The recreational gray triggerfish season will reopen to harvest in Gulf state and federal watersMarch 1. When the season reopens, the daily bag limit will be one fish per person (previously two fish per person) and the minimum size limit will be 15 inches fork length (previously 14 inches fork length). These changes were made at the July 2017 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting and are consistent with changes made in federal waters. The changes also include an annual January through February recreational closure in Gulf state waters in addition to the annual June and July spawning closure.
These federal consistency measures should help maintain fishing opportunities for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters for 2018 and the future.
If you plan to fish for gray triggerfish in Gulf state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, you must sign up as a Gulf Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal is required). Dangler Named Crutchfield Award Recipient
Collier County volunteer Stephanie Dangler is this year’s Bill Crutchfield Award winner. Special Olympics Florida President & CEO Sherry Wheelock will present the award during opening ceremonies at the 2018 Area 9 Summer Games on March 17.
This award is presented to the Special Olympics Florida volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding and distinguished service and has been a dynamic and positive influence upon the lives of people with and without Intellectual disabilities and has a high commitment to the mission of Special Olympics and human dignity.
Dangler, whose son Michael is an athlete, has served as coach/volunteer for Special Olympics Florida – Collier County for more than 10 years. She has assisted the organization in numerous ways, including playing an instrumental role in the development of the stand-up paddle program in Collier County. She is certified head coach and works as a water marshal at the state stand up paddle competition in Sarasota. She will also be Head Water Marshal for the sport’s national debut at Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle this July. She serves as a teaching instructor, certifying prospective stand up paddle coaches throughout the state. She also volunteers with several other local sports, including cycling, basketball, golf, swimming, bocce, and flag football.
Additionally, Dangler chairs Collier County’s “Stand Up Paddle Poker Run,” which raises funds for the local stand up paddle program. The Poker Run, which is in its 6th year and will be held on June 2 this year, is a lucrative fundraiser and is a favorite among both participants and volunteers.
Dangler embodies the vision and values of Special Olympics. Through her tireless volunteer efforts, she inspires her athletes and the entire community as an outspoken champion for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She’s quick to tell anyone who will listen about how proud she is of the athletes’ accomplishments, and she carries with her an endless supply of Spread the Word to End the Word wristbands to give to others as a reminder that everyone deserves respect.
At its December 2017 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to prohibit the feeding of wild monkeys in order to promote greater public safety and decrease health concerns associated with these animals. This amendment to the General Prohibition Rule went into effect Feb. 11. Free-roaming, non-human primates join coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bears, pelicans and sandhill cranes as species included in this rule.
“The health and safety of the public is the Commission’s number one priority. Feeding wild monkeys creates an elevated risk to human health because it brings them into closer contact with people,” said Dr. Thomas Eason, Assistant Executive Director of the FWC.
As the population of wild monkeys has increased across the state, public health and safety concerns have also increased due to public contact with the animals.
Currently, there are three established species of wild monkeys in Florida: squirrel monkeys, vervet monkeys and rhesus macaques. When these animals are fed by humans, they often develop a dependency on humans as a source of food and become territorial over the area where feeding occurs. This dependency can lead to increased aggression, which may result in injuries and spread of disease to humans.
Wild monkeys are documented carriers for various diseases. Rhesus macaques can carry herpes B, a potentially fatal disease in humans if not treated immediately. While there are no documented cases of freeroaming macaques transmitting herpes B to humans in the wild in Florida, the risk for exposure will continue to grow as public contact with these animals increases.
For more information, visit MyFWC. com/wildlifehabitats and click on “Nonnative Species.” FWC Law Enforcement – Collier County
Officers from Collier County conducted targeted patrols in the Picayune Strand State Forest to combat unauthorized use of the forest after hours and in areas closed to vehicle traffic. The two-night detail found numerous individuals operating vehicles in closed areas and in the forest after hours. In each case appropriate law enforcement action was taken. Major Wildlife Assistance
Officer Knutson and Lieutenant Mahoney responded to the Faka Union Canal to provide transportation to the Manatee Rescue Team as they recovered two deceased manatees. While on scene, one field necropsy was performed and one recovery was conducted. As they were returning the manatee staff back to the boat ramp, they were notified of a manatee in distress nicknamed Sidewinder by the local boaters. They located the manatee and coordinated a capture effort for the following day.
The following day an additional manatee was discovered in distress. The manatee staff was able to place the manatee in a stretcher with a successful recovery. After completion, attention was turned to locating and capturing Sidewinder. After several hours, the capture team arrived and completed another effective capture.