Friday, November 24, 2017

Come celebrate the holiday season in Apalachicola today

Apalachicola will be decked out in Christmas finery Friday for the Annual Historic Apalachicola Christmas Celebration.

The celebration officially opens at 4 in the afternoon, but Apalachicola businesses are open all day with great Christmas specials.

Beginning at 4, Apalachicola will celebrate Christmas with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree and the arrival of Santa Claus.

Santa Claus will arrive on a shrimp boat at the city docks on Water Street at 4:00 this afternoon.

He’ll spend the evening listening to children’s Christmas wishes.

There will also be carolers throughout downtown today and the Pam Noble dancers will put on a show at 430.

The Historic Raney House and the Orman House will also be decorated and open late for tours.

The annual Christmas celebration will end at 8 PM, though some businesses could remain open past that for your Christmas shopping convenience.

And while you're in town stop by the Apalachicola Center for History Culture and Art for their Holiday small works art exhibit and sale.

Saturday is a license-free saltwater fishing day for Florida residents and visitors

You won’t need a license to go saltwater fishing this Saturday. 

This Saturday, November 25th is a license-free saltwater fishing day for Florida residents and visitors.

Saltwater license-free fishing days allow anglers to fish for saltwater species without being required to have a saltwater recreational fishing license.

The hope is that people will like fishing so much that they will buy a fishing license in the future so they can keep doing it.

The free saltwater fishing day is part of the eight license-free fishing days the state offers each year.

All bag limits, seasons and size restrictions continue to apply on license-free fishing days.

Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce E-Newsletter for November 24th

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gov. Scott Announces License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day This Thanksgiving Weekend

NAPLES, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Saturday, November 25th will be a license-free saltwater fishing day. This Saturday is part of eight total days offered each year by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that allows residents and visitors to enjoy Florida’s many fishing opportunities without requiring a license.

Governor Scott said, “As Floridians gather with their loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving, this license-free fishing day is a great opportunity for families and visitors to enjoy our state’s great outdoors together. We are grateful to live in such a beautiful state with unique natural treasures that help attract record numbers of visitors, and I encourage all families to take advantage of the license-free saltwater fishing day this weekend.”

FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski said, “Whether at the table or on the water, Thanksgiving weekend is a perfect time to gather with friends and family. I am thankful for the opportunity to incentivize fishing in Florida and allow anglers to show friends and family, especially youth, the joys it offers.”

Saltwater license-free fishing days allow anglers to fish for saltwater species without being required to have a saltwater recreational fishing license. All bag limits, seasons and size restrictions apply on license-free fishing days. To learn more about license-free fishing days, visit For fishing tips, locations and other information

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This was a good year for nesting green sea turtles in Florida

State biologists say this was a very good year for nesting green sea turtles.

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have documented more than 39,000 green turtle nests on 27 beaches in the state in 2017.

The trend for green turtles shows an increase in nesting over the past 27 years.

In 1989, biologists documented only 464 green turtle nests.

In 2011, the nest count was over 10 thousand and in 2015 it was about 28 thousand nests.

The count represents about 68 percent of green sea turtle nests statewide.

FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet - Holiday hunting opportunities!

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FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

The latest hunting and conservation news and events from the 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Make a memory this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving conjures up wonderful memories of laughter around the table while passing platters of turkey, dressing and other favorite dishes. There are other traditions that create strong memories. Quail hunting behind a birdy pointer. Sunrise in a duck blind. Watching the woods from a treestand. The sights, smells and sounds of being afield are impossible to forget, especially when you experience it with someone special. We hope you have a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Florida this holiday season. Below we’ve listed resources to help you get started. And from our FWC family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
Giving thanks

Giving thanks for wild turkeys

Osceola subspecies
Florida’s thriving wild turkey populations are something to be thankful for! Out of the five North American subspecies of wild turkey, two are found in the Sunshine State – the Osceola and eastern. The Osceola subspecies can only be found here, making Florida a must-hunt destination for hunters pursuing their Grand Slam. Plus, wild turkey meat, which is leaner than store-bought birds, provides a tasty, clean-eating alternative for holiday feasts. There are opportunities right now for fall turkey hunting.

Online tools for deer hunters

Spend time with friends and family this Thanksgiving in the deer woods. Deer hunting opportunities are available now throughout the state. General gun seasons are open in the following zones:
Zone A: Nov. 18 – Jan. 7
Zone C: Nov. 4 – Jan. 21
Zone DNov. 23 – 26 and Dec. 9 – Feb. 18
Plus, muzzleloading gun season is open in Zone B from Nov. 18 to Dec. 1.
Make the most of your time with these tools:
Florida is blessed to have nearly 6 million acres of public hunting land. You can find wildlife management areas where you can hunt without a quota hunt permit. Don’t forget to check the open/closed status of WMAs (including roads, units and canals).
To help hunters get started, we’ve launched a new webpage where you can find information about season dates, regulations, hunter safety requirements, and where to go.
Locate counties with the highest antler scores and number of Buck Registry entries with this interactive deer map.
Check out the statewide rut map and rut maps by zones.
Brush up on antler regulations.

Start a small game hunting tradition

Squirrel hunting
Gray squirrel and rabbit seasons allow hunters to pass along time-honored skills and traditions to youth or adults new to hunting. Pursuing gray squirrel and rabbit provides a low-cost way to experience hunting and usually requires minimal planning and gear. Good rabbit and squirrel hunting areas can be found throughout Florida on private lands and wildlife management areas(WMAs) across the state. Before you go, check out the open/closed status of WMAs (including roads, units and canals).
Get started now! We have a new gray squirrel and rabbit hunting webpage with the information you need, including tips, season dates and where to hunt.

Quail season is in full swing

Quail hunters yearning to experience the explosion of a covey rise should round up their best dogs and go! Hunting season for northern bobwhite or bobwhite quail runs through March 4statewide.
Learn about northern bobwhites.

Try dove hunting this Thanksgiving

Hunting mourning and white-winged doves is one of the best ways for friends and family, including youth, to spend quality time afield. Socializing during the hunt is part of the fun. Sharing a meal of dove breasts after the hunt also makes it special.
Check out the newly updated dove hunting webpage for need-to-know regulations, hunting tips, and where to find a FWC-managed dove field. Then make plans to hunt the second phase of dove season, which runs through Dec. 4.

Now is the time for waterfowl hunting

Duck hunt
On Thanksgiving, many will greet the day in a duck blind. The regular season for ducks, coots, and light geese opened Saturday, Nov. 18 and runs through Nov. 26, 2017, and reopens Dec. 9, 2017, to Jan. 28, 2018. The regular season for Canada goose runs Nov. 18 - Nov. 26, 2017, and Dec. 1, 2017 - Jan. 30, 2018.
Florida is a great place to hunt ducks and geese. Waterfowl habitat covers vast expanses of Florida and waterfowl populations are robust and healthy.
Hunters who harvest banded ducks will only be able to report banded birds online beginning this season. In the past, waterfowl hunters had the option to report banded ducks by calling a toll-free phone number. Eliminating the telephone option will provide more accurate data, and you’ll have immediate access to a printable certificate and banding information. Plus, it will save money that can be used for banding-related research and management projects.

Triple N Ranch Shooting Range is open!

Triple N
For those who enjoy target shooting, the Triple N Ranch Shooting Range is another reason to be thankful. Located south of Kissimmee/St. Cloud in Osceola County, this new FWC-managed public range opened Nov. 18. It features a fully automated 19-station sporting clays course, multiple-position rifle and handgun ranges, and a classroom for hunter safety students. Triple N Ranch Shooting Range was developed to accommodate a growing demand for facilities where people can safely enjoy target shooting. Its location next to Forever Florida adds another exciting recreational opportunity to Osecola County.
The range was established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in partnership with Osceola County using Wildlife Restoration Program funds. Additional support and funding was provided by Osceola County, the National Rifle Association, and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.

Short Cuts

Tips for treestand safety

When hunting from a treestand, remember to ALWAYS: 
- Use a fall-arrest system/full-body harness.
- Stay connected to the tree from the time you leave the ground until you’re back down.
- Inspect the treestand, all safety devices and the fall-arrest system/full-body harness before each use.
Get more tips through this FREE, fast and easy-to-understand treestand safety course.

Sign up for a hunter safety course

Hunter safety courses cover firearms safety, wildlife conservation, responsible hunting and more. Students can attend a no-cost traditional classroom course. Or they can complete the classroom portion online. FWC’s website offers several online courses including a FREE option. After the online classroom portion is complete, students must sign up and attend a skills day.

NOAA Fisherie FishNews – November 22, 2017

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NOAA Fish News
November 22, 2017
Editor's Note: Happy Thanksgiving and think outside the bird! Consider bringing both land and sea to the dinner table this year. Here are some dishes featuring sustainable seafood managed in the United States.


Bluefin Tuna
An Atlantic bluefin tuna strikes. Credit:Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel/TAG A Giant
The United States and other countries from around the world tackled management challenges for tunas, swordfish and sharks at the 2017 annual meeting of ICCAT that concluded November 21, in Marrakech, Morocco. This year, more than 700 delegates representing 47 members gathered to discuss a number of important measures that advance the sustainable management of these valuable species.

JPSS Satellite v2
Fisheries Scientists to Benefit from New Satellite
Meteorologists are not the only ones who rely on environmental satellites. Marine biologists, fishery managers, and coastal habitat planners need satellites to track changes in ocean color and temperature that provide important clues to our living marine resources. Learn more about how NOAA Fisheries will benefit from the new Joint Polar Satellite System that launched Saturday, November 18.

Fisheries Finance Program Loan Applications
NOAA Fisheries’ Fisheries Finance Program (FFP) is currently accepting loan applications. The FFP can provide long term financing for the cost of construction or reconstruction of fishing vessels, fisheries facilities, and aquaculture facilities, as well as individual fishing quota in the Pacific Halibut/Sablefish and Bering Sea Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries. Contact the Financial Services branch offices in Gloucester, St. Petersburg, or Seattle for more information on how to apply.

MAFAC Collage
Reminder: MAFAC Nominations Due Monday
NOAA Fisheries seeks to fill current and pending vacancies on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, which advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resources matters under the Department of Commerce. Applications are due next Monday, November 27.

NOAA Fisheries' New Chief Information Officer
NOAA Fisheries announced the appointment of Roy Varghese as the new Chief Information Officer for Fisheries. As CIO, Roy will continue the work of leading NOAA Fisheries and its regions and science centers in all areas of information management and technology.

West Coast

Veteran Interns 2017
Two Veterans Begin Internships at NOAA Fisheries
Two veterans will began internships this month with researchers from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Watershed Program at Mukilteo Research Center. This marks the second year of a unique program created through a partnership between NOAA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Veterans Conservation Corps.

Pacific Islands

Monk Seal Photo Contest Winner
Hawaiian Monk Seal Photo Contest Winners
The Pacific Islands Regional Office announced the winners of the first-ever Hawaiian Monk Seal Photo Contest. Two winners were chosen from each of the following eight categories: Coexistence with Hawaii’s Native Seal, Moms and Pups, Seal-Seal Interaction, Strike a Pose, Monk Seals in their Settings, Surf and Swim, Threats to Survival, and Monument Insight.

Monk Seal November
November’s Monk Seal of the Month
The Monk Seal of the Month for November is Kaimana, the first monk seal born in Waikiki. Kaimana spent 6 weeks with her mother, Rocky, on the crowded Waikiki beach, with lots of attention. NOAA Fisheries decided such a populated area would be a risky place for a young pup, so shortly after she was weaned, researchers relocated her to a new home.


Greater Amberjack illustration
Greater Amberjack Rule – Open for Comment
By December 5, please submit your comments on a proposed rule for commercial and recreational management measures for greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico. The rule would modify the annual catch limits and targets for 2018 and beyond, as well as set a new time frame for rebuilding the greater amberjack stock.

Fishery Bulletins icon
Reminder: Paperless Fishery Bulletins Available
NOAA Fisheries offers three ways to receive your fishery bulletins, which contain fishing regulation information and are typically referred to as “the blue sheets.” Paper bulletins are available by mail, but paperless include electronic bulletins via email or text message.

Greater Atlantic

NE boats
Northeast Fishery Sector IX Operations Plan Withdrawn Due to Non-ComplianceNOAA Fisheries withdrew approval of the 2017 and 2018 Northeast Fishery Sector IX operations plan. The Regional Administrator determined that the sector and its participants have not complied with the requirements of their approved operations plan, and that the continuation of the Sector IX operations plan will undermine achievement of the conservation and management objectives of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This action follows the guilty plea and sentencing of Mr. Carlos Rafael, a major participant in Sector IX, who admitted to falsely reporting catch information.

American lobster v2
Proposed Rulemaking for American Lobster – Open for Public Comment
By December 15, please submit your comments on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for the American lobster fishery. NOAA Fisheries seeks comments on the American lobster control date, proposed changes to lobster trap gear marking requirements, and a provision to allow substitute vessels to fish lobster traps for federally permitted, but inoperable, vessels.

Lobster Collage
Meet GARFO’s American Lobster Policy Analyst
Meet Peter Burns, a policy analyst in the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office who takes the lead on lobster policy. Peter works with the fishing industry, scientists, state agencies, and others to develop management plans for American lobster, which is managed by the states under the Atlantic Coastal Act. NOAA Fisheries enacts regulations in federal waters designed to complement state regulations and support the management plan.

Ribbed Mussels
Ribbed Mussels Could Help Improve Water Quality
A new study found that ribbed mussels, native to the East Coast, could help improve water quality in coastal urban locations by removing nitrogen and other excess nutrients. The findings are part of long-term efforts to improve water quality in New York City’s Bronx River Estuary.

Miniboat West
Miniboat Launches Connect Students and Teachers Across the Atlantic
Three 5-foot miniboats fitted with sails and GPS tracking devices were launched off Portugal’s Madeira Island on November 13 for their latest voyage westward. Built by students in New Jersey, Maine, and Portugal, the miniboats are part of an international regatta aiming to have boats completely circle the North Atlantic Ocean.

Milford Korean Collaboration
Milford Lab Collaborates with Korean Colleagues 
Since its founding almost 100 years ago, NOAA’s Milford Laboratory in Connecticut has fostered relationships between its scientists, government and academic partners, the shellfish industry, and international organizations. Read a spotlight on the connection between the Milford Lab and South Korea’s National Institute of Fisheries Science.


November 28 (Rescheduled from September) Free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in Panama City, Florida.
November 28–30
Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) meeting
in Silver Spring, Maryland.
November 30
(Rescheduled from September) Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Panama City, Florida.
December 5
Quantitative Ecology and Socioeconomics Training (QUEST) webinar on Incorporating Ecosystem and Economic Models into Management Strategy Evaluation.
December 7
Public hearing in Honolulu on proposed critical habitat designation for main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales.
December 11–14
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.


November 22
Nominations due for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel.
November 27
Nominations due for the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.
December 4
Application and required vessel information due for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 2018 Shark Research Fishery.
December 21
Proposals due for the 2018/2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside Program.
December 22
Nominations due for the 2018 National Wetlands Awards.
January 22
Applications due for position of Director of Science and Research, Alaska Region.
February 23
Applications due for the 2018 NOAA Fisheries-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program.

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