the Florida Public Safety Institute northwest of Tallahassee. The Commission will consider both inland and marine issues. The sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. both days and are open to the public.

On Wednesday, April 28, the agenda will focus on inland issues.

The Commission will discuss amnesty rules for people relinquishing nonnative pets such as pythons. If approved, this will codify the FWC's earlier executive order allowing license holders to accept the unwanted snakes despite Florida Administrative Code prohibitions against unpermitted owners buying, selling or transferring these reptiles of concern.

Since FWC staff is requesting substantial changes to the previously advertised amendment and considering a new "conditional species status" that would eliminate these species as pets, staff will recommend the Commission restart the rule-making process with a final public hearing to be held at the June Commission meeting.

Commissioners will consider several final rules for captive wildlife. One rule would require new facilities housing Class I, II or III wildlife to meet local building and zoning codes. Another rule amendment would require Class I and II wildlife facilities to make their Critical Incident and Disaster Plans available for inspection by the local emergency manager. More detailed captive wildlife shipping labels will also be considered.

Commissioners also will finalize revisions to allowable boat speeds in state manatee-protection zones in Sarasota County. Revisions also include changes to the types of activities that can be covered by permits issued for commercial fishing and professional fishing guide activities.

Wednesday's session will include discussions of draft rules for the FWC's approval process for local boating ordinances and uniform marker requirements. Technical corrections to the guidelines for two Boating and Waterways grant programs are proposed for approval.

Staff will propose rules related to the taking of wildlife on airport property when necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and human life.

New Florida statutes allow the Commission to issue permits for visitors to engage in recreational activities other than hunting on wildlife management areas, so staff will propose a rule amendment delineating various visitor permit types, associated fee structures and regulation changes for the WMAs.

Commissioners will hear updates on its Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, implementation of the FWC's gopher tortoise management plan and the Northern bobwhite management plan.

On Thursday, April 29, the Commission will address marine fisheries issues.  The Commission will consider a proposed rule amendment that would apply the same closed season for the recreational harvest of red snapper in Gulf of Mexico state waters as this year's closed season in Gulf federal waters.

A final public hearing will be held on a proposed rule that would include all species of bonefish found in Florida in the FWC's bonefish management rules, extend current Florida bonefish regulations into adjacent federal waters, and require that bonefish be landed in a whole condition.

In addition, a final public hearing will be held on a proposed rule that would maintain the current number of commercial ballyhoo lampara net endorsements, allow all ballyhoo endorsement holders to sell their endorsement to other commercial fishers from July 1 - March 31 each year, limit any one entity from holding more than two ballyhoo endorsements at any one time, prohibit leasing of the endorsement, and allow only one endorsement per saltwater products license and one saltwater products license to be associated with a single endorsement.

Another final public hearing will be held on a proposed rule that would allow oyster harvesters to stow hand tongs on their vessels from sunset to sunrise so they can transit to oyster bars before dawn and begin harvesting oysters at sunrise.

The meeting will be held at the Florida Public Safety Institute's Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy, 215 Academy Drive, Havana, about 15 miles northwest of Tallahassee, off U.S. 90. Go to http://academy.tcc.fl.edu for maps and directions.

Anyone requiring special accommodations to participate in the meeting should advise the FWC at least five days prior to the April 28 meeting, contacting the FWC's Office of Human Resources at 850-488-6411.  If you are hearing- or speech-impaired, contact the FWC using the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice).

The full agenda is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission.



FWC Facts:
The 7 FWC Commissioners meet 5 times each year to hear staff reports, consider rule proposals and conduct other Commission business.

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