July 2016 Section A

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Information from FWC




Nine locations in Florida are recognized as prime places for outdoor family fun

Florida swept the Take Me Fishing™ 2016 “Top 100 Family Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in the U.S.” list, hosting the top four locations with nine locations on the list in total—more than any other state. Recreational boating plus saltwater and freshwater fishing contribute more than $20 billion annually to Florida’s economy.

The top four locations on the list are: No. 1 Everglades National Park; No. 2 Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys; No. 3 Blue Springs State Park, St. Johns River; and No. 4 Lake Kissimmee State Park. The additional five Florida locations on the list are: No. 12 Suwannee River; No. 21 Hickory Point, the Harris Chain of Lakes; No. 44 Lake Osborne, Lake Worth; No. 52 Lake Okeeheelee, West Palm Beach; and No. 92 Katheryn Abbey Hanna Park, Jacksonville.

“Fishing and boating are dynamic activities that bring families together and get more people active and outdoors,” said Tom Champeau, director of FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries. “Our state’s ranking on this list further proves that Florida truly is the Fishing Capital of the World. The FWC is dedicated to and will continue to provide great fishing and boating opportunities.”

More than 100 state parks offer fishing as a family-friendly activity. To find one in your area, visit FloridaStateParks.org. Some parks also offer fishing piers along the coasts, rivers, lakes and springs.

“Florida State Parks are an outstanding resource for Floridians and visitors,” said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “Fishing and boating opportunities are abundant in many of our 174 state parks, trails and historic sites, and I am thrilled to see that three of our parks are considered among the best in the nation.”

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing™ campaign initiated a nationwide vote to provide families and outdoor enthusiasts with a recommended list of the best family-friendly places to experience the joys of boating and fishing. Criteria for the top places to fish and boat included having a public body of water within driving distance of a major city, good fishing opportunities and family friendly amenities. Approximately 35,000 different anglers and boaters cast nearly 650,000 votes to support their favorite fishing and boating locations.

“The best way to enjoy fishing and boating is to find a special place to fish with family and friends, so we’re thrilled that so many people shared their favorite place to engage in this national pastime,” said RBFF President and CEO, Frank Peterson. “If you and your family haven’t tried fishing, we hope you’re nearby one of the Top 100 spots to cast away. It’s a great way to enjoy, conserve and restore our nation's aquatic natural resources.”

View the entire “Top 100 Family Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in the U.S.” list at www.takemefishing.org/blog  by clicking on the featured article. Access regional and species-specific lists of great locations to fish in Florida by visiting MyFWC.com/fishing  and clicking on “Freshwater,” “Fishing Sites and Forecasts.”




The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is moving forward with a significant effort to conserve Florida’s most vulnerable wildlife throughout the state. At its June meeting, the Commission recommended staff move forward with efforts to establish a suite of new Critical Wildlife Areas and modify five existing CWAs.

CWAs are established by the FWC under a Florida Administrative Code rule to protect important wildlife concentrations from human disturbance during critical periods of their life cycles, such as breeding, feeding or migration.

“Those of us who are in the conservation business are also in the forever business,” said Commission Chairman Brian Yablonski. “This is something that as a Commissioner you will remember for the rest of your life. It is a chance to protect wildlife when they are at their most vulnerable.”

FWC staff identified the following potential CWAs.

•Flagg Island, Franklin County
•Lanark Reef, Franklin County
•Withlacoochee State Forest Caves, Citrus County (6 caves)
•Dot-Dash-Dit Islands, Manatee County
•Roberts Bay Islands, Sarasota County
•Pine Island Sound, Lee County (3 islands)
•Estero Bay, Lee County (3 islands)
•Stick Marsh Rookery, Brevard County (small area in NE corner of marsh)
•BC49, Brevard County (spoil island in Indian River Lagoon)
•Port Orange Colony, Volusia County (spoil island in Halifax River)

FWC staff requested modifications for five existing CWAs:

•George Causeway, Franklin County
•Alafia Banks, Hillsborough County
•Myakka River, Sarasota County
•Rookery Island, Collier County
•Bird Islands, Duval and Nassau counties

All of the proposed CWAs would protect shorebirds, seabirds or wading birds except the Withlacoochee Caves, which would protect southeastern myotis and tricolored bats. In addition to nesting birds, Lanark Reef also has a significant diamondback terrapin population which would benefit from CWA protections.

For a site to be established as a CWA, the landowner must support the designation and the land must host a significant concentration of wildlife subject to disturbance. All of the sites announced today, with the exception of Alafia Banks, occur at least in part within state-owned lands or waters.

Staff are working with landowners, stakeholders and partners like Audubon Florida to further develop the proposed boundaries and closure dates. The FWC will also hold public workshops in each area to solicit public input on the proposals. Visit MyFWC.com/CWA and click on “CWA public workshops” for more information about public meetings.

Staff will update the Commission on progress at the September meeting and the completed proposals will be considered for final approval at the November meeting.

“Audubon is proud of the FWC’s leadership in protecting these critical locations for some of Florida’s most iconic and vulnerable species,” said Julie Wraithmell, Deputy Executive Director for Audubon Florida. “Giving these species the space they need to nest in peace helps ensure they’ll be here for generations to come.”

Disturbance is a primary factor affecting bird nest productivity. When adults are disturbed, they fly from their nests, leaving eggs or young birds exposed to heat and predation. Human disturbance can cause wildlife to abandon high-quality habitat that is necessary for their survival. Currently there are 20 CWAs throughout Florida, which are managed for shorebirds, wading birds, bats and gopher tortoises.

For more on Critical Wildlife Areas, go to MyFWC.com/CWA .





Saltwater Grand Slams FL Memory

All FWC Saltwater Grand Slam catches, past and present, are eligible as long as they can be documented and have been caught in a 24-hour period and in accordance with FWC and IGFA rules.

Each time an angler gets a Saltwater Grand Slam, they will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a t-shirt with the fish from that slam on it. More information



Since July of 2015 there have been 52 submissions for the FWC’s Grand Slam Clubs.

Bay & Estuary Grand Slam

Catching a mangrove (gray) snapper, Spanish mackerel, and snook in the same day.
Mason Scott Brown, Belleview, FL; Christopher Rowell, Marathon, FL 


Bluewater Grand Slam 

Catching a dolphinfish, sailfish, and wahoo in the same day.
Christopher Harmon, Boca Raton, FL; Tom Kelly, Altamonte Springs, FL


Family Grand Slam 

Catching any three fish in the same family, i.e. three different species of snapper, grouper, etc. in the same day.

Steve Datkuliak, Gainesville, FL; Luis Adrian Fornes, Miami, FL; CR 'Chuck' Jackson, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Steve Meerman, New Smyrna Beach, FL; Thomas Milliren, Pace, FL; Eli Smart, Willis, TX (2); Alfred Sowers, Stuart, FL; Joshua Sowers, Henry, VA; Belinda Thomas, Fort Pierce, FL; Capt. Shawn Waite, Cape Coral, FL


Inshore Grand Slam 

Catching a spotted seatrout, red drum, and flounder in the same day.

Barry Marlin Bennett, Valdosta, GA; Tim Blue, Elko, GA; Robert Connor, Jr., Macclenny, FL; Joseph Ferranti, Port St. Lucie, FL; Scott Flamand, Gainesville, FL; Robert Forbes, Jacksonville, FL; Art Futch, San Antonio, TX; Gary Gambill, Jacksonville, FL; William Gerspacher, Port St. Joe, FL (2); Bryan Gold, Quincy, FL; Andrew Harellson, Palm Coast, FL; Michael J. Hill, Tallahassee, FL; Jibran Jami, Panama City, FL; Barry F. Kroboth, Woodbridge, VA; Patrick Kroboth, Lake City, FL; Capt. Ken Lai, Palm Coast, FL; Samuel Lambert, Bremen, GA; Lynn Maize, Ormond Beach, FL; Allen Mayer, Spring City, TN; Daniel Myers, Cape Coral, FL; Dan Price, Defiance, OH; Christopher Roy, Ocala, FL; El Rushak, Brighton, MI; Anthony Santiago, Jacksonville, FL; Donald Saven, South Lyon, MI; Steven Seagraves, Vero Beach, FL; James Stemp, Jacksonville, FL; John Tait, Santa Rosa Beach, FL; Craig Van Brocklin, Gainesville, FL; Ken Van Doren (2); R.J. Volpe, Bolling AFB, DC; Sherri D. Williams, Palm Coast, FL


Small Fry Grand Slam 

Catching a pinfish, grunt, and catfish in the same day.

Luther Grayson Brown, Belleview, FL; Mason Scott Brown, Belleview, FL; Caitriona Schork, Severna Park, MD


Florida maintains all tackle records for 76 saltwater species in both conventional and fly tackle categories. There is one vacancy in the conventional tackle category and 26 vacancies in the fly category. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) verifies state records in Dania Beach, Florida. For more information on the Florida State records and Grand Slam programs, contact:

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission 
Division of Marine Fisheries Management
2590 Executive Center Cr. E., Suite 204
Tallahassee, FL 32399 
Telephone: 850-487-0554 Fax: 850-488-7152 
Contact: Melissa Crouch


International Game Fish Association 
World Records Department
300 Gulf Stream Way 
Dania Beach, FL 33004 
Telephone: 954-927-2628  Fax: 954-924-4299 
Contact: Jack Vitek

Angler purchases of fishing equipment and motor boat fuel support a variety of Sport Fish Restoration funded programs in Florida, including angler outreach, aquatic education, artificial reefs, stock enhancement, marine fisheries research, and boating-access improvements. This “user pay, public benefit” program provides funds to support fisheries conservation, including collaborative efforts between the FWC and the IGFA.

Please visit the following websites to access information on current Florida Saltwater Records, Record/Grand Slam Applications and Florida’s Sport Fish Restoration Program:

Florida Saltwater Records

Florida Saltwater Record Application

Florida Grand Slam Application

Florida Sport Fish Restoration Program




Gag grouper recreational harvest will close in state waters off the coasts of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties July 1, with the last day of harvest June 30.

The gag grouper recreational harvest season in Gulf of Mexico state waters, not including Franklin, Jefferson, Wakulla and Taylor counties, opened June 1 and will remain open through Dec. 31, closing Jan. 1, 2017. Monroe County is also excluded from this season because it follows the Atlantic season for gag grouper.

The four-county region 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) manages marine fish from the shore to 9 nautical miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gag grouper caught in federal waters during the federal season and in state waters outside the four-county region may be taken ashore in Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, but boats with gag grouper aboard may not stop and must have gear stowed while traveling through state waters in that region.

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Grouper.”




At the June 23 meeting near Apalachicola, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved measures to conserve bay scallops in the St. Joseph Bay area. The measures include delaying and shortening the recreational bay scallop season so it will open Aug. 22, run through Sept. 5, 2016 (Labor Day), and will close to harvest Sept. 6, as well as changing the daily bag limit to 40 scallops per person or 200 per vessel, whichever is less, in all waters west of St. Vincent Island through the west bank of Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.

Ongoing research and monitoring results indicate bay scallops in Gulf County were negatively impacted during a 2015 red tide event in the area. There has not been any red tide observed in the bay since January, and areas east of Gulf County do not appear to have been impacted.

The FWC has been working closely with Gulf County in a coordinated and cooperative effort to minimize negative impacts associated with potential low scallop numbers this summer. The FWC will continue monitoring the bay, and is currently conducting restoration efforts. FWC researchers have already collected 650 scallops and placed them in cages in the bay to help promote spawning, and will continue to collect more scallops for restoration purposes. Caged scallops will be marked. Tampering with or scalloping in areas near cages that are marked with no scalloping signage is prohibited.

In areas east of the western point of St. Vincent Island through the Pasco-Hernando county line, the 2016 bay scallop season will open June 25 through Sept. 24, closing Sept. 25 and the bag limit remains 2 gallons of whole bay scallops or 1 pint of meat per person, per day, with a vessel limit of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops or a half-gallon of meat. Areas west of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County are closed to bay scallop harvest.

Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net, and must be landed within the area that is open to harvest.

There is no commercial harvest allowed for bay scallops in Florida.

Be safe when diving for scallops. Stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down warning device (flag, buoy, etc.) when scalloping in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down warning device if on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down warning device in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed. Learn more about divers down warning devices at MyFWC.com/Boating by clicking on “Regulations.”

Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at http://svy.mk/bayscallops . Harvesters can indicate where they harvest scallops, how many they collect and how long it takes to harvest them. Participants can email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.
Learn more about long-term trends in the open and closed scalloping areas by visiting MyFWC.com/Research and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Mollusc,” “Bay Scallops” and “Season.”

For regulation updates, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”





Partnership focuses on increasing high school participation in fishing and conservation efforts by offering funds for fishing teams

By Amber Nabors

Participation in rough-and-tumble sports is a great way to get high schoolers exercising. But there are many students who want a different type of adrenaline rush than getting tackled on the football field or tossed in the air while cheering for their team. For those students, I strongly suggest fishing — and there is even funding available to get a team started or add members to an existing team.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), along with its partners the Fishing League Worldwide Foundation and The Bass Federation’s Student Angler Federation, are offering a grant from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation to encourage the creation and success of high school fishing teams and clubs in Florida. This partnership places a particular emphasis on establishing new high school angling teams and supporting existing ones in schools with diverse student populations.

The program will provide grants of up to $500 to assist with expenses related to fishing team or club-sponsored tournaments, team jerseys, insurance, and education for novice anglers. Supported teams and clubs will also partner with the FWC, FLW Foundation and The Bass Federation to complete a conservation project. The program not only benefits the students, but program participants and their families will receive education on conservation programs, aquatic and marine biology, and boating and angler safety.

High school can be incredibly stressful, and getting on or near the water to cast a line is a great stress reliever. Fishing encourages focusing on just one task at a time, which can give the brain the break it needs to process and store helpful information. Fishing also promotes mindfulness, because being aware of how fish habitats and changing weather and water conditions affect fish behavior improves fishing success.

And fishing doesn’t exclude the ladies. According to a recent report released by the RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation, of the 46 million Americans who fish today, more than one-third of them are women. In fact, the 2013 Florida High School State Champions were a female and male team from Bartow High School, and Tennessee’s Bethel University became the first college to offer a female angler a scholarship in 2010.

High school fishing teams and clubs do not have to be comprised of students from a single school. Students from several schools may come together to form a team or club, and fishing is one of the few sports where both male and female students can compete on the same team, at the same level.

There are countless benefits for both male and female students competing in team sports, such as building confidence, teaching respect and contributing to better health and stronger academics. But there are added benefits for female teammates competing alongside their male counterparts, such as an enhanced image of themselves and a greater overall resiliency, according to Jeffrey Rhoades, author of “The Joy of Youth Sports: Creating the Best Youth Sports Experience for Your Child.” Plus, the team camaraderie offers benefits to both sexes, as they enhance their social skills and learn to view one another as a friend and not an intimidating person.

High schoolers can also earn college scholarships for bass fishing. According to Bassmaster.com , there are nine colleges in Florida that have fishing teams affiliated with the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series: Daytona State College, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Florida, Florida State University, Indian River State College, Polk State College, Seminole State College of Florida, University of Central Florida and University of North Florida. The University of Florida even made the Fishing League Worldwide list of the “Top 25 Bass Fishing Colleges.”

To date, there have been five high school fishing grants awarded. The first five grant award recipients are: Academy of Environmental Science, Crystal River; Lake Wales High School, Lake Wales; Pasco Middle School, Dade City; South Dade High School, Homestead; and Space Coast Junior/Senior High School, Cocoa.

There is still ample grant funding available, so interested parties are encouraged to apply soon for consideration. Online applications should be submitted at www.flwfishing.com/foundation .

For more information about this program, email Amber Nabors at Amber.Nabors@MyFWC.com . For more information about the Fishing League Worldwide Foundation, go to www.flwfishing.com . For information about The Bass Federation’s Student Angler Federation, go to www.highschoolfishing.org . Information on the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation is available at www.takemefishing.org , select “Corporate” at the bottom of the page.



USCG Districts Seven & Eight - LNMs

The USCG District Seven Local Notice to Mariners http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lnms/lnm07122016.pdf  (12-2016) is now available for download. This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

In addition, the 2016 USCG Light List Volume Three is updated weekly on the following page: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lightListWeeklyUpdates  and is updated to Local Notice (12-2016), as is the summary of corrections http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lightLists/corrections/V3D07.pdf . These links must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

The Local Notice to Mariners, Light List, and Summary of Corrections are posted weekly and require Adobe Acrobat Reader https://get.adobe.com/reader/ (free download) or another PDF Viewer. This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

If the link does not work directly from your email editor you should either copy and paste the entire link into your web browser or follow the LNM links from the Navigation Center home page http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/ . This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

In order to download the latest information more rapidly:

•Place your mouse over the “PDF” symbol next to the corresponding week.
•Right click for PC / Control click for Mac.
•Choose “Save Target As”.
•Save the PDF to your computer and open using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If you have questions regarding this message, you may contact the Navigation Center http://navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=contactUs  (use “LNMs, Charts, Chart Corrections, or Light Lists” as the subject from the pull down menu). This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

To unsubscribe http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=listserverunsubscribe&srvr=LNMd7 .  This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

                        *** All links must be cut and pasted into the web browser.***

The USCG District Eight (Gulf) http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lnms/lnm0812g2016.pdf  (12-2016) is now available for download. This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

In addition, the 2016 USCG Light List Volume Four is updated weekly on the following page: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lightListWeeklyUpdates  and is updated to Local Notice (12-2016), as is the summary of corrections http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lightLists/corrections/V4D08GM.pdf . These links must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

The Local Notice to Mariners, Light List, and Summary of Corrections are posted weekly and require Adobe Acrobat Reader https://get.adobe.com/reader/  (free download) or another PDF Viewer. This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.

In order to download the latest information more rapidly:
•Place your mouse over the “PDF” symbol next to the corresponding week.
•Right click for PC / Control click for Mac.
•Choose “Save Target As”.
•Save the PDF to your computer and open using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If you have questions regarding this message, you may contact the Navigation Center http://navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=contactUs  (use “LNMs, Charts, Chart Corrections, or Light Lists” as the subject from the pull down menu). This link must be cut and pasted into the web browser.




Please be advised of changes to Charlotte County’s draft ordinance for a proposed Slow Speed Minimum Wake zone in the vicinity of Gasparilla Sound. These changes are a result of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) decision to approve in part and deny in part Charlotte County’s originally proposed draft ordinance pursuant to Section 327.46(1)(c), Florida Statutes (F.S.) and Rule 68D-21.004(3)(a) – (e), Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). The version of the draft ordinance attached is in accordance with FWC’s final agency action as previously noticed to the public on May 11, 2016.

Charlotte County Draft Ordinance (Gasparilla Sound).docx

Gasparilla Sound - Final Agency Action Revised 05-11-2016.pdf




Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin at 05/20/2016 03:00 PM EDT

The Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists along Pinellas, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties in Southwest Florida.

In addition, one sample collected from inshore waters of Brevard County (East Coast) contained background concentrations of K. brevis.

Fish kills and respiratory irritation were not reported in Southwest Florida over the past week. Forecasts for Southwest Florida by the USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides show net southern movement of surface waters and southern, onshore movement of bottom waters between Pinellas and Lee counties over the next 3 days.

This information, including maps and reports with additional details, is also available on the FWRI Red Tide website. The website also provides links to additional information related to the topic of Florida red tide including satellite imagery, experimental red tide forecasts, shellfish harvesting areas, the FWC Fish Kill Hotline, the Florida Poison Information Center (to report human health effects related to exposure to red tide), and other wildlife related hotlines.

To learn more about various organisms that have been known to cause algal blooms in Florida waters, see the FWRI Red Tide Flickr page. Archived status maps can also be found on Flickr.

The FWRI HAB group in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory now have a facebook page.  Please like our page and learn interesting facts concerning red tide and other harmful algal blooms in Florida.

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