LOA Issued For Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to the Explosive Removal of Offshore Structures in the Gulf of Mexico

In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued LOAs to take marine mammals incidental to the explosive removal of offshore oil and gas structures (EROS) in the Gulf of Mexico.

These authorizations are effective from April 15, 2013 through July 19, 2013.

FWC Welcomes New Commissioner From Panama City

At its meeting April 17 at the Florida Public Safety Institute, near Tallahassee, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Kenneth Wright welcomed the FWC’s newest Commissioner, Adrien Bo Rivard of Panama City.

FWC Moves Ahead with Easier-to-Follow Marine Fisheries Regulations

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at its April 17 Commission meeting near Tallahassee discussed a draft proposal designed to make the state’s marine fisheries regulations easier to read, understand and enforce.

Current regulations contain inconsistencies from one species chapter to the next. For example, definitions and the location of specific rules vary from chapter-to-chapter. It is because of issues like these that the public asked the FWC to streamline current marine fisheries rules.

FWC to Permanently Waive License Requirement for Lionfish Harvest

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on April 17 at its meeting near Tallahassee discussed waiving the commercial and recreational bag limit and the recreational license requirement for divers harvesting lionfish using certain gear.

In August 2012, the FWC put a temporary rule in place that waived the recreational fishing license requirement when targeting lionfish with a hand-held net, pole spear, Hawaiian sling or any other spearing device designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish. This temporary rule change also removed any bag limits when recreationally or commercially harvesting lionfish. Prior to the change, recreational anglers could not catch more than 100 pounds of lionfish without being required to have a commercial license.

Proposal Would Make Tarpon, Bonefish Catch-and-Release Only

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at its April 17 meeting near Tallahassee, moved forward unanimously with a proposal to make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only fisheries.

The tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only proposal includes the following potential changes for management in state and federal waters off Florida:

Gulf Coast Governors Call on Congress to Give Management Control to States for Red Snapper Fishery

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant are calling on Congress to allow the states to take control over management of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. In a letter to Congressional leadership, the governors declared federal fisheries management “irretrievably” and seek passage of legislation that would reverse a situation that is negatively impacting the coastal economies and citizens of the Gulf Coast.

44 Day Red Snapper Season in Florida Waters

FWC sets 2013 Gulf recreational red snapper season in state waters June 1 and end July 14. It is inconsistent with the current proposed federal season. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a 44-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters at its meeting April 17 in Tallahassee. State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in Gulf waters. 


FWC to Meet April 17-18 Near Tallahassee

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet April 17-18 to discuss an array of issues, ranging from marine fisheries and upland wildlife management and harvest issues to boating safety, staff reports and enhancing the public’s ability to help control the invasive lionfish.

Sessions start both days at 8:30 a.m. at the Florida Public Safety Institute, 85 Academy Drive, Havana, FL 32333 (www.floridapsi.com). The Institute is located west of the city of Midway on US 90.

The meeting is open to the public, and all interested individuals may speak within guidelines established by the Commission.

Comments Wanted for Increasing Red Snapper Quota

NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). If implemented, this rule would increase the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery for the 2013 fishing year. This proposed rule is intended to help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the Gulf red snapper resource without increasing the risk of red snapper experiencing overfishing.

Written comments must be received on or before April 19, 2013.


NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments - Proposed Rule Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Quota Increase

NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on a proposed rule for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper. The rule, if implemented, would set the 2013 quotas for commercial and recreational red snapper harvest. The quotas can be increased because recent population assessments show that overfishing has ended. The red snapper allowable catch would be increased from 8.080 million pounds whole weight in 2012 to the following: