Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Area 1612 to reopen to oyster harvesting on Wednesday after 132 day closure

            The Department of Agriculture will reopen oyster harvesting area 1612 at sunrise on Wednesday.

Area 1612 is the conditionally approved Winter West Shellfish Harvesting Area – it includes the Green Point Bar.

The area has been has been off limits to oyster harvesting for 134 days.

Area 1612 was closed last December when the Apalachicola river rose above 11 feet, and the river had not dropped below 11 feet since then. 


Celebrate Cinco De Mayo for the local library!


Eastpoint man killed in single vehicle accident near Port St. Joe

A 43 year old Eastpoint man died in a single vehicle accident in Gulf County on Monday.
Bobby Gene Creamer was killed when a Ford F-150 in which he was a passenger collided with a tree.
The accident happened just before 2 o’clock Monday afternoon on Highway 71 just north of Port St. Joe.
The Highway patrol said Creamer was riding in a truck driven by 17 year old Charles Dakota Golden.
The truck was heading south on 71 when it went over the center line and, across the northbound lane before colliding with a tree.
Charles Golden received only minor injuries in the crash.

The Highway patrol is investigating whether alcohol was involved in the crash.


Volunteers needed for sea oats planting and beach clean-up


Monday, May 2, 2016

ANERR hires new sea turtle coordinator for SGI

There is a New Sea Turtle Program Coordinator for St. George Island.
The Apalachicola national Estuarine Research Reserve recently hired Janice Becker for the job.
Janice started her sea turtle conservation work in 2013, as an aquarist intern at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea.
She also completed a sea turtle nesting survey internship on St. George Island and continued to volunteer through the 2015 season.
She also worked as the Records Analyst for the marine turtle section of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Tallahassee.

Janice will have two interns helping out this summer including Lindsay Hooper, a Biology major at FloridaState University, and Hannah Heinke-Green a Geology and Environmental Studies major at Oberlin College in Ohio.



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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us 


~15,000 foster families to enjoy Florida’s state parks during National Foster Care Month~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  The Florida Department of Children and Families, together with its community partners, have joined the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to celebrate foster families during National Foster Care Month. State Park passes will be distributed to 15,000 families throughout Florida to celebrate foster parents and the tremendous call they have answered to serve the community’s most vulnerable children.
“Our foster parents make their hearts and homes available to frightened, vulnerable children day and night and surround them with love and normalcy during times of crisis,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said. “This is a way to thank them for their generosity and also provide a wonderful opportunity for these families to come together to reflect and celebrate their journey together.”
The partnership builds on an annual program that encourages foster children and their families to engage in outdoor recreation and supports them in the journey to lead more normal lives and create lasting memories with their foster families. Park passes will be distributed to foster parents throughout the state by Community-Based Care (CBC) lead agencies and local DCF offices.
“The Department of Environmental Protection is proud to join DCF and its partners to support the important role foster parents play improving the lives of Florida’s children and communities,” DEP Secretary Jon Steverson said. “Our award-winning state parks are a great place for families to spend time together and enjoy some of Florida’s most treasured natural resources.”
Foster parents change lives and offer hope to children who have been removed from their homes by no fault of their own, but because they have experienced abuse or neglect and cannot safely remain with their parents. CBC lead agencies throughout the state work to recruit, license and match foster parents with children in need of short- and long-term homes. Each CBC works to address the unique needs of their communities in recruiting foster parents.
Florida’s 174 state parks, trails and historic sites inspire residents and visitors with recreational opportunities and scenic beauty that help strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 163 state parks and 11 state trails, families are attracted by the beaches, freshwater springs, historic sites and variety of recreational opportunities available.
For more information on becoming a foster parent visit www.MyFLFamilies.com or contact the CBC in your area, http://myflfamilies.com/service-programs/community-based-care/cbc-map.
For more information on Florida’s state parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org.


Franklin County Commission meets Tuesday in Apalachicola

                Franklin County Commissioners have a full agenda for Tuesday’s meeting in Apalachicola.
The county commission will meet with sheriff’s Mike Mock on Tuesday to discuss inmate medical costs.
Mike Cooper from Weems Memorial Hospital will update the county commission on activities at the hospital and the board will get an update on the Apalachicola airport from Airport manager Jason Puckett.
The board will also consider two land use and zoning changes, including one on St. George Island that could allow for an RV park on the island.
You can find the full county commission agenda on-line at oysterradio.com.

The Franklin county Commission meeting will begin at 9 tomorrow morning at the Franklin county Courthouse Annex in Apalachicola.


This week is National Wildfire Awareness Week

            This week is National Wildfire Awareness week and the theme is “Prevent wildfire arson spread the facts, not the fire.”
Wildfire arson costs Florida taxpayers millions of dollars each year. 

More than 143 arson wildfires have burned 6,300 acres in Florida since January. 

Spring is the most active fire time during Florida’s year-round wildfire season.

Typical dry, windy weather makes even the smallest spark potentially hazardous.
State officials are urging people to report suspicious wildfire activity.
You can contact the Florida Forestry Arson Alert Hotline at 1-800-342-5869.

Callers can remain anonymous and information about wildland arson could result in a reward of up to $5,000. 


Full-Sized Fresnel Lens on Display at the Cape St. George Lighthouse

Friday, April 29, St. George Island- The St. George Lighthouse Association is pleased to announce a major addition to the collection at the Keeper’s House Museum.
 A life-size reproduction of the Cape St. George Light’s Fresnel lens is now on display during regular museum hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday -- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday -- Noon to 5 p.m.
The museum is closed on Thursdays.
Docents will be on hand to explain the science and history behind the new exhibit.
The original lighthouse lens was lost. It is known to have been deinstalled in 1949 and moved to a warehouse somewhere in New Orleans for storage, but there the records end.
To quote association board member Bob Heide, “We felt that the lighthouse without the lens was like an engagement ring without the diamond. It just wasn’t right.”
After attempting to discover the whereabouts of the 2000-pound third order glass Fresnel lens for about ten years, the board of the lighthouse association decided to go to “Plan B” and began searching for somebody who could create a reproduction.
They found engineer Dan Spinella of Artworks Florida.
In his spare time, he constructs lighthouse lenses and he has produced them for lighthouses all over the US including two in Hawaii.
Spinella subcontracts the work of machining and polishing the prisms and brass framework.
He labored for eight months on the lens for the Cape St. George Light, which is an assembly of 149 prisms set in a brass framework based on photographs of standard lenses. Installing a single prism can take up to two hours.
The model stands 68-inches tall and 42-inches in diameter and produces light for all 360 degrees. It contains an electric bulb in a replica brass lamp which imparts a warm yellow glow to the museum exhibit. Like the original, the model includes a door that would have been used to allow the keeper to tend the kerosene lamp.
The reproduction of the Fresnel lens is constructed of acrylic unlike the original, which was glass.
Glass lenses cost about ten times as much as acrylic and a single prism can have a $20,000 price tag. Glass is also much heavier than acrylic. The original lens weighed about a ton. The model tips the scales at around 600 pounds.
The Fresnel lens was a technological wonder at the time of its invention.
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the "state of the art" in lighthouse optics consisted of single or multiple whale oil burning lamps placed in the lantern at the top of a tower. Only three percent of the light ended up being visible at any given point at sea.
By 1820, US lighthouse optics had progressed to the use of a silvered-metal parabolic reflector placed behind the oil lamp, known as the Argand Lamp.
While this was a vast improvement over the simple lamp, only 39 percent of the light was transmitted in the desired direction. The visible distance was still limited to a maximum of 15 to 20 miles in clear conditions.
With shipping increasing throughout the world, an optical system was desperately needed to cast light many miles out to sea, providing ample advanced warning of hazards.
In 1819, the French government commissioned 34 year old Augustin Jean Fresnel to develop an improved lighting system for French lighthouses. Fresnel began investigating ways that glass lenses could be used to concentrate the light source. Since a single lens of sufficient strength would be too large to be practical, Fresnel began looking at multiple lenses that would surround the light source and capture the light rays emitted and direct them into a narrow horizontal beam.
With Fresnel's optic array, output was increased dramatically from the old reflector systems, with as much as eighty percent of the light transmitted over twenty miles out to sea.
The first Fresnel lens was used in 1823 in the Cordouan Lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde estuary in France.
Our own island light was reconstructed on Cape St. George just 29 years later in 1852, and the third order Fresnel lens was added in 1857.
As most county residents know, the lighthouse originally stood on Little St. George Island but was felled after years of shoreline erosion when Hurricane Wilma was churning in the Gulf  of Mexico on Friday, October 21, 2005. A group of lighthouse enthusiasts salvaged material from the wreckage and raised the funds to erect the tower in its current place of honor at island center on St. George Island.

For more information, call (850) 927-7745. 




Required seminar for oyster harvesters begins Tuesday in Apalachicola

The Florida Department of Agriculture will show the required educational seminar for shellfish harvesters starting tomorrow. 
Oystermen have to watch the 20 minute educational training program in order to get the Apalachicola Bay Oyster Harvesters license.

The training is required by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

It focuses on shellfish harvest and post-harvest handling practices to minimize the growth of Vibrio bacteria and to reduce the risk of associated illnesses.

During the month of May, the educational training video will be shown at the Shellfish Center in Apalachicola every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 3 PM.

In June the program will be shown Monday through Friday at 3 PM.

Harvesters can apply for their new harvesting licenses beginning May the 17th.



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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us


~Learn about the role of Florida's barrier islands in songbird migration~

WHAT:       "Spring Songbird Migration on St. George and St. Vincent Islands" 
                     Guest Lecture
WHEN:       Wednesday, May 4, 2016
                      2 – 3 p.m.
WHERE:    Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center
                     108 Island Drive
                     Eastpoint, FL 32328
HOW:         Registration is not required, but seating is limited.
                     For more information, email megan.lamb@dep.state.fl.us.
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve will host a guest lecture by
Melanie Mancuso and Armando Aispuro, researchers studying Nearctic-Neotropical songbird populations at St. George Island and St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge since 2013. Using state-of-the-art analysis, their research indicates that Florida barrier islands serve as stopovers and refueling sites for these birds on their northern migration to spring breeding grounds.

About the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the nation focused on research, education and protection of the natural habitat within the estuary. The 234,715-acre reserve encompasses the lower 52 miles of the Apalachicola River and floodplain as well as most of Apalachicola Bay. For more information, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/apalachicola/.


Commissioner Putnam Urges Citizens and Visitors to Report Wildfire Arson During National Arson Awareness Week

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service are asking residents to report suspicious wildfire activity during National Arson Awareness Week, May 1-7. This year’s national arson awareness theme is “Prevent wildfire arson— spread the facts, not the fire.”

“Arson is the leading human cause of wildfires in Florida,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “With the help of Floridians and visitors, we can better protect Florida’s communities and natural landscapes by stopping arsonists in their tracks.”

Wildfire arson costs Florida taxpayers millions of dollars each year. More than 143 arson wildfireshave burned 6,300 acres in Florida since January. Nationally, more than half a million wildfires are set by arsonists each year, resulting in more than $3 billion in damages.

To report suspicious wildfire activity, contact the Florida Forestry Arson Alert Hotline at 1-800-342-5869. Callers can remain anonymous and information about wildland arson could result in a reward of up to $5,000. When reporting suspected wildfire arson activity, callers should remember the following tips:

· Call 911 immediately;

· Never approach the suspect;

· Identify vehicle descriptions and license plates;

· Note physical descriptions of suspects; and

· Pinpoint the location where the suspicious behavior was observed.

“Florida experiences heightened wildfire danger in the spring, so it is especially important to remain alert right now for suspicious wildfire activity,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. “Citizens and visitors who report suspicious wildfire activity are an invaluable resource as we work together to stop arsonists and keep wildfires at bay.”

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than one million acres of public forest land while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. To learn more about Florida Forest Service programs, visit www.FloridaForestService.com

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visitwww.FreshFromFlorida.com


Apalachicola City Commission meets Tuesday at Battery Park

The Apalachicola Board of City Commissioners will hold their regular scheduled monthly meeting at 6:00 P.M. EDT, on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The will be held inside the Battery Park Community Center located at 1 Bay Avenue in Apalachicola.

Leading off on the agenda under recognition of visitors is Ginger Madewell, Chair of the Historic Apalachicola Home & Garden Tour to discuss the upcoming Tour scheduled for Saturday, May 6th. Following Madewell will be Carrie Kienzle, Chair of the Apalachicola Municipal Library Board with a request to change the name of the Apalachicola Municipal Library to the Margaret Key Library. Followed by Holly Brown with a request to implement a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the Farmer’s Market.

The commission will also be discussing the implementation of an appeal process for code violations and other routine monthly business.

As always the public is invited and encouraged to attend all meetings of the Apalachicola Board of City Commissioners to become informed concerning the operation of city government.


FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report April 22 through April 28, 2016

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.)

Division of Law Enforcement
FWC logo and law enforcement badge 
Weekly Report
April 22 through April 28, 2016
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.

Patrol, Protect, Preserve



Officers Hellett and Goodwin found a turkey bait site on a hunting lease near a shooting house. The bait (whole corn) was less than 50 yards away from the shooting house. The officers arrived early one morning and set up to observe the site. A subject arrived at daybreak and climbed into the shooting house. They observed the subject hold a turkey box call out the window of the shooting house attempting to call turkeys. They made contact with the subject and issued a citation for hunting turkey over bait and no turkey permit. The officers heard another shot near their location and located bait and turkey feathers consistent with a fresh harvest. Through investigative work, they located the other hunter and a freshly taken turkey. The subject admitted to taking the turkey over bait and was issued citations for the violation.


Officers Land and Cushing patrolled both state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard theFinCat, targeting illegal fishing activity.  The officers conducted numerous fishing inspections resulting in resource cases for possession of gag grouper during the closed season, possession of undersized triggerfish, possession of undersized amberjack, and possession of red snapper during the closed season.  All subjects were issued the appropriate paperwork for these violations.

Officers Land, Roberson, Cushing and USCG Boarding Officer Dziama patrolled both state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, aboard the FinCat, targeting illegal fishing activity.  The officers conducted numerous fishing inspections during the day, one of those resulting in several violations.  Prior to the officers boarding a recreational fishing vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection, the operator stated that he had some triggerfish and red snapper on board. Additionally, he stated that he knew red snapper was closed, but he didn’t know what to do with the ones he was catching. During the inspection, Officer Land discovered three undersized gray triggerfish in a cooler and a bag of red snapper fillets in the bottom of a bucket of ice with fishing gear piled on top.  The owner of this vessel was issued the appropriate citations for these violations.

Over the course of the week, Officers Manning and Allgood conducted resource and boating safety inspections in state and federal waters. They documented several violations including four misdemeanor notices to appear for possession of undersized triggerfish, undersized amberjack, and red snapper out of season. They also documented several other boating safety-related violations.

While conducting resource inspections near the Pensacola Pass, Officers Allgood and Manning noticed several signs of impairment from the operator of one vessel. These signs included a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, slurred speech, and glassy red eyes.  The operator agreed to perform several field sobriety tasks and performed poorly on them.  Officer Allgood placed the operator under arrest and transported him to the Escambia County Jail for boating under the influence (BUI).  The operator refused to give a breath sample.  This was the operator’s second arrest for BUI.


Officer Hutchinson received information about a group of people camping along the Escambia River and fishing illegally. He patrolled the river by vessel and made contact with three of the suspected violators.  He conducted a vessel stop and discovered several untagged bush hooks in the vessel.  While running the subjects’ information, he discovered that one of them had four outstanding warrants out of Escambia County.  He issued two written warnings for the bush hook violations and arrested the subject who had the warrant.

Officers Lewis and Ramos were on forest patrol in Blackwater River State Forest when they observed a group recreating around a campfire.  They observed the group cutting live vegetation and littering.  The officers heard a truck’s engine revving in a nearby parking area.  They observed the group around the campfire leave the area without extinguishing the campfire. The officers ran approximately a half mile toward the truck they heard.  When the parking area was in sight, Officer Lewis observed a truck spinning its tires and a “rooster tail” of sand coming up from beneath the vehicle.  He approached the truck and found a group a people around it.  He observed that the truck was immobile and dug large ruts in the parking lot.  Officer Lewis identified the truck’s driver.  The driver admitted that he was showing off and intentionally spun his truck’s tires.

Meanwhile, Officer Ramos intercepted the group that was around the campfire as they were heading toward the parking area where the truck was revving its engine.  The group around the campfire was with the group with the stuck vehicle.  Officer Lewis charged the truck’s owner with destruction of state lands by motor vehicle.  Both officers issued multiple citations for forestry violations including not extinguishing the campfire, cutting live vegetation, and littering.

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling in the Blackwater State Forest where he located a subject using a GPS to locate hunting dogs in the field trial area. He made contact with him and after further investigation discovered that he had six hunting dogs with him that were pursuing wildlife.  While he was talking to him, he smelled the odor of cannabis and found him in possession of cannabis cigarettes.  Officer Hutchinson charged him with hunting with dogs out of season and possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis.


Officers Brooks and H. Rockwell patrolled the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico to ensure compliance with bag and size limit regulations for pompano.  The officers made contact with 36 subjects fishing and answered questions about license requirements and fish regulations. Three subjects were found to have license violations of which two were issued warnings and the other cited.

Officer Pifer was on vessel patrol in the area of the Destin Pass when he observed a 15‑foot vessel with six individuals on board being operated under the Marler Bridge. The vessel appeared overloaded because the rub rail was touching the water. As Officer Pifer got closer, he could see approximately two-four inches of water inside the vessel. Officer Pifer identified the operator and instructed him to take his vessel to shore. Once ashore, Officer Pifer determined from the vessel’s capacity plate that the vessel was rated for four people. Also, multiple empty alcoholic beverage containers were observed in the vessel. During a boating safety inspection, the operator did not have the required number of personal flotation devices (PFDs) and signs of impairment were observed. A BUI investigation was conducted and the operator was subsequently arrested for BUI. At the U.S. Coast Guard Station (USCG) Destin, the operator provided a breath sample of 0.129 and 0.127. The operator was charged with BUI, operating a vessel over capacity, and insufficient PFDs.

Officers P. Rockwell, Pifer and Corbin were on offshore patrol in federal and state waters on the patrol vessel Vigilance.  The officers conducted a fisheries inspection on a charter boat in state waters.  The fisheries inspection revealed two undersized gray triggerfish.  The Captain/operator was issued a notice to appear citation.



Officers Pifer and Corbin were dispatched to two bear complaints, one in the Niceville area and the other in the Fort Walton Beach area.  When the officers arrived at both locations, they observed garbage cans knocked over and household trash spread throughout the yard and into the wooded area behind the residences.  The officers observed black bears eating the household trash.  At one of the homes, the officers and an FWC bear biologist attempted to scare the bear into the wooded area, but were unsuccessful. The bear eventually climbed up a tree.  At the other house, the officers successfully scared the bear back into the woods.  Both homeowners were given educational brochures and issued a non-compliance notification.



Officer Barnard and Investigator Livesay attended the Annual Kid’s Fishing Clinic in Pensacola.  Over 1,500 people attended the event where kids were given free fishing gear and an opportunity to fish at the Vince Whibbs Sr. Maritime Park.  Officer Barnard and Investigator Livesay provided educational material and answered questions.  They also provided assistance to a member of the public who was later transported by EMS to a local hospital.

Officers Manning and Allgood attended the Annual Hunt Club Meeting hosted by Lafloresta Perdida for hunt club members.  Lafloresta Perdida, a timber company, leases several thousands of acres to several different hunting clubs.  Issues that arose last hunting season were discussed.

Lieutenant Lambert and Officer McHenry attended the Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Event held at Marcus Point Baptist Church.  Several different local, state and federal agencies were in attendance.


Officer Lewis received a complaint regarding a hunter possibly illegally turkey hunting on a private field adjacent to the complainant’s property.  He located and checked the hunter and found no violations.  He then spoke with the complainant and explained turkey hunting rules and regulations on private lands.  Officer Lewis was fortunate to meet a landowner he had not met before and have a positive conversation, building a relationship between FWC and landowners.

Over the weekend, officers performed vessel safety inspections at local boat ramps.  To inform boaters of problems before they were underway, the officers performed the inspections prior to the vessels entering the water.  Several boaters were educated on boating safety regulations.


Big Bend Kayak Classic coming to Saint Marks


Agenda for May 3rd Franklin County Commission meeting


Sunday, May 1, 2016

May calendar for the Carrabelle branch of the Franklin County Public Library


Wakulla County to discuss one cent sales tax at Town Hall in St. Marks


Seahawk Scoop 5/2/16-5/8/16


Agenda for May 2nd Franklin county School Board meeting


Agenda for May 2nd Wakulla County Commission meeting


NW Florida red drum bag limit lowered to 1 fish starting May 1

The recreational red drum daily bag limit in the northwest red drum management zone (Escambia County through Fred Howard Park near Pasco County) will be lowered from two fish to one fish per person starting Sunday, May 1. All other red drum regulations remain the same, including the eight fish vessel limit.
Florida’s iconic red drum fishery has a high economic and social value in northwest Florida and is managed for abundance statewide in order to ensure a quality angler fishing experience.
In the past year, stakeholders have expressed concerns that red drum populations have declined in parts of the Panhandle since 2013, the final year of data included in the most recent stock assessment.
This change is a precautionary conservation measure. Staff will continue gathering public input on red drum populations and management statewide and the Commission will consider whether this region-wide bag limit reduction is appropriate as a long-term management measure when it reconvenes in June at Apalachicola.
Staff are also collecting public input in the northeast region of Florida, where stock assessment population estimates indicate numbers may have seen a decline at the conclusion of the assessment period (2013). The stock is still exceeding management goals in that area. 
Share your input on red drum by taking our statewide online survey or visiting the FWC Red Drum Forum Facebook page. 


Saturday, April 30, 2016

May calendar for the Eastpoint branch of the Franklin County Public Library


Franklin County Humane Society Pet of the Week

BESSIE is a 1 yr old Lab/Hound mix.  She is very social and gentle and gets along well with people and other dogs.  She has a sweet temperament and will make a great family pet.  This little girl is heartworm negative and will be spayed soon.  Looking for a pup without having to go through the "puppy" stage?  Bessie is a great option!

Volunteers are desperately needed to socialize all of our dogs and cats. We are always looking for people willing to bring one of our animals into their home to be fostered for various needs. Anytime you can spare would be greatly appreciated.
 Call Karen at 670-8417 for more details or visit the Franklin County Humane Society at 244 State Road 65 in Eastpoint.  You may logon to the website at www.forgottenpets.org to see more of our adoptable pets.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Kindergarten Roundup coming to the Franklin County School


Red Snapper season is only 9 days in federal waters this year

Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishermen in will get a 9-day fishing season in federal waters this year while charter captains will have 46 days to fish.
NOAA Fisheries made the announcement on Wednesday.
The 9 day recreational red snapper season is only in federal waters.
Fishermen can take red snapper in Florida state waters for 78 days this year and in Alabama state waters the red snapper season will be 46 days.
The federal red snapper season begins on June the 1st, it will end on June the 10th for recreational fishermen and on July the 17th for charter boats.
Florida’s season will open on Saturdays and Sundays starting May 7th and then open continuously from May 28th through July 10th.

The season will then reopen on weekends through September and October.


FWC could cancle 2016 Bay Scallop Season in Gulf County

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission might cancel the 2016 Bay scallop season in St. Joe Bay because of the impacts of a red tide bloom that occurred months ago.
A persistent red tide bloom plagued St. Joe Bay between October and December of last year.
The red tide dissipated in January.
The timing could not have been worse for bay scallops because red tide bloomed at the same time that scallops spawn and scallop larvae settle in the bay.
FWC said that as a result the local scallop population appears to have been heavily impacted, and may have collapsed.
Biologists say restricting the scallop harvest in all waters west of St. Vincent Island could help the St. Joseph Bay scallop population recover faster by ensuring that any scallops that did survive the red tide are available to reproduce this fall
Recreational bay scallop fishing is a huge draw for Gulf County during the summer months, so closing the season would have a big impact on the area.
FWC held a public meeting on the issue on Wednesday and said over 45 people attended; many offered suggestions on how to protect the scallop population without fully closing the bay scallop season.

FWC officials say they will consider the suggestions before making a final decision on the bay scallop season.


Snook to close in Gulf state and federal waters

Snook will close to all harvest in Gulf state, federal and inland waters, including all of Monroe County and Everglades National Park, starting May 1. Seasonal harvest closures conserve Florida’s valuable snook populations and help sustain and improve the fishery for the future.
Snook is open to harvest in Atlantic state, federal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, through May 31, closing June 1.
Both the Atlantic and Gulf will reopen for recreational snook harvest Sept. 1.
Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. Snook may be caught and released during the closed season. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages anglers to handle their catch carefully to help the fish survive upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about fish handling, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”
Learn more about recreational fishing at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater” and “Recreational Regulations.”


FWC's Fishing in the Know Monthly Newsletter

May 2016

FWC's Fishing in the Know

Division of Marine Fisheries Management Monthly Newsletter

Wahoo Sean Skakandy
Sean Skakandy and a wahoo.
Submit your photos by emailing them toSaltwater@MyFWC.com.

Commission Meeting Updates

Action: Marine Fisheries Management items discussed at April meeting in Jupiter
  • Federal fishery management updates
Regulatory changes:
  • Red drum daily bag limit in northwest management zone lowered to 1 fish per person starting May 1
  • Lionfish: Two-part removal program approved; startsMay 14
  • Red snapper (Gulf): Recreational season in state waters set to open Saturdays and Sundays in May starting May 7; then open May 28 through July 10continuously; and open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day
  • Reef fish: Modification of rules for species that have been removed from federal management
  • Gray triggerfish will likely close early in Gulf federal waters and if so, it will also close early in state waters.
Links for more information:
Agenda [MyFWC.com]
News Releases [MyFWC.com]
Red Drum Mike Foate

Red Drum

Action: Daily bag limit lowered to 1 in northwest zone
Information: The recreational daily bag limit in the northwest zone of Florida will be lowered from 2 to 1 startingMay 1. This zone is from Escambia County through Fred Howard Park near the border of Pasco and Pinellas counties. As a result of this change, the red drum bag limit will be 1 along the entire Gulf coast.
This is a precautionary measure. Staff will continue gathering public input on red drum populations and management through the end of May. The Commission will consider whether this region-wide bag limit reduction is appropriate as a long-term management measure at the June meeting in the Apalachicola area.
Links for more information:
Red Drum [MyFWC.com]
Red Drum Survey [MyFWC.com]
Facebook Page [Facebook.com/RedDrum2016]
Red Drum Zone Map

Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day

Action: Celebrate with us May 14 and 15
Information: Join the FWC in celebrating the second annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (Saturday, May 14) by attending one of many exciting events across the state including a festival 2-day in Pensacola and several statewide removal events.
Links for more information:

Lionfish Challenge

Action: Remove 50 lionfish, get rewarded
Information: Remove 50 or more lionfish between Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 14, 2016) and the end of September to get entered in the FWC’s Lionfish Challenge. The person who “checks in” the most lionfish will be crowned Florida’s Lionfish King or Queen. Visit MyFWC.com/Lionfish and click on “Lionfish Challenge” to learn more.
Links for more information:
Lionfish Challenge [MyFWC.com]

Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program

Action: Program in 7-county region focuses on lionfish removal
Information: For every 100 lionfish harvested from Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties, between May 2016 and May 2017, the harvester will be eligible to receive a tag allowing them to take either a legal-sized red grouper or a legal-sized cobia that is over the bag limit from state waters. The state will issue 100 red grouper and 30 cobia tags in total to successful participants in the pilot program. In addition, any person or group that harvests 500 or more lionfish during this one-year period will be given the opportunity to name an artificial reef.
Links for more information:

Red Snapper – Gulf State Season

Action: State recreational season starts in May
Information: Recreational season in state waters set to open Saturdays and Sundays in May starting May 7; then open May 28 through July 10 continuously; and open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day.
Links for more information:
Snapper [MyFWC.com]

Grouper - Atlantic

Action: Recreational season opens May 1
Information: The recreational season for gag, black, red, yellowmouth, yellowfin and tiger grouper; scamp; red hind; rock hind; coney; and graysby; opens May 1 in Atlantic state waters, including all of Monroe County.
Links for more information:
Groupers [MyFWC.com]

Snook - Gulf

Action: Season closes May 1
Information: Snook will close to all harvest in Gulf state, federal and inland waters, including all of Monroe County and Everglades National Park, starting May 1.  
Links for more information:
Snook [MyFWC.com]

Stone Crab

Action: Season closes May 16
Information: Recreational and commercial stone crab season closes May 16 in state waters.  
Links for more information:
Stone crab [MyFWC.com]


Commission Meeting

Red Drum

Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day

Lionfish Challenge

Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program

Red Snapper – Gulf

Grouper – Atlantic

Snook – Gulf

Stone Crab



State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf and from shore to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic.  
May 1 –
May 7 –
May 16 –
May 28 –
June 1 –
June 25 –

Sheepshead Susie Thompson
Susie Thompson with a sheepshead.



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