The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is celebrating its first annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day by hosting and promoting a weekend of exciting events across the state, starting Saturday, May 16, including a festival in Pensacola.
The spiny lobster recreational and commercial season closes to harvest in state and federal waters starting April 1 and will reopen Aug. 6. The two-day recreational sport season is the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July, which is July 29 and 30 this year.
This regional season will remain open through June 30, with the first day of the closure being July 1. The season also includes all waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass, including those in Gulf County, and all waters of the Steinhatchee River, including those in Dixie County.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting several public workshops in March to gather public input on the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season in state waters (from shore out to 9 nautical miles).
Lionfish are a nonnative, invasive species that have a negative impact on Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. Consistent lionfish removal can reduce the negative impacts lionfish have on the reef community.
The FWC has several activities planned for the weekend of the first annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, which is May 16. On the 16th and 17th, divers across the state will be encouraged to see how many lionfish can be removed from Florida waters in one weekend.
This closure is consistent with a federal closure also starting Feb. 7 and remaining closed through Dec. 31. Gray triggerfish is considered to be overfished.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at its meeting Feb. 4 in Jacksonville, increased hunting opportunities, beginning with the next hunting season (2015-2016).
It established a new public hunting area in northwest Florida called Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area. The 4,017-acre WMA tract in Santa Rosa County will offer archery, general gun, muzzleloading gun and spring turkey hunts by quota permit, and a walk-in small-game hunting season.
The Oyster Gardening program concluded its first year of operation having successfully recruited more than 800 waterfront residents who dedicated about 135,000 hours to growing oysters inside specially designed habitats suspended from their docks. These volunteers also collected data that determined the most successful areas of the county for oysters.
Sign up today to participate in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey. 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 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program awarded the Season 2 Hall of Fame winner, Joseph “Brooks” Morrell from Hampton, with the TrophyCatch championship ring from the American Outdoors Fund. Morrell caught, documented and released a 14-pound, 9-ounce bass to earn the top prize for Season 2 (Oct. 1, 2013, to Sep. 30, 2014).
Several species of grouper will close to recreational and commercial harvest starting Jan. 1 in Florida state waters of the Atlantic, including Monroe County. This seasonal closure includes gag, black, red, yellowmouth, yellowfin and tiger grouper; scamp; red hind; rock hind; coney; and graysby. State waters in the Atlantic are from shore out to 3 nautical miles.
The 2014 legislative session transferred the “Deer Tag”, formerly known as the Sportsman’s National Land Trust, to the Foundation. In transferring the administration of this tag to the Foundation, the legislative intent is to focus funding efforts on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC will not be the exclusive beneficiary of tag funds. A portion of the funds will be available to all eligible applicants.
The Report Florida Lionfish app is now more interactive than ever. Not only can you continue reporting your lionfish sightings and catches, your reports and photographs are documented on an interactive map. The map includes your important data such as where you found your catch, the date caught, how many you saw or removed and what type of gear you used.
The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 15 in Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, and will remain closed through Jan. 31, 2015, reopening to harvest Feb. 1. Snook can be caught and released during the closed season.
Gag grouper will close for recreational harvest in most Gulf of Mexico state waters Dec. 4, with the last day of harvest being Dec. 3. All Gulf federal waters will close Dec. 3, with the last day of harvest being Dec. 2. These closures help maintain sustainable gag grouper populations in the Gulf of Mexico.
The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 1 in Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, and will remain closed through Feb. 28, 2015, reopening to harvest March 1, 2015. Snook can continue to be caught and released during the closed season.
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would add long-term recreational accountability measures for red snapper. Accountability measures are measures taken to prevent the harvest from exceeding the quota.
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.