Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FWC meets to discuss issues

For immediate release: March 27, 2008
Contacts: Inland issues - Henry Cabbage, 850-488-8843; Marine issues - Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet at Tallahassee's Ramada Conference Center April 9-10. The center is at 2900 N. Monroe St.
            The April 9 (Wednesday) agenda includes final action on the proposed management plan for bald eagles; deletion of the bald eagle from the list of threatened species; and proposed new rules prohibiting taking, feeding, disturbance, possession, sale, purchase or barter of any bald eagle and its nest or eggs, except as authorized by permit. The new rules also would prohibit any person from entering an area on public lands that has been posted as closed for protection of the bald eagle.
            Also during Wednesday's session, commissioners will consider approving permitting guidelines for activities that affect gopher tortoises. Commissioners will hear reports on the risk assessment for barramundi and Pet Amnesty Day, held in February.
            The agenda also includes a review of a request by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to re-establish a reciprocal agreement between Florida and Georgia to exempt residents 65 years of age or older in both states from nonresident freshwater fishing license requirements in the other state.
On Thursday, a final public hearing on rule proposals for spiny lobster is on the agenda.  Proposed rules would continue the current moratorium on reducing the number of traps in the lobster fishery for one year and allow two spiny lobster endorsement numbers to be displayed from one vessel to enable both endorsement holders to fish from the vessel. Also, the proposed rule would prohibit harvest and possession of egg-bearing lobsters of any species.
The Commission also will consider draft rules to allow commercial harvest of mullet on weekends, extend the Stone Crab Advisory Board to July 1, 2011 and allow the use of galvanized 16-gauge or thinner degradable staples to construct the degradable panel on wire stone crab traps.
In other marine fisheries action, the FWC will consider South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico fishery management councils' grouper and vermilion snapper management alternatives and other federal marine fisheries management issues.  In addition, commissioners will receive a report on FWC marine fishery stock assessments and review and discuss special activity license rule modifications, marine life (aquarium fish) issues and a stock assessment of the pompano fishery.
The agenda also includes final review of the vision document on the future of Florida's freshwater fisheries.
The meeting will convene at 8:30 a.m. both days.
Anyone requiring special accommodation to take part in the meeting due to a disability can arrange assistance by calling 850-488-6411 at least five days in advance.  Hearing- or speech-impaired persons can arrange assistance by calling 850-488-9542.
The complete agenda is available at

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