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Tag Archives: FWC

FWC furthers lionfish control measures, prohibits lionfish aquaculture

At a Sept. 10 meeting in Kissimmee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) acted to prohibit lionfish aquaculture. Lionfish are an invasive species that have a negative impact on native fish and habitat. The changes will go into effect by Dec. 1. Updates will be available at MyFWC.com/Lionfish. Management changes were developed in coordination with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and include: Prohibiting the harvest and possession of lionfish eggs and larvae for any purpose other than destruction; Prohibiting the intentional breeding of lionfish in captivity. A scientific research exception will allow permitted research institutions to ... Read More »

Rescuing Skipper: A Dolphin Explorer Tale

About an hour after the Dolphin Explorer’s Bob Erickson and Meredith Barnard spotted Halfway and Skipper in Little Marco Pass, the cavalry arrived, complete with a net boat captained by Larry Fulford, a commercial fisherman with more than 30 years experience with dolphin capture and release efforts.

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Finding one specific dolphin in the waters around Marco Island is akin to looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. At least that is what I thought on the morning of Sept. 4 when I set out with researchers from Sea Excursion’s 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project to find one female baby dolphin whose tail had somehow become entangled with a foot of wire leader from a fishing rig. These same researchers were the ones who spotted the baby dolphin — Skipper — and her entanglement in early August while aboard one of their Dolphin ... Read More »

DEP to Host Gulf Recovery Webinar

Submitted Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host a Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) funding and projects webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 1 PM. The webinar is part of the ongoing efforts to restore and recover the economies of the Gulf Coast states impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council recently announced the process by which council members may submit projects for funding consideration under the council-selected restoration component. The submission window for ... Read More »

FWC recommends Collier County residents take steps to protect small livestock from panthers

Because of recent incidents of Florida panthers taking small livestock in Golden Gates Estates, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is cautioning Collier County residents to take the necessary precautions to properly shelter animals such as goats, sheep, calves, pigs, donkeys and chickens. “The best way for people to protect small livestock is to keep them in a secure, fenced enclosure with a roof, especially at night,” said FWC panther team leader Darrell Land. “Panther depredations on animals in backyards can be prevented, and we encourage Golden Gate Estates residents to take the necessary steps to protect their ... Read More »

FWC, partners see ultimate coral reef-building success

Researchers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) observed transplanted nursery-raised staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) spawning for the first time this month at Tropical Rocks, just over 4 miles offshore of Marathon. These corals were supplied by the Coral Restoration Foundation and Mote Marine Lab nurseries and outplanted by the FWC. The project was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via The Nature Conservancy. The FWC, in collaboration with the Conservancy and other American Recovery and Reinvestment Act partners, began construction on the Middle Keys coral nursery in late 2009 but suffered setbacks due to ... Read More »

Public sightings of Florida panthers, bears going strong, helping FWC biologists

When someone catches sight of a panther or black bear and reports it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the agency’s biologists may use that sighting to help research and manage those species. Already, the public’s willingness to report where they see panthers and black bears in Florida is having a positive impact on what is known about where these large mammals live and reproduce in the state. Based on two years of online public reporting of panther sightings and nearly one year ofonline reports of bear sightings, biologists know more about what areas of Florida provide viable habitat ... Read More »

Facebook.com/KidsGetAPlan. Black bear curriculum teaches kids about wildlife, meets Florida education standards

Giving schoolchildren a chance to learn all about Florida black bears is a great way to teach them about wildlife, while sharpening their skills in reading, math, science and problem solving. For that reason, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has updated its Florida Black Bear Curriculum, and put it online for the first time atBlackBearInfo.com. The revised Florida Black Bear Curriculum is free, easy for teachers to use, and meets the new Florida Standards for educational curricula. The curriculum offers 10 lessons on topics such as “The Black Bear Necessities” and “Oh Where, Oh Where is the Florida Black Bear?” ... Read More »

Goodland Gator

‘Ray the Trapper’ attempts to snag the Goodland gator, who made no appearance that day.  PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinda@coastalbreezenews.com There’s a new predator in town, and he’s causing quite a stir. An alligator rumored to be at least eight feet long has been trolling the canals and causing unease amongst Goodland residents. Buzz about frequent sightings has been swirling for a few weeks now, but following a recent uncomfortably close encounter, a call notifying the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was placed. On Aug. 4, Ray Simonsen Sr., one of Collier County’s four nuisance alligator trappers, came down to assess the situation. “With the influx of fresh water sheeting, and the end of ... Read More »

Red tide causes large fish kill in northeast Gulf of Mexico

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has confirmed a large-scale offshore fish kill in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Citizens have reported observations of thousands of dead and dying bottom-dwelling reef fish, including grouper, hogfish, white grunt, triggerfish and snapper, as well as sea turtles and crabs, to the FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline. Water quality is poor in the region with several reports of black water. On July 23, FWC Law Enforcement took scientists to collect fish, water samples and water quality data from six locations offshore of Hernando County. Sample analysis confirmed a bloom of the Florida ... Read More »

Be a Hero! Help rescue manatees, sea turtles by getting FWC decals

“Be a Hero!” by getting decals that help with the research, rescue, rehabilitation and management of Florida’s endangered manatees and sea turtles. People can receive a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manatee or sea turtle decal, and show their support for saving these iconic Florida species, with a donation of $5. Rescues of manatees and sea turtles that are injured, ill or otherwise in distress are one of the many FWC conservation activities supported by decal donations. The new editions of the decals are originally designed works of art, and available now at local tax collectors’ offices across the ... Read More »

Managing Black Bears in Florida

PHOTOS COURTESY OF FWC

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Most Southwest Floridians are well aware of the wide variety of wildlife that lives amongst them. Alligators, panthers and manatees, oh my! Not to mention, the vast array of lizards, birds, squirrels, bob cats and raccoons scurrying on land and the wide assortment of fish swimming under water. The largest of the furry creatures — the Florida Black Bear — has been the focus of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for the last month. The FWC launched its new Florida Black Bear Management Plan, introducing Southwest Floridians to it through three public ... Read More »

FWC provides guidance on enhanced boating safety legislation

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced changes that were made by the Florida Legislature and approved by the governor to divers-down flag requirements. House Bill 1049, by Rep. Raschein and Sen. Abruzzo, created an additional opportunity for divers to stay safe. Effective July 1, when in the water, they may display a buoy with a series of divers-down symbols as an alternative to the traditional divers-down flag. The buoy can be three or four-sided and must have a divers-down symbol of at least 12-by-12-inches displayed on each of the flat sides. Such a buoy should help divers, especially ... Read More »

Florida & Collier County

COUNTY MOVES FORWARD TO CHALLENGE FDEP CONSENT ORDER ON OIL EXPLORATION BY DAN A. HUGHES COMPANY (Naples, Fla.) – At Tuesday’s Board of County Commission (BCC) meeting, Commissioners decided to move forward with challenging the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Consent Order with a Texas-based company exploring oil drilling in Collier County Chairman Tom Henning placed an agenda item on the June 10, 2014 agenda to reconsider the BCC’s earlier May 13 decision to challenge the Consent Order between FDEP and Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Company due to a lack of communication with the Board of County Commissioners.  Dan A. Hughes ... Read More »

Deciphering Changes to Federal Gulf Fisheries

Red Snapper

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Just as the weather, water and fishing were heating up in the Gulf of Mexico this spring, officials with NOAA Fisheries implemented new recreational fishing closures and accountability measures for six popular Gulf reef species — red snapper, red grouper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, hogfish and Spanish mackerel. The reason: Federal recreational catch limits in the Gulf were exceeded in 2013 for red snapper, red grouper, gray triggerfish and greater amberjack, while the combined commercial and recreational catch limits for hogfish and Spanish mackerel also were exceeded. If you are one of the thousands of ... Read More »

Life Jacket Facts

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Marco Island is paradise for boaters — with more than 100 miles of interior canals, six miles of beach and 6,000 registered boaters. As we approach the summer months, it is imperative to remember one of the most important and essential safety tools for boaters: the life jacket. According to the National Safe Boating Council, close to 85 percent of those who drown in boating accidents every year are not wearing a life jacket, despite requirements to have U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets on board vessels for all passengers. Further, the 2013 Boating Accident Statistical ... Read More »

FWC 2013 Boating Accident Stats

Sixty-two people lost their lives in Florida last year in boating accidents, and there have already been 11 deaths so far this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which has released its 2013 Boating Accident Statistical Report. The theme of accident-related messages from FWC staff is clear: Officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat. Failing to have a proper lookout is a leading cause of boating accidents, statistics show. The 2013 Boating Accident Statistical Report is now available online at MyFWC.com/Boating; click on “Boating Accidents.”   Read More »

Fishing Line Perilous for Pelicans

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists, monofilament fishing line and fishing hooks can entangle these animals, leading to injury and even death. The brown pelican is one species that is especially impacted by monofilament line. These birds frequently spend time looking for an easy meal at piers and other fishing hotspots, where they are often hooked accidentally when trying to grab bait off an angler’s line. Additionally, discarded monofilament line hanging from trees, piers and other structures can ensnare these birds. Once entangled, pelicans can have a difficult time flying and feeding. If you do accidentally ... Read More »

Protecting Beach Birds

Least terns lay eggs in sand scrapes right on the beach.  Eggs and young are extremely vulnerable to sun and heat when adult birds are flushed by people, dogs, or vehicles approaching the nest site. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in cooperation with the Flor-ida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), has posted a small por-tion of beach on the south tip of Keewaydin Island and part of an emergent sandbar one mile southeast of Cape Romano to protect nesting habitat for least terns, black skimmers and Wilson’s plovers. These areas have been posted an-nually since 2001 to protect beach bird nesting season April-August. “Protecting Florida’s wildlife and natural resources is our first priority,” said Rook-ery Bay Reserve Director Gary Lytton. “Taking steps to protect the least tern on Keewaydin Island during its ... Read More »

FWC Launches New Gopher Tortoise App

PHOTO COURTESY OF FWC

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Springtime in Florida means the sight of gopher tortoises strolling across a road or through a backyard or field. They leave their burrows in search of green plants to eat and a tortoise to become their mate. From now through May, females will be laying eggs the size of ping-pong balls in the sandy apron outside their burrows. This activity, however, makes them vulnerable to being struck by vehicles and injured or killed. Now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has launched a new smartphone app to report to the FWC when and ... Read More »

Look out for Gopher Tortoises

A gopher tortoise strolling across a road or through a backyard or field is a common sight during spring in Florida. Yet as tortoises become increasingly active this time of year, they are vulnerable to being struck by vehicles and injured or killed. Don’t forget to look out for these slow-moving reptiles with their bony-plated shells and elephantine legs. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages drivers to slow down on highways to help protect the state’s gopher tortoises. If a gopher tortoise is crossing the road, it is OK to pick it up and move it to ... Read More »