Monday, November 19, 2018

Congressman Neal Dunn has introduced legislation to ease the financial burden on people who were devastated by Hurricane Michael

Congressman Neal Dunn has introduced legislation to ease the financial burden on people who were devastated by Hurricane Michael.

The Hurricane Michael Tax Relief Act would allow individuals affected by Hurricane Michael penalty-free early access to their retirement savings and help employers and businesses within the disaster area. 

Specifically, the bill allows for penalty free withdrawals from retirement plans, and makes it easier to qualify for personal casualty loss deductions.

It also provides tax relief to help businesses retain employees, temporarily suspends limitations on charitable contributions associated with hurricane relief, and grants taxpayers the option to refer to earned income from the previous year for determining the Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.

The bill would affect counties that are currently approved for federal disaster assistance or in the major disaster area declared by the President.

The bill has been cosponsored by Congressman Al Lawson, whose district was also ravaged by the storm.

The legislation mirrors the same tax relief that was extended to victims of the 2017 storms.

Area 1642 of the Apalachicola Bay will close to oyster harvesting at sunset today

Area 1642 of the Apalachicola Bay will close to oyster harvesting at sunset today.
Area 1642 is the conditionally approved winter east bar – it includes Cat Point and East Hole.
The area is being closed because of high river levels.
The Apalachicola River crested at 19.6 feet on Sunday, over 2 feet above flood stage.
Once river levels fall, state officials will take water samples from the area and reopen when the water quality allows.

This is the second closure in the past few days – area 1622, the Conditionally Approved Winter West Shellfish Harvest Area, was closed on Saturday.

Reminder of New Requirements for Commercial Reef Fish Permitted Vessels

This NOAA Fishery Bulletin is forwarded as a courtesy to our subscribers:

CONTACT: Sustainable Fisheries Division (727) 824-5305

Reminder of New Requirements for Commercial
Reef Fish Permitted Vessels
  • In June 2018, NOAA Fisheries implemented new requirements to improve compliance and increase management flexibility in the Gulf of Mexico individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs.
  • One change requires all owners or operators of a commercial reef fish permitted vessel to land reef fish at locations pre-approved by NOAA Fisheries' Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), beginning January 1, 2019. A list of currently approved landing locations and a map can be found on the Catch Share website (select view landings locations).
  • All owners or operators of a commercial reef fish permitted vessel landing any commercially caught, federally managed reef fish from the Gulf of Mexico will be required to provide an advance notice of landing at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, prior to landing.
  • This applies even if the reef fish landed are not part of the IFQ program.
  • Landing must occur at approved landings locations. See below for information on submitting landing locations for approval.
  • One issue identified in a 5-year review of the red snapper IFQ program was additional enforcement efforts are needed to deter violations in the program.
Extending the landing notification requirement to all commercial reef fish trips should help to deter fishermen from illegally landing IFQ species or reporting IFQ species as another species (e.g., red snapper reported as vermilion snapper).
With this requirement, law enforcement and port agents will be alerted in advance of all reef fish trips returning to port and can meet vessels to inspect landings.

Landing notifications can be made through the vessel monitoring system (VMS) required for federally permitted commercial reef fish vessels or through a call service 24-hour support line.
Notifications can be submitted by other NMFS-approved methods in the future (e.g., by website) if they are developed.
Landing notifications need to be made at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, prior to landing.

A vessel can land anytime during the day and night, provided that a landing notification has been given between 3 to 24 hours prior to landing.
A vessel must land within 1 hour after the arrival time given in the landing notification. If a vessel is going to arrive more than 1 hour after the noticed arrival time, a new notification with an updated arrival time must be submitted. The captain is not required to wait an additional 3 hours if only one superseding landing notification has been submitted for the trip, the landing location has not changed, and the vessel is not moving to an earlier landing time.
Vessels are allowed to land prior to the 3-hour landing notification time of arrival if an authorized officer is present, is available to meet the vessel at the landing site, and authorizes the owner or operator of the vessel to land early.
Fishermen only need to notify law enforcement in advance of landing, not offloading.
The landing notification must provide the vessel identifier (name and official vessel registration), date and time of expected landing, expected landing location, and certification that there are no IFQ species on board the vessel.
Landing locations must be on NOAA Fisheries' pre-approved landing location list.
This does not change the landing notification required by the IFQ program. If the vessel is landing IFQ species, they must submit a landing notification following the IFQ regulations.

A list of currently approved landing locations and a map can be found on the Catch Share website (select view landings locations).
If your landing location is on this list, you do not need to submit a new landing location.
If your landing location is not on the list, then you must submit a new landing location.
New landing locations must be submitted by December 1, 2018, in order to ensure they are approved before January 1, 2019.
Landing locations must be submitted by mailing a form to 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701.
The form can be obtained here.
The landing location submission must contain a contact name and phone number, a location name, and the location's street address, unless there is no street address on record. If a particular landing location has no street address on record, global positioning system (GPS) coordinates for an identifiable geographic location must be provided in decimal degrees.
Landing locations must be publicly accessible by land and water. No conditions may impede free and immediate access to the site by an authorized law enforcement officer or port agent. Examples of impeding conditions include, but are not limited to: A locked gate, fence, wall, or other barrier preventing 24-hour access to the site; a gated community entry point; a guard animal; a posted sign restricting access to the site; or any other physical deterrent. When approving locations, other criteria also may be used by the Office of Law Enforcement to identify impediments to access.
New landing locations will be approved only at the end of each calendar-year quarter. To have a landing location approved by the end of the calendar-year quarter, it must be submitted at least 45 days before the end of the calendar-year quarter. Quarters end on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.
Landing locations must be approved in advance to ensure the sites actually exist and law enforcement agents can access these sites. The landing notification requirement is intended to provide law enforcement officers the opportunity to be present at the point of landing so they can monitor and enforce IFQ requirements dockside.
Landing locations are approved by NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement.
More information on landing locations, how to submit a new landing location, and general information on the IFQ program can be found at the SERO website.

About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.     
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It's time to get your flu shot

Flu season is here and local health departments are urging all residents to get vaccinated.

Its recommended that everyone get a flu shot every year- especially people with weakened immune systems or long term health problems, as well as pregnant women and residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities.

Flu shots are also strongly recommended for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.

Flu vaccines are available at the health departments in Gulf and Franklin counties Monday through Friday by appointment.

If you’d like to schedule a flu vaccination, you can call the health department in Apalachicola at 653 -2111 or in Port St. Joe at 227-1276.

The shots are also available from many pharmacies and from your doctor's office.

Other steps to take during flu season include washing your hands often with soap and water.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, because that’s how germs spread.

And cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze to keep from spreading germs to other people.

Agenda for November 20th Franklin County Commission meeting

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Renters Facing Eviction in Florida May Be Eligible for Federal Help

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida renters who face eviction or have been evicted from their storm-damaged rental homes or apartments — whether the dwelling had damage or not — may be eligible for disaster assistance from FEMA.

There are several ways to apply: 
  • Go online to 
  • Call FEMA at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) anytime from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
  • Visit a disaster recovery center. Survivors may visit any center to receive one-on-one help. To find a center, go to  
Renters who already registered for federal assistance and were later evicted due to damage should take the eviction notice to a disaster recovery center. 

Survivors who cannot afford an attorney may call the Florida Bar Disaster Hotline at (866) 550-2929. Find more information at

Displaced renters and home owners from Bay, Gulf and Jackson counties who need a safe place to stay while searching for longer-term housing may be eligible for short-term sheltering stays paid by FEMA. Visit 

Renters may be eligible for grants from FEMA to help with disaster-related expenses such as:
  • Renting a home when the renter’s previous one is unsafe due to the disaster, or his/her apartment complex is under repair.
  • Moving and storage fees.
  • Repair or replacement of vehicles damaged by the disaster.
Those who have HUD rental assistance may receive FEMA help to pay for a place to live until:
  • They relocate back to public housing.
  • They relocate back to the private housing that provides HUD assistance.
  • They sign a lease with a private property owner using a Section 8 voucher.
When the survivor moves back into a HUD-assisted residence or signs a new lease for a rental housing under the Section 8 program, HUD assistance resumes. At that point, the survivor may no longer receive FEMA assistance.

The grants are not loans and do not have to be repaid. They are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and several other programs. 

The president’s disaster declaration for Hurricane Michael designated 12 counties for Individual Assistance: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington.

FEMA wants to make sure that every disaster survivor has equal access to information and assistance. Renters who are deaf or hard of hearing may view a video on available assistance: FEMAAssistanceAvailable .

Draft Agenda Outline for November 19th Wakulla County Commission meeting

NOAA Fisheries FishNews – November 14, 2018

NOAA Supports Veterans, Community-Based Restoration Grants, and More

NOAA Fish News
November 14, 2018
Note from the Editor: Our thoughts are with the people and communities affected by the wildfires in California. A heart-felt thank you to all responders, including our veterans, who have been lending their assistance to fight fires and come to the aid of so many in need.


Veteran Corps by the numbers
Veterans' Day 2018
NOAA Fisheries supports our veterans and thanks them for their service and continued contributions to our communities and our planet.

Veteran Corps by the numbers 2
NOAA Veterans Corps: Success By the NumbersLearn how the NOAA Veterans Corps provides opportunities for veterans to build their skills while they help conserve endangered salmon and steelhead in California. Thank you veterans for your service to the nation, and for your dedicated work restoring important habitat for endangered salmon and steelhead.

White Abalone SAFE
Mission Abalone: Veterans Help Restore White AbaloneWhile NOAA’s California Veterans Corps members are typically deployed to local streams to help restore and monitor endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead, lately they’ve taken on another mission—restoring endangered white abalone. Veterans Corps members are supporting NOAA’s work on a pilot effort building short-term abalone fixed enclosures.

Innovative GulfCorps Program Kicks Off Year TwoNOAA and partners hosted orientations for nearly 100 new GulfCorps members—veterans and underserved youth who will receive hands-on job training and employment in habitat restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. Now in its second year, the program is doubling the number of crews that will work on restoration projects across the five Gulf states.

Coral Reef Conservation Program Strategic Plan
NOAA's Vision for Resilient Coral Reef EcosystemsNOAA has released a new Coral Reef Conservation Program Strategic Plan (pdf, 7.31 MB), which will guide the program’s future coral research, conservation, and restoration efforts from 2018 to 2040. The strategic plan outlines strategies to address the three main threats to coral reefs—climate change, fishing impacts, and pollution—and it adds restoration as a new focus.

Pacific Marine Expo NOAA booth
Visit NOAA at the Pacific Marine Expo in SeattleEach year, several NOAA line offices serving our seafood harvesting industry join together to provide a one-NOAA, one-stop shop at the Pacific Marine Expo (booth #915). Joined by our colleagues from Weather, Charting and Enforcement, staff from NOAA Fisheries Alaska and West Coast Regions and Science Centers will be on hand November 18–20 to answer questions and provide programmatic updates. We hope to see you there!

West Coast

Deep Sea Coral in West Coast Sanctuaries
Deep-Sea Habitats in West Coast SanctuariesDeep-sea habitats in the National Marine Sanctuaries off the West Coast are home to vibrant deep-sea coral and sponge communities. Visit this Story Map to learn more about the locations and unique ecology of deep-sea corals.

Pacific Islands

Marine Debris team
Marine Debris Team Does the Heavy LiftingNOAA’s Marine Debris Team removed more than 160,000 pounds of lost or abandoned fishing nets and plastics from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, an ecologically and culturally significant area that is part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.


Cobia illustration DP
Atlantic Cobia Management – Open for CommentBy December 10, please submit your comments on a proposed amendment and rule for Atlantic group cobia. Because the majority of Atlantic cobia landings are in state waters, Amendment 31 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery Management Plan would remove Atlantic cobia from federal fisheries management and place it under the purview of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Atlantic sturgeon
Help NOAA Help Sturgeon by Reporting SightingsReporting encounters with endangered Atlantic sturgeon, alive or dead, provides valuable information to NOAA scientists anxious to learn more about where sturgeon live, their daily movements, and threats they face. Photos and information about where you saw the fish, its size, and its condition are all helpful.

Greater Atlantic

Black Sea Bass illustration
Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Fisheries – Open for Public CommentBy November 30, please submit your comments on proposed 2019 specifications for the summer flounder and black sea bass fisheries. NOAA Fisheries would maintain previously established specifications for the scup fishery.

Connecticut marsh
Connecticut Hazardous Waste Site Restoration Plan – Open for Public CommentBy December 11, please submit your comments on the draft restoration plan and environmental assessment for two hazardous waste sites in Connecticut. NOAA and co-trustees are coordinating the restoration actions for the two sites to propose a suite of salt marsh restoration projects at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

Atlantic herring illustration
New England Industry-Funded Monitoring – Open for Public CommentBy December 24, please submit your comments on NOAA Fisheries’ proposal to standardize the development and administration of future industry-funded monitoring programs for New England Fishery Management Council fishery management plans and to establish industry-funded monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery.

Right whale and calf
Adult Female Right Whales Key to RecoveryIn a recent study, NOAA Fisheries researchers and colleagues concluded that preserving the lives of adult female North Atlantic right whales is by far the most effective way to promote right whale population growth and recovery. Entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with ships are hindering North Atlantic right whale population recovery.

Volunteer pilots
Volunteer Pilots Fly Rescued Sea Turtles SouthEvery winter, sea turtles stunned by cold temperatures strand on Massachusetts beaches. Stranding network responders triage the rescued sea turtles and then treat them for hypothermia and injuries. This month, volunteer pilots flew the first recovered sea turtles south to North Carolina for their release into warmer waters.

Chesapeake Bay buoy
High Rainfall, Lower Salinity in the Chesapeake BayThe Chesapeake Bay watershed experienced higher-than-average rainfall in 2018, leading to record amounts of water flowing into the bay. Scientists are working to understand the impacts of this increased rainfall—and subsequent decreased salinity—on the bay’s living resources.

Phytoplankton microscope
New Project to Focus on Ocean PhytoplanktonNOAA Fisheries scientists and their colleagues are working to determine how microscopic algae, also known as phytoplankton, absorb and scatter light, and how the colors of the phytoplankton can be better identified and measured by satellite sensors. This will help improve the quality of data collected by satellites more than 500 miles above the ocean surface.

Northeast Fisheries Science Highlights NewsletterThe Northeast Fisheries Science Center has launched a new electronic newsletter, Science Highlights, for regional NOAA Fisheries science news. View the latest issue online, or subscribe directly here.


November 15
ree Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshop in Kenner, Louisiana.
November 15
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
November 15–16
United States–Japan Natural Resources Panel on Aquaculture Scientific Symposium in Mystic, Connecticut.
November 15–December 13
Four information sessions on the South Atlantic for-hire electronic reporting programin Florida and North Carolina, and via webinar.
November 18–20
Visit NOAA (booth #915) at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.
November 19–December 18Four information webinars on federal for-hire electronic reporting in the South Atlantic, hosted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
December 3–7
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
December 3–11
North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage.
December 3 and 13
Two f
ree Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in North Carolina and New York.
December 4–6
New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Newport, Rhode Island.
December 10–13
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.
December 12
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Largo, Florida.


November 30
Online application period closes for NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program.
December 1
Nominations due for membership on the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee.
December 1
Applications due for participation in the 2019 Atlantic shark research fishery.
December 14
Nominations due for the 30thAnnual National Wetlands Awards.

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