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July, 2017 Commission Meeting

Time: 8:30am
Dates: July 10 - 11, 2017
Place: Orange County Convention Center
West Building – Room WF3
9800 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819
Map of the meeting venue Adobe PDF

This meeting is open to the public

 

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is committed to providing ample 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 time on the agenda at the end of day one, July 10th.  Those who wish to offer comments during this period will be asked to make sure their comments are not related to any agenda item.  For future meetings, the day for comment regarding items not on the agenda will be identified when the agenda is posted.
 
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 Orlando Economic Partnership at (407) 422-7159, or visit their website at OrlandoEDC.com External Website.

 

Agenda

8:30 a.m., Monday, July 10

  1. Call to Order
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  2. Administrative Matters
    1. Review and Approve April 2017 and June 2017 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. Staff Report

    Federal Fisheries Congressional Update – This item will cover legislative activity by Congress relating to fisheries and wildlife issues.  The Commission may provide direction on items as needed. Summary Memo | Presentation

  4. Items Requiring Action
    1. Draft Rule – Tripletail and Sheepshead.  As part of the effort to proactively address management of a variety of popular inshore fisheries, staff have been gathering public input on management of these species.  Staff will present a series of draft rules regarding statewide management changes for sheepshead and tripletail to promote the continued sustainability of these fisheries and address concerns expressed by stakeholders.

      In recent years, stakeholders in some parts of the state have begun expressing concerns about the status of the sheepshead population.  Staff heard from stakeholders throughout the state that the current daily bag limit of 15 sheepshead per person was unnecessarily high and was resulting in overexploitation of pre-spawning sheepshead aggregations.  Taking these concerns into account, as well as the increased pressure on all inshore fisheries, staff will present the following draft rules intended to ensure the continued sustainability of the sheepshead fishery:

      68B-59.001 Designation as Restricted Species – The proposed rule would extend FWC’s current and proposed rules for sheepshead into federal waters.

      68B-59.003 Size Limit; Landed in Whole Condition Requirement – The proposed rule would clarify language related to extending FWC’s sheepshead regulations into federal waters.

      68B-59.004 Bag Limits; Bycatch Allowance – The proposed rule would reduce the daily recreational bag limit for sheepshead from 15 to 5.  The proposed rule would create new commercial daily trip limits of 200 sheepshead per person outside of peak spawning season and 50 sheepshead during the peak spawning months of March and April.  The proposed rule would also create vessel limit of 50 sheepshead for recreational and commercial harvesters during the peak spawning months of March and April and clarify language related to extending FWC’s regulations into federal waters.

      68B-59.006 Allowed and Prohibited Gear and Methods of Harvest; Bycatch Exception – The proposed rule would clarify language related to extending FWC’s regulations into federal waters.

      In 1996, Florida proactively implemented tripletail-specific regulations based on stakeholder concerns about the fishery.  Participation in this fishery has increased in recent years and additional scientific research is now available to inform management decisions.  Staff will present the following proposed draft rules to provide proactive management measures for this fishery:

      68B-49.001 Designation as a Restricted Species – The proposed rule would extend FWC’s current and proposed rules for tripletail into federal waters.

      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 and clarify language related to extending FWC’s regulations into federal waters.

      68B-49.004 Bag and Vessel Limits; Bycatch Allowance – The proposed rule would reduce the daily commercial trip limit to two tripletail per person and clarify language related to extending FWC’s regulations into federal waters.

      68B-49.006 Allowed and Prohibited Gear and Method of Harvest; Bycatch Exception – The proposed rule would clarify language related to extending FWC’s regulations into federal waters.

      Summary Memo | Rule Language | Presentation

    2. Draft Rule – Cobia.  Staff will present draft rules to modify the minimum size limit and bag and vessel limits for cobia harvested from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Staff will also provide an update on the status of cobia in the Atlantic.  In recent years, anglers in the Panhandle have brought forward concerns about potential declines in the population of cobia in the Gulf.  In response to these concerns, staff conducted a series of public workshops in May 2017 to learn more about stakeholder perspectives on the status of the fishery and gather feedback on management off Florida’s Gulf coast.  Based on the feedback received, staff propose the following conservation measures for cobia harvested from state waters of the Gulf until the next Gulf federal stock assessment can be completed in 2018 or 2019:

      68B-19.002 Definitions – The proposed rule would define state waters of the Gulf of Mexico as state waters north of the Monroe-Collier county line for the purposes of FWC’s cobia regulations.

      68B-19.003 Size Limit; Landed in Whole Condition Requirement – The proposed draft rule would increase the minimum size limit from 33 inches to 38 inches (fork length) for cobia harvested from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

      68B-19.004 Bag and Vessel Limits – The proposed draft rule would reduce the commercial trip limit from two cobia per person to one per person (matching the current recreational bag limit) and reduce the recreational and commercial vessel limit to two cobia per vessel per day for all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

      Summary Memo | Rule Language | Presentation

  5. Staff Reports
    1. Legislative and Budget Update.  Staff will provide a review of actions from the 2017 Session.  Staff will also provide the standard budget overview to the Commission including the legislative process of budget development and submission to the legislature.  Staff requests the Chairman also appoint a Budget Liaison to work with staff through the process.  In addition to the standard overview, staff will elaborate on budget information as it pertains to license revenue and revenues resulting from excise taxes on certain industries.
      Summary Memo | Timeline | Budget Update
    2. Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation of Hunters, Anglers and Boaters.  FWC Staff along with invited guest, Mr. Matt Dunfee, Programs Manager for the Wildlife Management Institute, will present examples of current activities and plans for future efforts to encourage the recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) of hunters and anglers.  This is part of a national campaign of conservation agencies, industry partners, and non-governmental organizations in response to the need to increase participation in conservation.
      Summary Memo

      Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network.  Staff will provide an update on the expansion of the FYCCN and report on how this effort aligns with the agency’s Expanding Participation in Conservation Strategic Initiative and R3 goals.
      Summary Memo | Presentation

      Industry Roundtable.  At the request of the Chairman, a panel of leaders in the Fish and Wildlife or Boating Industries have been invited to have dialogue with the Commission on how the agency and industries can continue to work together to accomplish conservation of fish and fildlife resources.
      Summary Memo
  6. Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda
  7. Commissioner Exchange
  8. Recess Monday’s Portion of the Meeting

    8:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 11

  9. Call to Order
  10. Awards and Recognition
    1. Florida Guides Association Trained-Eyes Coast Watcher Officer of the Year
    2. Florida Guides Association Captain Phil Chapman Conservation Award
    3. Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year Award
    4. Youth Hunting Program of Florida Landowner of the Year Award
  11. Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida Update

    Foundation staff will present an update as well as present the recipient of the recently established Guy Harvey Award.

  12. Staff Report

    Florida Bay.  FWC Staff along with invited guest, Mr. Ernie Marks with the South Florida Water Management District, will provide an overview of Florida Bay current conditions and restoration efforts.
    Summary Memo | Presentation | Public Presentation

  13. Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Report

    Staff will report on actions from the GMFMC’s June 5-8 meeting in Naples, FL.  Topics include: deepwater corals, greater amberjack, red snapper, and reef fish.
    Summary Memo | Presentation

  14. Items Requiring Action
    1. Final Rule and Federal Consistency – Gulf Gag Grouper.  Staff will present a proposed final rule to modify the recreational season for gag grouper harvest in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties based on stakeholder feedback.  Staff will also present a federal consistency item that would make the minimum size limit for commercial harvest of gag grouper in the Gulf of Mexico consistent with pending federal rules.  The proposed final rule for gag grouper harvest would modify the Commission's reef fish regulations as follows:

      68B-14.0035. Size Limits: Amberjacks, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper – The commercial minimum size limit for gag grouper would be increased from 22 to 24 inches total length in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

      68B-14.00355. Size Limits for Importation and Sale – The minimum size limit for purposes of importation and sale for gag grouper would be increased from 22 to 24 inches total length.

      68B-14.0039 Recreational Grouper Seasons – The recreational gag grouper harvest season in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties would continue to be open April 1 through June 30 each year and would also be open from September 1 through December 31 each year.

      Summary Memo | Presentation

    2. Federal Consistency – Gray Triggerfish.  Recently, the GMFMC approved several changes to gray triggerfish management for Gulf federal waters that are intended to help rebuild the Gulf stock, which is overfished.  Staff will present a proposed federal consistency action that would make Gulf state regulations for gray triggerfish consistent with the pending rules for Gulf federal waters.  Staff will also discuss options for a limited fall 2017 recreational harvest season for gray triggerfish in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  The proposed rule amendments would modify the Commission’s reef fish regulations as follows:

      68B-14.0035. Size Limits: Amberjacks, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper – The recreational minimum size limit for gray triggerfish would be increased from 14 to 15 inches fork length in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

      68B-14.0036. Recreational Bag Limits: Snapper, Grouper, Hogfish, Black Sea Bass, Red Porgy, Amberjacks, Tilefish, Exception, Wholesale/Retail Purchase Exemption – The recreational bag limit for gray triggerfish would be decreased from 2 to 1 per person per day in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

      68B-14.0041. Recreational Gulf Gray Triggerfish Season – Recreational harvest of Gulf gray triggerfish would be closed each year from January 1 through the end of February and June 1 through July 31.

      Summary Memo | Presentation

  15. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Report

    Staff will report on actions from the SAFMC's June 12-16 meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.  Topics include red snapper and recreational reporting, various snapper-grouper species, spiny lobster, and descending devices.

    Summary Memo | Presentation

  16. Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Update

    Executive Director Nick Wiley, current President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, will provide an update on AFWA issues.

  17. Executive Director’s Report | Presentation
  18. General Counsel Report
  19. Future Agenda Items
  20. Commissioner Exchange
  21. Commission Administrative Matters

    The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for September 27 – 28, 2017 in Okeechobee, commencing at 8:30 a.m. each day.

  22. Adjournment

Consent Agenda

  1. Draft Rule – Amend rule chapter 68F-20, F.A.C., Aquatic Plant Control Permits.  Staff propose amendments to Chapter 68F-20, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), to address concerns expressed by stakeholders that staff are not spending enough time developing aquatic plant control plans and monitoring results of treatments. The amendments include: codifying an on-line permitting system, increasing an exemption from permit requirements, and repealing reporting requirements. These changes will allow staff to redirect more of their time to developing aquatic plant control plans and monitoring results of treatments. In addition, these changes will reduce the regulatory burden on the public.

    68F-20.0015 Definitions –add or modify several definitions to provide clarification and others are being removed because the terms are no longer used.

    68F-20.002 Permits – Applications – an on-line permitting system was developed a couple of years ago and is now being codified in rule. Applicants will be responsible for providing a copy of any conservation easement in the area proposed for aquatic plant control and allow staff reasonable access to the proposed control site to engage in surveys and examinations related to permitting.

    68F-20.0035 Waters or Activities Exempt from Permitting –add language to clarify when exemptions apply. Currently waters that are 10 surface acres or less are exempt from permitting provided they are not connected to Waters of Special Concern. The proposed amendments would increase the exemption to waters that are less than 160 acres unless it is a public waterbody, or a waterbody that has a boatable connection to a public waterbody, or there is a connection to Waters of Special Concern. There is an exemption in Florida Statutes that currently is not referenced in rule, this language would be added to the rule.

    68F-20.0045 Criteria for Issuing, Modifying or Denying Permit Applications – authorizing staff, when granting or denying a permit, to consider whether or not a conservation easement has been established that prohibits the alteration or removal of vegetation.

    68F-20.0055 Management Method Criteria and Standards, and Operations Requirements –clarify herbicide treatment setbacks from potable water intakes. Repeal an outdated memorandum of understanding with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Repeal Annual Operations Report requirements.

    68F-20.0075 Penalties – repeal the penalty provision for not submitting an Annual Operations Report. Clarifying what violations are subject to penalties and updating the proper statute citations for penalty provisions.

    Summary Memo | Draft Rule Amendments

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendments and unless a hearing is requested, staff will file the rule amendments for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3), Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

  2. Final Rule – Proposed Rule Changes for Expanded Small Game Opportunities 2017 – 2018. FWC staff request Commission approval of proposed final rule amendments revising area regulations on select Wildlife Management Areas and Wildlife and Environmental Areas to provide expanded small game opportunities.
    Summary Memo | Draft Rules | 68A-15.061 | 68A-15.062 | 68A-15.063 | 68A-15.064 | 68A-15.065 | 68A-17.005
  3. Draft Rule – Technical Changes Relating to Live Sale of Alligators.  The proposed rule amendments would simplify and relax the current requirements for contracted nuisance alligator trappers to sell nuisance alligators live and remove an exemption to the experience requirements for applicants seeking a captive wildlife exhibition and sale license for alligators.  To accomplish this, the following rule amendments are being proposed.

    68A-6.0022 Possession of Class I, II, or III Wildlife in Captivity: Permit Requirements. The proposed draft rule amendment would eliminate the experience exemption for persons with licenses issued under section 379.3751, F.S.

    68A-25.003 Taking and Disposal of Nuisance Alligators Statewide.  The proposed draft rule amendment would allow contracted nuisance alligator trappers to sell lawfully taken nuisance alligators to permitted facilities or other authorized persons in a live condition.

    Summary Memo | 68A-25.003 | 68A-6.0022

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the proposed amendments and file for adoption as soon as possible. If the rule amendments are approved for both advertisement and final adoption, Commission staff will file the rules for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54(3) Florida Statutes, without further public hearing.

  4. Final Rule – 68D-36.108 Florida Boater Education Temporary Certificate Program. Staff proposes amending current rule language to provide guidelines and requirements for the administration of an online temporary certificate program by private vendors.  Key components of this change include requirements that vendors provide an online examination that is accessible by computer, tablet, smart phone, or other similar device comprised of 25 questions randomly generated from a bank of approved questions; a 7-day exemption from the boating safety identification requirements of section 327.395(1), F.S. for individuals who pass an online temporary certificate examination to allow time for issuance of the temporary certificate; and a requirement for vendors to remit to FWC all pertinent information of exam completion within 24 hours so FWC can issue the temporary certificate.  These changes are aimed at improving customer convenience and accessibility to the temporary certificate program. In order to address concerns received from the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee, staff is seeking approval to publish a Notice of Change clarifying portions of the rule prior to filing the rule for adoption.

    Summary Memo | 68D-36.108

    NOTE: Staff is requesting Commission approval to advertise the Notice of Change and file for adoption as soon as possible.  If no request for hearing is received in response to the changes, Commission staff will file the rule for adoption as allowed by s. 120.54 Florida Statutes.

  5. Alligator Snapping Turtle.  Staff proposes to update the listing of alligator snapping turtles on the Species of Special Concern list to be consistent with the scientific nomenclature of the three species found in Florida.  Staff also will propose the Biological Status Report and listing recommendations for the alligator snapping turtle species, pursuant to Chapter 68A-27, F.A.C.

    Summary Memo | 68A-27.005 | Biological Status Report | Peer Review

    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.

  6. Biological Review Groups (BRGs).  Staff will propose members for the BRGs for the harlequin darter, Homosassa shrew, osprey (Monroe County population), and Sherman’s fox squirrel, pursuant to Chapter 68A-27, F.A.C.
    Summary Memo | Biological Review Group Bios | Harlequin Darter | Homosassa Shrew | Osprey | Sherman's Fox Squirrel
  7. 2018 Commission Meeting dates and locations


FWC Facts:
Each person operating, riding on, or being towed behind a personal watercraft must wear an approved, non-inflatable Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device (PFD).

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