To the Editor:
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet September 5-6 at the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand Hotel, 200 E. Gregory St., Pensacola. The meeting is open to the public, and all interested individuals may speak within the guidelines established by the Commission. Both the Thursday and Friday sessions convene at 8:30 a.m.
On Sept. 5, Commissioners will consider consent agenda items. One of these items would add two additional saltwater license-free fishing days and two additional freshwater license-free fishing days for 2013 and beyond. If it is approved, Florida will have a total of eight license-free fishing days a year (four saltwater and four freshwater).
Next, the Commission will discuss a final rule addressing Boca Grande Pass fishing gear. This proposed final rule would enhance the definition of “snagging” as it applies to tarpon and would prohibit the use and possession of gear rigged with a weight attached to the bottom of the hook while fishing in Boca Grande Pass.
Then staff will update the Commission on current actions by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
Next, Commissioners will decide on two items which, if approved, will make state rules consistent with current federal rules. These proposed changes include eliminating the February-through-March recreational closed season for several species of grouper in Gulf of Mexico state waters and eliminating the Nov. 1 through March 31 recreational closed season for vermilion snapper in Atlantic state waters.
After that, Commissioners will discuss a draft rule that would clarify blue runner regulations in state waters and extend those regulations into federal waters.
On Friday, Sept. 6, Commissioners will consider a staff recommendation for measures to reduce the risk of a deer disease, known as chronic wasting disease, in Florida.
Budget and legislative issues and staff reports are next on the agenda.
Toward the end of both sessions, the public is also invited to speak on items not on the agenda.
For the complete agenda, go to MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings.”
Any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting should notify the agency at least five calendar days before the meeting by calling (850) 488-6411. Contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service at (800) 955-8771 (TDD) or (800) 955-8770 (voice) if you are hearing- or speech-impaired.
The meeting will be covered live on social media. Follow our main Twitter account, @MyFWC, or use hashtag #FWC2013 to participate.
The next regular Commission meeting will be in Fort Lauderdale-Miami on Nov. 20-21.
Amanda Nalley, FWC marine fisheries issuesTallahassee
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