News Releases

FWC meeting set for Dec. 1-2 in South Florida

News Release

Monday, November 22, 2010

Media contact: (inland and manatee issues) Wendy Dial, 850-488-9477; (marine fisheries issues) Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet Dec. 1 and 2 in Weston, a city west of Fort Lauderdale. The sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. each day and are open to the public.

On Wednesday, Dec. 1, the Commission will consider numerous hunting issues and vote on a consent-agenda item changing bag limits for trophy bass on Orange and Lochloosa lakes in Alachua County. The vast majority of anglers and local businesses surveyed about this change approve of tighter restrictions to ensure the longevity of trophy-size largemouth bass.

Also on Dec. 1, Commissioners will recognize Palm Beach County author Harvey Oyer; Pasco and Pinellas County Assistant State Attorney Holly Grissinger; FWC Officer Rich Wilcox from Northeast Florida; and three sportsmen - Mike Zimmer and Rick Murphy of Miami-Dade County and Barky Haddad of Monroe County - for their efforts related to conservation and other fields.

Staff will review the progress of the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network Initiative, which the FWC designed, with an eye on the future, to interest youths in conserving Florida's natural resources by engaging them in traditional outdoor activities.

Commissioners will discuss draft rules that would require all hunters to tag harvested white-tailed deer and report the harvest to the FWC, for the purpose of better managing the herd. Another draft rule on the agenda would modify hunting season dates on many FWC-managed areas to better align them with the new hunting zone season dates for private lands, which took effect this year. Other proposed rule changes on the agenda include adding youth turkey hunts to about half of the FWC's wildlife management areas, and allowing more than one person to carry a gun on "hog-dog" quota hunts.

Staff will provide FWC Commissioners with an update on final plans for the Big Cypress National Preserve Addition lands. The task is to provide a full range of recreational opportunities and public access, while balancing resource protection on the 146,000-acre addition. The FWC manages hunting opportunities in the federally managed preserve.

During the second day of the meeting, Commissioners will tackle numerous marine fisheries issues, elect the chairman and vice chairman for 2011, and recognize two people: Julie Morris of Sarasota, who was the first elected chairperson of the newly formed FWC in 1999, and who subsequently represented Florida's interests on a federal advisory council; and citizen-hero Richard O'Neill of West Palm Beach, who rescued three boaters under dangerous conditions.

Commissioners will review and discuss staff recommendations for changes to the state manatee protection rule for Broward County. The proposed changes would reduce risks to manatees and simplify the complex speed zones in Broward County.

Marine fish are the main second-day topic. On Dec. 2, Commissioners will consider proposed draft rule amendments that would:

  • apply regulations to permit, Florida pompano and African pompano in both state and federal waters off Florida;
  • reduce the daily recreational bag limit for permit to two fish per person (one of which may exceed 20 inches fork length) within the six-fish permit/pompano aggregate bag limit;
  • establish a closed-harvest season for permit and Florida pompano greater than 20 inches fork length from May through July in all state and federal waters off Florida;
  • limit commercial harvest of permit to incidental bycatch while fishing under Pompano Endorsement regulations;
  • prohibit spearing of African pompano in all state and federal waters off Florida; and
  • restrict the recreational spearing of permit and Florida pompano greater than 20 inches fork length to federal waters off Florida only.

Commissioners will also consider a proposed federal-consistency rule that would:

  • require commercial harvesters to hold a federal Gulf Individual Fishing Quota vessel account to commercially harvest reef fish species (groupers, snappers and tilefish) in Gulf of Mexico state waters;
  • remove the 6,000-pound limit for commercial grouper vessel trips in Gulf waters;
  • designate blueline tilefish as a restricted species; and
  • clarify which federal permits and licenses are required to harvest Gulf and South Atlantic reef fish.

In other marine fisheries action, the Commission will:

  • review and discuss various federal fisheries management issues;
  • discuss the concept of designating certain saltwater fish as gamefish (and the implications for both recreational and commercial anglers);
  • review its annual marine fisheries work plan;
  • take final action on modifications to blue crab rules; and
  • consider proposed changes to the dates when commercial fishing license endorsements can be transferred.

The meeting will be at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center, 250 Racquet Club Road, Weston, FL 33326. Phone 954-616-1234.

Anyone requiring special accommodations to participate in the meeting should advise the FWC at least five days prior to the Dec. 1 meeting by 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).

You can watch a live webcast of the meeting, courtesy of the Florida Channel.  Beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day, go to www.wfsu.org/flashwebcasts/web7.php.

To see the full agenda, go to MyFWC.com/Commission.



FWC Facts:
Project WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program emphasizing wildlife. The program is designed for educators of students in K-12.

Learn More at AskFWC