News Releases

Commission to meet Nov. 16-17 in Key Largo

News Release

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Media contact: (marine fisheries issues) Amanda Nalley, 850-487-0554;
(other issues) Susan Smith, 850-488-8843

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet Nov. 16-17 in Key Largo to discuss a wide range of fish-and-wildlife issues, from shark harvesting, to opportunities and access for sportsmen, to gopher tortoise and other species management, and anchoring and mooring.

Sessions start at 8:30 a.m. both days at the Key Largo Grande Resort and Beach Club, 97000 South Overseas Highway, Key Largo. The meetings are open to the public.

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, after stakeholders recognize FWC employees for their special conservation efforts, staff will update the Commission on the recent Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meetings held in October and September, respectively.

Commissioners are expected to take final action on several Division of Marine Fisheries Management issues, including adoption of federal Gulf of Mexico grouper standards to achieve consistency between the FWC's reef fish rule and proposed federal regulations in the Gulf.

Increased fishing opportunities for the successfully managed red drum and spotted seatrout species will be voted on by the Commission. The Commission will consider increasing the red drum recreational daily bag limit from one fish to two fish in the northern regions of Florida, allowing year-round recreational harvest of spotted seatrout and increasing the commercial harvest season of spotted seatrout.

Commissioners will also take action on a proposed amendment that would prohibit the recreational and commercial harvest of four species of shark: tiger shark and great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks.

Staff will share reports on the use of casitas - structures placed on the sea floor that attract spiny lobster. Commissioners earlier directed staff to conduct research on the effect of casitas on the environment.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Sean Morton will address the FWC concerning the sanctuary's comprehensive regulatory review.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, after recognizing the Prosecutor of the Year, Commissioners will consider approval of a suite of proposed rule changes that would provide greater public access and hunting and freshwater fishing opportunities, both statewide and area-specific. Statewide proposals deal with pen-raised quail and gun-and-light hunting, for example. One area-specific draft rule would allow internal combustion motors of up to 10 horsepower on Lake Iamonia and Carr Lake in Leon County during the state's regular waterfowl season.

Commissioners are expected to review and discuss a draft rule to create manatee protection zones in Flagler County. They will also consider revisions to gopher tortoise permitting guidelines that will clarify the requirements for obtaining a "disturbed site permit" and establish standards for relocating gopher tortoises to public lands.

Next, staff will update Commissioners on the anchoring and mooring pilot program by presenting St. Augustine's proposed boating ordinances.

The public may comment on items not on the agenda toward the end of each meeting day.

Anyone requiring special accommodations to participate in the meeting should advise the FWC at least five days prior to the Nov. 16 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).

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



FWC Facts:
Florida panthers often meticulously cache, or cover, their prey with leaves, grass and sticks. This helps prevent competitors and scavengers from finding and stealing their food.

Learn More at AskFWC