FWC News Release
Contacts: (inland issues) Henry Cabbage 850-488-8843
(marine issues) Lee Schlesinger 850-487-0554

Agenda (with links to background reports)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet at the Marriott Key Largo Dec. 5-6.

Commissioners will consider final approval of the Florida Manatee Management Plan during the Wednesday (Dec. 5) session. If the plan passes, it will mark the first time the FWC has had a comprehensive management plan that lays out all the realistic measures the state can take to nurture the species away from the threat of extinction. The plan also includes measurable goals for the manatee’s recovery.

Also up for consideration on Wednesday are rules to reclassify manatees from endangered to threatened on the state’s imperiled species list.

Commissioners also will hear an update on a proposed management plan and associated rules concerning the bald eagle Wednesday. Final action on those proposals will take place at a later meeting.

Wednesday’s agenda also includes consideration of the 1,148-acre Dunham Ranch in Polk County as a mitigation park and acquisition of the 1,652-acre Lucky L Ranch in Osceola County as an addition to the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area.

During Thursday’s session, the first item of business is election of the Commission’s new chairman and vice chairman for 2008.

After that, Commissioners will consider final adoption of rules that will place the FWC’s due process procedures and delegations of authority in the Florida Administrative Code and make them more available to the public.

In addition, the Thursday agenda includes final action on captive wildlife regulation proposals. This includes bonding for exhibition of venomous reptiles and other financial responsibilities or bonding for exhibition of Class I wildlife, which are considered potentially dangerous. The rules also require procedures for reporting animals that escape from their facilities or while away from those facilities.

Concerning marine issues on Thursday, Commissioners will review and discuss a series of draft rule proposals from the FWC’s Spiny Lobster Advisory Board. The board’s proposals include ending the spiny lobster trap reduction schedule, allowing commercial lobster trappers to place their traps in the water the day after the two-day sport season, allowing two different spiny lobster endorsement holders to pull traps from the same vessel, reverting trap certificates not paid for to the FWC after two years instead of three and prohibiting the harvest of any egg-bearing females of all lobster species.

Also, the Commission will review and discuss a proposed rule that would modify the legal dimensions for black sea bass traps to allow more flexibility in the size and shape of these traps.

In other marine fisheries actions, Commissioners will review and discuss the proposed Division of Marine Fisheries Management work plan for 2008-09 and ways to better incorporate FWC input into the federal fisheries management process.

The Commission also will consider various federal fisheries management issues, including management alternatives for Atlantic gag grouper and vermilion snapper and Gulf gag and red grouper, amberjack and gray triggerfish.

The Marriott Key Largo is at Mile Marker 104 on the Overseas Highway, and FWC meetings are open to the public. The meeting will convene at 8:30 a.m. both days.

Anyone requiring special accommodation to take part in the meeting due to a disability can arrange assistance by calling 850-488-6411 at least five days in advance. Hearing- or speech-impaired persons can arrange assistance by calling 850-488-9542.

The complete agenda is available at http://MyFWC.com/commission/2007/Dec07/index.html