Thursday, September 29, 2016

FWC's Fishing in the Know

October 2016

FWC's Fishing in the Know

Division of Marine Fisheries Management Monthly Newsletter

Bringing an exhausted fish out of the water is like asking a triathlon winner to jump back in the water and hold their breath---they both need oxygen to recover!

Lionfish Challenge participant Brad Riles.
Submit your photos by emailing them

Commission Meeting – St. Augustine

Marine Fisheries items discussed Sept. 8
Information: The FWC Commission discussed several marine fisheries management items Sept. 8 at the meeting in St. Augustine.
  • Federal fishery management update
  • Spiny lobster bully net fishery, draft rule expected at November meeting
Regulatory changes:
  • Red drum: Daily bag limit of 1 fish in NW management zone adopted and currently in effect.
  • Red snapper: Recreational season in Gulf state waters extended due to effects of Hurricane Hermine. New dates include Nov. 5-6, 11-12, and 25-27.
  • Mutton snapper: Modifications to the recreational and commercial size, bag and trip limits effective Jan. 1.
  • Black sea bass: Recreational daily bag limit increased from 5 to 7 fish per person in Atlantic state waters to match new federal waters bag limit. Line marking requirements that are consistent with pending federal rules set for Atlantic commercial fishery. Effective date to be determined.
  • Atlantic gray triggerfish: Recreational and commercial minimum size limit set to 12 inches fork length in Atlantic state waters only; statewide importation and sale minimum size limit set to 12 inches FL; and the recreational daily bag limit set to 10 fish per person in Atlantic state waters. Already in effect.
  • Gulf greater amberjack: Recreational season closed Sept. 10 through Dec. 31, 2016, in Gulf state waters.
  • St. Lucie County: Outdated regulations that apply only in St. Lucie County will be removed. Effective date to be determined.
  • Commercial Saltwater License Forms: Stone crab and lobster trap tag replacement and trap certificate transfer forms updated along with a form related to an exemption to the RS qualifications to reflect the latest, more user-friendly versions developed by FWC.
Links for more information:
News Releases []
Agenda []

New Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs

Catch a Florida Memory today
Information: We all know fishing has its own rewards, but turn them into something tangible by participating in one of the FWC’s new Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs.

There are three programs you can participate in, two of which are brand new and start Oct. 3:
  • Saltwater Fish Life List: A list of 71 different species. Can you catch them all?
  • Saltwater Reel Big Fish: Recognizes you for your extraordinary-sized catch.
  • Saltwater Grand Slams: Get rewarded for catching 3 different specified species in a 24-hour period.

Links for more information:

Lionfish Challenge

Program wraps up Sept. 30
Information: More than 14,000 lionfish were removed from Florida waters as the Lionfish Challenge came to a closeSept. 30. Final numbers will be announced soon along with the winner, who will be crowned Florida’s Lionfish King or Queen at the November Commission meeting. The Lionfish Challenge rewarded participants for removing 50 or more lionfish between Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 14, 2016) and the end of September.
Links for more information:
Lionfish Challenge []
Measuring stone crab claws

Stone Crab – Season Opens

Action: Recreational and commercial season opens Oct. 15in state and federal waters

  • Only the claws may be harvested
  • Although it is currently lawful to harvest both of a stone crab's claws, this practice leaves the stone crab with few ways to defend itself from predators. FWC encourages people to only take a single claw.
  • Claws must be 2 ¾ inches to be harvested
  • Recreational bag limit: 1 gallon of claws per person, 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less
  • Harvest of claws from females with eggs is prohibited
  • May 16: Season closes
  • Cannot use any device that can puncture, crush or injure the crab body
  • Recreational harvesters may use up to 5 stone crab traps per person
  • Trap throat (entrance) must be no larger than 5 ½” x 3 1/8” in Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. In all other counties, entrances can be no larger than 5 ½” x 3 ½”. Round entrances can be no more than 5 inches in diameter.
  • Round trap entrances are not allowed in Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties

Links for more information:
Stone Crab Information  []
Stone Crab Trap
Click to edit this placeholder text.

Red Snapper – Gulf State Season

Recreational harvest in state waters continues through October, days added in November
Information: The recreational red snapper season in Gulf state waters continues to remain open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October, and additional days were added to the season in November to offset the effects of Hurricane Hermine.
Additional open season days include Nov. 5-6, 11-12, and 25-27.
The daily bag limit is two fish per person within the 10-snapper aggregate bag limit. The minimum size limit is 16 inches total length. The season is not open in Gulf federal waters.
Links for more information:
Snappers []

Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program

Program in 7-county region focuses on lionfish removal
Information: For every 100 lionfish harvested from Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties, between May 2016 and May 2017, the harvester will be eligible to receive a tag allowing them to take either an extra legal-sized red grouper or cobia over the bag limit from state waters. The state will issue up to 100 red grouper and 30 cobia tags in total to successful participants in the pilot program. In addition, the first 10 persons or groups that harvest 500 or more lionfish during this one-year period will be given the opportunity to name an artificial reef.

Links for more information:


  • Commission Meeting
  • New Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs
  • Lionfish Challenge
  • Stone Crab
  • Red Snapper – Gulf
  • Lionfish Panhandle Pilot Program



State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf and from shore to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic.  
Oct. 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-20; Nov. 5-6, 11-12 and 25-27
Oct. 1
Oct. 5
Oct. 15
Nov. 1
mutton snapper
John Morgan with a mutton snapper.



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Florida gets major disaster declaration after Hermine

The federal government has agreed to declare a major disaster for Florida because of the impacts of Hurricane Hermine.

The presidential disaster declaration will provide federal resources to support recovery efforts in Florida.

The money should help counties like Franklin County cover the additional costs of cleanup efforts, and provide funds for repairs for damage from the storm.

Franklin county will seek funds to repair or replace Alligator Point Road as well as a number of public dune walkovers on the eastern end of the county.

Some counties in central Florida as well as Leon County were also approved for individual assistance to help home and business owners impacted by the hurricane.

Representative Gwen Graham is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator to extend individual assistance aid to Franklin, Taylor and Wakulla counties but that has not happened yet.

All of the affected counties were also approved for federal hazard mitigation funds to help them prepare for future storms.

Hermine made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just east of St. Marks in the early morning hours of September the 2nd.

The storm brought damaging winds and heavy rainfall across much the state.

Gulf Council to Meet in Biloxi, Mississippi

Meeting Announcement
September 29,2016

Gulf Council to Meet in Biloxi, Mississippi

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet October 17-20, 2016, at the IP Casino Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi. The meeting will convene Monday morning at 8:30. For the following days, the meeting will start at 8:00 am. The full Council will convene Wednesday afternoon beginning at 1:00 pm. The Council is expected to adjourn by 3:30 pm Thursday.

The Committees & Council Agenda is posted on the Council web site and meeting materials will be posted as they become available.

Public comment is scheduled Wednesday from 2:45 pm to 5:30 pm. Testimony will be taken on the following:
  • Final Action on Coastal Migratory Pelagic Framework Amendment 5: To Remove the Prohibition on Retaining the Recreational King Mackerel Bag Limit with Commercial King Mackerel Permit
  • Final Action of Referendum Requirements for Reef Fish Amendment 42: Reef Fish Management for Headboat Survey Vessels
  • Proposed Fishing Regulations on the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
  • Final Action on Coastal Migratory Pelagic Amendment 30: Atlantic Cobia Recreational Fishing Year
Council meetings are open to the public and are broadcast live over the internet. Register for thewebinar here or call 888-833-1844.

The Council will host a Post Council Wrap-Up Webinar to review the Council meeting. Join us at 6:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, October 26, for a quick presentation followed by a question and answer session.Register for the webinar here.
About the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.
Submit comments and stay updated on fishery issues:
Check it out! Go to and click on the thermometer in the middle of the page. From there you can read up on all the pending actions, watch the video presentations, read comments, and submit your own. All comments submitted through the online form are automatically posted on our web site for Council review. Other comments are manually posted every couple of days.

Franklin County Commission to hold final meeting of the budget year on Friday

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Graham Requests FEMA Expand Assistance to Rural Counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWednesday, September 28, 2016
Contact: Matt Harringer, Communications Director | 202-225-5235
Graham Requests FEMA Expand Assistance to Rural Counties

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a disaster declaration by President Barack Obama, Representative Gwen Graham is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator to extend individual assistance aid to Franklin, Taylor and Wakulla counties. As of today, Leon is the only county in the Second Congressional District eligible for individual assistance.

“I’m working to make sure all North Florida families affected by the storm receive the aid they deserve,” Rep. Graham said. “While some rural counties are still under federal review, I’m hopeful FEMA will expedite our request to expand aid to Franklin, Taylor and Wakulla.”

Earlier in the day, Rep. Graham issued the following statement in reaction to the president’s disaster declaration:

“I thank President Obama for recognizing the impact Hurricane Hermine had on North Florida. Our community rallied together to help each other through the storm and its aftermath – and the federal assistance stemming from this declaration will help us continue to recover,” Representative Graham said. “I’ve made constituent services a top priority since day one, and my office is prepared to help North Florida families and businesses cut through any red tape to access this new aid.”

Text of Representative Graham’s letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is below:

September 28, 2016

The Honorable W. Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC  20024

Dear Administrator Fugate:

I write today regarding the recent issuance of a major disaster declaration for the State of Florida triggering the release of federal funds to help people and communities recover from Hurricane Hermine that occurred August 31 to September 11, 2016.

In addition to the counties included in the initial September 28 declaration, Governor Rick Scott included Franklin, Taylor, and Wakulla counties for individual assistance. As you continue to make designations for all affected counties, I encourage you to expedite these requests so that people can get the assistance they need.

Floridians are still cleaning up from this disaster – people in counties that were included in the initial designation and those in counties still under federal review. It is important to all of us that all designations are made as quickly as possible. Thank you for your commitment to get this done.

Gwen Graham