News Releases

FWC wraps up 3-day meeting in Pensacola Beach

News Release

Friday, September 03, 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) resolved quite a few issues during its three-day meeting that concluded Friday in Pensacola Beach.

Commissioners started the meeting by recognizing Jim Berry, a local artist from Milton, with a plaque for his portrayal of Florida wildlife in his artwork.

Also on Sept. 1, the Commission passed several final rules, starting with fox and coyote enclosures and their operation in Florida. The new rule prohibits the taking of fox or coyote by a dog or dogs within an enclosure. Another final rule addresses how the FWC will notify a county or municipality of a pending application for the possession of Class I or II wildlife. Other rules passed include restricting the method of take during the spring turkey season on wildlife management areas and adding a month of crossbow hunting opportunity on private lands.

The Commission also approved a final rule that changes the way Florida manages listed species. The rules describe a system whose goals are to conserve threatened species and to ensure no fish or wildlife goes extinct in Florida because of human action or inaction.

Wednesday's meeting concluded with a report on adjusting hunting season dates on FWC-managed lands and an anchoring and mooring update from staff.

While catch-and-release fishing for snook still will be allowed during the closed harvest seasons, the Commission made other decisions regarding snook on Thursday. They approved the reopening of the Atlantic snook harvest season from Sept. 17 until Dec. 15, and then close the harvest of snook in this area from Dec. 15 until Sept. 1, 2011. Commissioners also decided to keep the harvest of snook closed in Florida's Gulf of Mexico, Everglades National Park and Monroe County waters until Sept. 1, 2011.

The Commission also agreed to reopen the recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf state waters on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for eight consecutive weekends, beginning on Oct. 1 and continuing through Nov. 21. This coincides with the same season expected to be implemented in federal waters off of Florida.

In other marine fisheries action, Commissioners proposed a draft rule that would increase the daily recreational bag limit for red drum from one fish to two in Escambia through Pasco counties in northwest Florida and in Flagler through Nassau counties in northeast Florida. They also will consider implementing a possible vessel limit for redfish in northern Florida as part of its proposed rule. A final public hearing on the proposed redfish draft rule will be held in February in Apalachicola.

In addition, Commissioners proposed a series of blue crab draft rule amendments, including staggering the annual regional, 10-day trap-harvest closures so they occur every other year. A final public hearing on the proposed blue crab rule amendments will be held in Weston in December.

The Commission also directed staff to continue reviewing permit, pompano and African pompano management issues and discussed the possible creation of a recreational reef fish tag or endorsement and several federal fisheries management issues.

On Friday, the Commission heard reports on the agency's budget and legislative issues for the 2011 session of the Florida Legislature.

FWC Facts:
The horse conch (Pleuroploca gigantea) is Florida's official state shell. It is a predator that grabs other snails and inserts its toothed tongue to devour soft flesh.

Learn More at AskFWC