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Tag Archives: FWC

FWC Enlists Gulf Reef Fish Anglers to Provide Data

As part of its goal of working with anglers to improve data collection and management of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking for anglers’ assistance through participation in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey. This new data collection program will improve how recreational catch is monitored and provide information needed to ensure sustainable fisheries in Florida. As of April 1, 2015, saltwater recreational anglers fishing from private boats off Florida’s Gulf coast (excluding Monroe County) are required to sign up for the survey if they intend to harvest, attempt to harvest ... Read More »

FWC Approves Comprehensive Bear Management Rules

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Submitted The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continued its long-standing, proactive approach to bear management at its meeting in Sarasota on June 24. FWC Commissioners approved several bear-related rules that address a wide variety of tools to manage bears. In summary, Commissioners approved changes to strengthen the wildlife feeding rule. Commissioners also approved changes to the bear conservation rule, which include a permit program to authorize landowners to remove a bear causing property damage under certain circumstances. These changes also allow the public and trained security personnel to scare bears with less-than-lethal methods in appropriate situations without a ... Read More »

FWC approves changes to the spiny lobster commercial dive endorsement

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several changes to the spiny lobster commercial dive endorsement at its meeting April 15 in Tallahassee. Commercial harvesters targeting spiny lobster while diving are requiredto have a crawfish commercial dive endorsement along with a saltwater products license (Florida’s basic commercial license) and a restricted species endorsement. The commercial dive endorsement program was implemented in 2004 in an effort to reduce conflicts within the commercial lobster fishery during a time when the commercial dive fishery was rapidly expanding. No new or additional commercial dive endorsements have been issued since the program was ... Read More »

FWC moves forward with comprehensive draft bear management rules

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continues to build on its long-standing, proactive approach to bear management. At its April 15 meeting in Tallahassee, FWC Commissioners approved several proposed bear-related rules that will be presented for final action in June. The draft rules address a wide variety of tools to manage bear populations and help reduce human-bear conflicts. Staff were directed to refine changes to the feeding rule by making a new sub-section specifically for bear feeding and adding coyotes to rule 68A-4.001(3). In responding to feeding violations, staff will focus on written warnings as a key component. ... Read More »

Do Not Disturb Nesting Sea Turtles

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Submitted Sea turtles have begun nesting attempts in the area. Good time to post a few reminders about proper sea turtle etiquette. It can be thrilling to watch a sea turtle crawl onto the beach at night and dig a large hole in the sand to lay dozens of eggs. Just remember that “Do not disturb” is the best behavior to follow when observing a nesting sea turtle. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asks people not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles. Spring is the beginning of sea ... Read More »

Springtime Brings Close Encounters of Manatees, Boaters

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Submitted As springtime arrives, chances increase that manatees and boaters will have close encounters. Boaters can enjoy opportunities to observe one of Florida’s unique species but to avoid colliding with manatees, people on the water should take basic steps such as slowing down, watching out for the animals and complying with regulations in manatee zones. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement officers will be on patrol in state waters to remind boaters of the seasonal manatee speed zones that go into effect in April. They will be taking enforcement actions when necessary. “Our officers do their very best ... Read More »

Give Florida’s beach-nesting shorebirds space to help them survive

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asks beachgoers to watch out for and avoid disturbing beach-nesting shorebirds on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the state. Shorebirds build nests out of sand and shells on Florida beaches in spring and summer, hatching chicks that are difficult to see. Shorebird nests, eggs and chicks are well camouflaged and can be easily missed and even stepped on unless people know to look out for them. The snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, American oystercatcher and Wilson’s plover are several of Florida’s beach-nesting shorebird species that face conservation challenges and need ... Read More »

Signing up to participate in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey becomes mandatory April 1

Attention Gulf reef fish anglers: You’ve asked for better data and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has listened and taken action. Now the FWC needs your help. Signing up to participate in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey becomes mandatory April 1, so sign up today. The easy, no-cost process will help the FWC paint a clearer picture of how many people are targeting Gulf reef fish, like red snapper and gag grouper, and what anglers are seeing on the water. The Gulf Reef Fish Survey is for anglers (including those 65 and older) fishing in the Gulf ... Read More »

FWC asks beachgoers to help survey spawning horseshoe crabs

As spring approaches, horseshoe crabs congregate to spawn along sandy beaches and shallow coastal waters throughout the state. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists are asking the public to assist in the FWC’s survey effort by reporting horseshoe crab sightings and other useful information. Although horseshoe crabs mate year-round, spring is the peak season to see them aggregate on beaches and in bays. Citizen scientists interested in contributing to the survey should have the best luck sighting horseshoe crabs around high tide within three days of a new or full moon, March 20 and April 4 respectively. The FWC asks ... Read More »

Naples Zoo Announces New Panther Exhibit

Naples Zoo officials announced today they are breaking ground on a permanent home for a young Florida panther that cannot be returned to the wild after it was blinded by a shotgun blast. This new panther exhibit will focus on expanding public awareness of the issues surrounding the growing number of cats in the area. And to meet the increased need to care for injured or orphaned panthers, Naples Zoo is also creating habitat space to provide temporary care along with an all-new large animal veterinary clinic. This is part of a cooperative effort with the US Fish and Wildlife ... Read More »

FWC: Record High Manatee Count

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Submitted Warm temperatures and clear, sunny days between some of the coldest weather of the year assisted FWC biologists and partners in counting an all-time high number of manatees during this year’s statewide aerial survey. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reported a preliminary count of 6,063 manatees statewide. During the February count, a team of 20 observers from 11 organizations counted 3,333 manatees on Florida’s east coast and 2,730 on the west coast of the state. This year’s synoptic survey count exceeded the previous high count for 2010 by almost 1,000 animals. “Manatees used warm-water sites and ... Read More »

FWC moving forward with comprehensive approach to reducing conflicts with bears

In response to rapidly increasing conflicts and several incidents where bears seriously injured people, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is building on its long-standing, proactive approach to bear management. At its Feb. 4 meeting in Jacksonville, the FWC approved a plan to move forward with a variety of tools to manage bears and help reduce human-bear conflicts. “Our multipronged approach focuses on maintaining bear populations at healthy levels while ensuring public safety,” said Commissioner Brian Yablonski. “However, this is not something we can do on our own. There has to be an element of getting the community ... Read More »

The Persistent Ospreys

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff In December, a pair of ospreys did what most of their species do that time of year — they began building a nest. Unfortunately, they chose as the location for their new abode the top of a seawall construction crane parked in a local canal. Neighbors reported this event to ever helpful and knowledgeable Nancy Richie, Marco Island’s city environmental specialist, who contacted the owner of the crane, Duane Thomas Marine Construction LLC, and Jo Barnhart of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Protected Species Permitting Office. According to the FWC web site, ospreys ... Read More »

’Tis the season for gifts to support Florida wildlife

All year long, residents and visitors to Florida can step outside and find places to watch and photograph wildlife as they hike beaches and trails, steer a boat along rivers and coastlines, fish clear waters, or hunt game in one of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) wildlife management areas. This holiday season, the FWC hopes people will consider gifts that will make a difference in conservation of Florida’s wildlife and help pass along great outdoors experiences to future generations. On this checklist are gifts that should please almost anyone who appreciates Florida wildlife: Vehicle license plates supporting Florida ... Read More »

Anchoring Regulation Survey

Interested parties on potential anchoring regulations on Florida waters should contribute their thoughts on this subject through an online survey FWC has developed in response to feedback received at three prior public meetings this year. This survey has crucial explanatory language in the form of a video and audio messages (text options are available). To minimize the risk of confusion please listen to the messages in their entirety. Immediately following each video or audio message are questions specifically related to the information contained in that message. It is desired to obtain the most widespread response possible from all parties with ... Read More »

Red grouper conservation measures approved by FWC

At its meeting in Key Largo on Nov. 20, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved lowering of the red grouper recreational bag limit from four to two fish per person in Gulf of Mexico state waters, excluding Monroe County. The Commission hopes that this change will mean an increase in the length of the recreational red grouper season in federal waters, which closed early this year because the recreational catch limit was exceeded in 2013. A two-fish bag limit was initially requested by Florida anglers and for-hire captains to help maximize fishing opportunities for red grouper, especially ... Read More »

A Good Year for Sea Turtles Nesting

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Sea Turtle nesting season is coming to a close on Florida’s beaches, and according to the research scientists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, loggerhead turtle nest numbers remained high and leatherback turtle nesting reached a new state record. “Sea turtles face many important threats at sea and on land, which need to be addressed for the recovery of these charismatic and endangered species, but the results of the 2014 nesting season in Florida are encouraging and provide a positive outlook for the future,” said Dr. Simona Ceriani, FWC research scientist. Throughout Collier ... Read More »

Slow Down as Manatees Swim to Warmer Waters

Manatee zone markings are increased during winter months.

Submitted The annual migration of Florida manatees to warmer waters begins in November, which is Manatee Awareness Month. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages boaters to help protect migrating manatees by looking out and slowing down for these aquatic mammals that often rest or congregate underwater and can be difficult to see. “During Manatee Awareness Month, the FWC encourages the public to celebrate manatees by learning more about these gentle giants, including the importance of people’s actions in conserving this iconic Florida species,” said Carol Knox, the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management section leader. “Boaters slowing down and ... Read More »

Manatee Rescue All in a Day’s Work

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff If you’re the city of Marco Island Environmental Specialist, rescuing a manatee or other wildlife can be all in a day’s work. Just as it was during a recent manatee rescue at Tigertail Beach. A manatee stranded itself on a mud flat in Tigertail lagoon due to a strong outgoing tide in a New Moon phase. Walking the beach, Todd Tateo, spotted the stranded manatee and reported it to the Tigertail Beach gate attendant, Lee Gunderson. Todd told Lee the manatee was “high and dry” in the lagoon. Lee called the city of Marco Island ... Read More »

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 »