Thursday, February 21, 2019

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approves hunting rule changes

Commission approves hunting rule changes

At its February meeting, the Commission approved rule changes regarding FWC-managed public hunting areas as well as statewide hunting proposals, including many dealing with deer hunting.
Draft rule amendments for changes to hunting regulations were approved by the Commission at the December 2018 Commission meeting. Rule changes are based on requests from staff, cooperators and stakeholders. Stakeholder input on proposed changes was sought throughout the rulemaking process to achieve regulations based on hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability.

Summary of changes to statewide hunting and FWC-managed public hunting areas

Statewide rule changes
Spring Turkey Shooting Hours (68A-15.004): Extends shooting hours during spring turkey seasons on most WMAs from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. This was proposed after a 3-year pilot study on 16 WMAs across the state where this change was made.  Hunting during these times is already allowed on private lands.
Remove Archery Hunting Restrictions (68A-12.002): Allows the use of bows equipped with electronic computational (rangefinders) or light projection (laser) sights or aiming devices for hunting game or crows during archery season. These accessories are already allowed on archery equipment used during other established seasons.
Muzzleloading Gun Caliber (68A-12.002): Changes the minimum caliber for hunting deer with a muzzleloading gun from .40 caliber to .30 caliber. This change makes muzzleloading gun caliber regulations consistent with existing regulations for pre-charged pneumatic air guns when hunting deer.
Reallocate Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days (68A-13.003): Reallocates the 2-day youth waterfowl hunt so that one day occurs the Saturday before the regular season begins and one day occurs the second Saturday after the regular season ends. This change, from 2 consecutive days at the end of the regular waterfowl season, is intended to provide higher quality and more diverse hunting opportunities for youth within the allowable federal framework.
Expand Falconry Opportunities (68A-13.008): Expand the falconry dove season by 17 days in conformance with federal regulations.
Specific Area Rule Changes
View the summary or the presentation of all rule changes.

Summary of Changes to Deer Hunting Regulations

The following rules were developed through extensive collaboration with staff and stakeholders and align with goals and objectives outlined in the Commission-approved strategic plan for deer management. This adaptive approach to deer management is intended to improve hunting opportunities and help maintain a healthy and reasonably balanced deer herd.
Establishes a youth deer hunting weekend on private lands
  • Coincides with first or second weekend of muzzleloading gun season
  • Youth allowed to harvest any antlered or antlerless deer with a weekend bag limit of 1 that counts toward the annual bag limit
  • Youth allowed to use any method of take legal for deer including the use of dogs to pursue deer
Adjusts the youth antlered deer exemption
  • Limits youth to 1 antlered deer annually that has at least 1 antler 5 inches or more but does not meet the DMU antler regulations
Adjusts the Antlerless Deer Permit Program
  • Requires antlerless deer program permittees to report harvest
  • Requires tagging of all antlerless deer taken on a property under the Antlerless Deer Permit Program
Establishes a deer harvest reporting system
  • Hunters required to report their own harvest within 24 hours of harvest and prior to transferring possession of a harvested deer. After using their telephone or any internet connection to report, hunters will receive a confirmation number to record on a paper harvest log (if used) or to be saved automatically on their smartphone.
  • Available 24 hours a day
  • Multiple ways of reporting will be available, including options for hunters with no access to cellular or internet connections.
Establishes an annual bag limit of 5 deer, of which no more than 2 can be antlerless, per hunter
  • Commission directed staff to report back in 3 years with bag limit evaluation
  • This rule change is a response to stakeholder input.
  • Deer harvested under the following programs are excluded from the bag limit - Deer depredation permit program, Private Lands Deer Management Program, Antlerless Deer Permit Program

Franklin County is seeking money from Triumph Gulf Coast for a new fuel delivery system at the airport in Apalachicola

Franklin County is seeking money from Triumph Gulf Coast for a new fuel delivery system at the airport in Apalachicola.

County staff is working on a pre-application for 920 thousand dollars in Triumph funding for the project.

The Apalachicola airport was the only airport able to deliver fuel after Hurricane Michael for an area between Tallahassee and almost Pensacola.

And while everything worked well, it could have been otherwise because of the age of the fuel farm.

The county will now seek $920K of TRIUMPH funds with a match of $150K from Department of Transportation for a back-up generator for the fuel farm.

County RESTORE coordinator Alan Pierce said the TRIUMPH Board seems eager to provide assistance to the airport since it played a key role in the region’s hurricane recovery, so now is the time to act.

County staff plans to submit the pre-application as soon as possible.

Long time local pediatrician Elizabeth Curry has joined the Sacred Heart Medical Group.

Long time local pediatrician Elizabeth Curry has joined the Sacred Heart Medical Group.

Dr. Curry received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia and completed her residency training in general pediatrics at the University of Florida, Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

Dr. Curry has been practicing pediatric medicine for more than 28 years including at the Shoreline Medical Group in Port St. Joe for 23 years.

Her private practice was severely damaged during hurricane Michael – she will now see patients at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf medical office building in Port St. Joe.

Dr. Curry is accepting new patients from newborn to age 21.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (850) 229-3710.

Volunteers are needed for a cleanup event in the Apalachicola National forest in Leon County this Saturday

Volunteers are needed for a cleanup event in the Apalachicola National forest in Leon County this Saturday.
This year’s forest cleanup starts at 8:00 a.m., on Forest Road 305 off of Rivers Road.

Volunteers must pre-register at the event web site
The event is sponsored by Leon County, the Forest Edge Neighborhood and various forest user groups.
Lunch will be provided free from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. for all volunteers.

Participants are encouraged to wear appropriate outdoor clothing and closed toe shoes; bring water, sunscreen, insect repellant and rain gear depending on weather conditions.

This year's red snapper season has been set.

This year's red snapper season has been set.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a Gulf red snapper season to run from June 11 through July 12th.

There could also be a fall season if quota is staill available.

This season would apply to those fishing from private recreational vessels in state and federal waters and to charter vessels that do not have a federal reef fish permit and are limited to fishing in state waters only.

For those interested in participating in this year’s Gulf red snapper season, don’t forget that anglers fishing from private vessels must get the Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation on their license.
For-hire operations that do not have a federal reef fish permit must get the State Gulf Reef Fish Charter designation on their license.

Franklin county's habitat for humanity group will host its annual Mard Gras ball this Saturday at the Fort Coombs Armory in Apalachicola

Franklin county's habitat for humanity group will host its annual Mard Gras ball this Saturday at the Fort Coombs Armory in Apalachicola.

This is the 16th year of the event which raises money to build affordable homes for Franklin County residents in need.

Proceeds from this year's event will help fund the construction of the 6th habitat home in Franklin County.

The event includes a glamorous dress up ball, dinner, a dance contest and Silent Auction!

Live music will be provided by Tony Partington.

Ticket are $50 each and with that you get to pick out a special mardi gras mask.

You can get your tickets today by calling habitat for Humanity at 653-3113.

They are also available at Cat Pointe Music and at the law office of Christie Branch Banks in Eastpoint or at Peoples South Bank or the Chamber of Commerce in Apalachicola.

They will also be available at the door on the night of the event.

Doors open at 5:00 – the dinner starts at 6:30.

FWC sets Gulf County 2019 bay scallop season; moves forward with draft scallop seasons for 2020 and beyond in all open areas

At its February meeting in Gainesville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the 2019-only bay scallop season for Gulf County to be Aug. 16 through Sept. 15.
Other 2019 bay scallop seasons were set earlier this year for all open areas except Gulf County.View season dates, regulations and more at by clicking on “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops” which is under the “Crabs, Shrimp and Shellfish” tab.
The Commission also moved forward with the following proposed changes for 2020 and beyond that will be brought back before the Commission at its May meeting for a final public hearing:
  • Setting the bay scallop season in state waters from Franklin through northwestern Taylor County and Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties to be July 1 through Sept. 24 each year.
  • Setting the bay scallop season in state waters for Pasco County to start the third Friday in July and run 10 days each year.
  • Setting the bay scallop season in state waters for Dixie County and the remaining portion of Taylor County to start June 15 and run through Sept. 10 each year.
    • This proposal will include a reduced bag limit from the start of the season through June 30; with the regular bag limit beginning July 1.
  • Setting the bay scallop season for Gulf County to be July 1 through Sept. 24 for 2020 and beyond unless modified by Executive Order.
  • Allow the direct transit of legally harvested bay scallops across areas that are closed to harvest.
FWC will further discuss the draft proposal for Dixie and parts of Taylor County at a public input gathering workshop in Steinhatchee Tuesday, March 5. Learn more at by clicking on “Workshops.”
Send your comments on this proposal by visiting

FREE Fishermen Finance 101 Class: February 26th

FREE Fishermen Finance 101 Class: February 26th

Hi everyone.
Just a reminder we are working with UGA’s Small Business Development Center to over a FREE Fishermen Finance 101 Class next Tuesday, Feb 26th at our office in Brunswick (715 Bay St. Brunswick, GA 31523)
The class will be from 6PM-8PM. Registration is required, but if you have issues getting online, we can sign you up the evening of the program.
Please share with anyone you know that may be interested in this class.
Bryan Fluech 
Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant | Associate Marine Extension Director 
Brunswick Station | 715 Bay Street | Brunswick, GA 31520
O: 912-264-7269
C: 239-247-3946
Connect with Us
About the Southern Shrimp Alliance
The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) is an organization of shrimp fishermen, shrimp processors, and other members of the domestic industry in the eight warmwater shrimp producing states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.

Contact Us

John Williams
Executive Director
p. 727-934-5090

NOAA Fisheries FishNews – February 21, 2019

New Recreational Fishing Partnership, National Bycatch Report, and More
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NOAA Fish News
February 21, 2019


Recreational MOA
NOAA Announces New Partnership with Recreational Fishing OrganizationsNOAA Fisheries and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries announced a formal partnership with four leading outdoor recreation interest groups regarding sustainable fishing and boating activities in federal waters, including national marine sanctuaries. The agreement establishes a framework for communication, education, and collaboration.

Bycatch Report
NOAA Fisheries Publishes National Bycatch ReportNOAA Fisheries has published the U.S. National Bycatch Report First Edition Update 3, which provides bycatch estimates for fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds in major U.S. fisheries for 2014 and 2015. Note that this report provides indicators of bycatch levels, rather than definitive estimates by fishery.

Fisheries Website screenshot
Wanted: Feedback on NOAA Fisheries’ WebsiteWe are seeking volunteers for a 20-minute call at your convenience to learn how we can make the NOAA Fisheries website better for you. Your direct feedback will help us with new features and future updates. If you are interested in participating, please tell us a little about yourself by completing this online form.


Larval Pacific Cod
Ocean Acidification Could Affect Larval Pacific CodIn a recent laboratory study, NOAA scientists and partners demonstrated that larval Pacific cod respond to elevated carbon dioxide levels differently at different stages of development. High-latitude oceans—where Pacific cod and other commercially important fish species occur—are expected to be particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification.

Northern fur seal
New Technology for Marine Mammal MonitoringNOAA Fisheries scientists and partners are developing advanced imaging technology that will enable drones to collect information essential for managing Alaska’s depleted northern fur seal population. Using drones will dramatically reduce the expense and risk of monitoring fur seals and virtually eliminate disturbance to this sensitive population.

West Coast

Whale entanglement online training
New Online Training on Whale Entanglement Available for BoatersRecreational and commercial boaters are often the first to spot and report entangled whales off the West Coast. NOAA Fisheries and The Nature Conservancy have developed a new online training course to prepare them for such an event.

Pacific Islands

Kona crabs
The Secret Life of Kona CrabsAlthough today it is a relatively small commercial fishery, Kona crabs have been fished in Hawaii since the early 20th century. Recently, NOAA scientists at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center conducted their first stock assessment of the main Hawaiian Islands Kona crab fishery, finding a healthy population.

Faces of Whale Conservation 2
Faces of Whale Conservation in the Pacific IslandsNOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Islands Region celebrated Whale Week with a series of interviews with whale conservation partners. Meet Robin Baird, of Cascadia Research Collective; Lars Bejder, of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology; Marc Lammers, of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary; and Adam Pack, of University of Hawaii at Hilo, and learn about their contributions to whale science and conservation.


Vermilion shapper
Proposed Rule for Snapper-Grouper Fishery –
Open for Public Comment
By March 6, please submit your comments on a proposed rule for Abbreviated Framework Amendment 2 to the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan. The rule would increase annual catch limits for South Atlantic vermilion snapper and reduce catch limits for South Atlantic black sea bass in response to recent population assessments.

Quality Management workshop
Quality Management Tools for Stock AssessmentsA recent workshop brought together stock assessment scientists and fishery-dependent data experts to improve the fish population assessment process in the Southeast. Guided by NOAA Fisheries’ Quality Management/ Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group, the workshop attendees identified and prioritized opportunities for improvement.

Cobia illustration DP
Atlantic Cobia Management Transferred to Atlantic States Commission NOAA Fisheries announced a final rule removing Atlantic cobia from the Coastal Migratory Pelagics of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region Fishery Management Plan. The fishery will now be managed under the purview of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, as the majority of Atlantic cobia landings occur in state waters.

Mississippi land acquisition
Mississippi Acquires 1,500 Acres of Coastal HabitatIn late December, the State of Mississippi acquired approximately 1,500 acres of coastal wildlife habitat around Grand Bay in Jackson County. Expanding the permanent protection of critical ecosystems along the Mississippi Gulf Coast will help restore injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Greater Atlantic

Right Whales from Above
Watch Out for Whales South of NantucketNOAA Fisheries extended a voluntary vessel speed restriction zone previously established south of Nantucket to protect a group of 19 right whales sighted in the area on February 17. This zone is now in effect through
March 5.

Sea scallops on table
Proposed Scallop Measures – Open for CommentBy March 7, please submit your comments on a proposed rule to implement Framework Adjustment 30 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. The proposed rule sets management measures for the Atlantic sea scallop for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years.

Skate Illustration
Revisions to Northeast Skate Management PlanNOAA Fisheries implemented Framework Adjustment 6 to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan. This action reduces the management uncertainty buffer, allowing for an increase in the total allowable landings in the wing and bait fisheries for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years.

Blueline tilefish illustration
Blueline Tilefish Specifications 2019–2021NOAA Fisheries announced final specifications for the 2019–2021 Mid-Atlantic blueline tilefish fishery. These measures apply in federal waters north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. (Blueline tilefish south of this border are managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.)


February 25–March 11
Three For-Hire Reporting Workshops hosted by the
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in Texas and Florida.
February 28
International Year of the Salmon event at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor.
March 1 and 13
Free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in New Jersey and Texas.
March 4
Webinar on a generic amendment to carryover unharvested quota, hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
March 4–8
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
March 6–7
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
March 6–12
Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Vancouver, Washington.
March 18–21
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Honolulu.
March 28
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Fort Pierce, Florida.


March 2
Pre-proposals due for 2019 Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund grants.
March 11
Proposals due for small grants from the Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species.
April 1
Full proposals due for 2019 Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund grants.
April 11
Proposals due for 2019 American Lobster Research funding.
April 16
Full proposals due for 2019 Community-Based Habitat Restoration funding.

Federal Register Actions

Visit for a list of only those actions open for public comment. Scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal Register online.

Corrections or technical questions should be sent to the FishNews Editor at