The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is considering several changes to state reef fish regulations based on stakeholder input. The purpose of these rule amendments is to update reef fish regulations to align with ...  

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    FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

    Marine Fisheries

    RULE NOS.:RULE TITLES:

    68B-14.001Purpose and Intent, Designation as Restricted Species

    68B-14.0035Size Limits: Amberjacks, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper

    68B-14.00355Size Limits for Importation and Sale

    68B-14.0036Recreational Bag Limits: Snapper, Grouper, Hogfish, Black Sea Bass, Red Porgy, Amberjacks, Tilefish, Exception, Wholesale/Retail Purchase Exemption

    68B-14.0042Recreational Hogfish Season

    68B-14.0045Commercial Harvest Requirements; Licenses, Season Closures, Bag and Trip Limits

    PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is considering several changes to state reef fish regulations based on stakeholder input. The purpose of these rule amendments is to update reef fish regulations to align with stakeholder requests. Several of these changes would result in increased consistency with regulations for adjacent federal waters, may result in longer fishing seasons for federally-permitted commercial fishermen, or reduce regulatory dead discards. In addition, this rulemaking includes several technical changes to rule, corrects outdated references to federal rules, streamlines gag and black grouper minimum size limit language, and clarifies that the import size limit for gag grouper is 24 inches, which is the same as the minimum size limit for harvest statewide.

    The effect of the proposed rule amendments would be:

    • Blueline tilefish is designated a restricted species. This designation means commercial harvesters must have a Restricted Species Endorsement (RS) for harvest and sale of blueline tilefish. This may result in a longer blueline tilefish season for federally-permitted Atlantic commercial fishermen.

    • The commercial minimum size limit for almaco jack is set at 20 inches fork length for Atlantic state waters. This will end harvest of small fish, increase reproductive potential of the stock, and may lengthen the fishing season. The South Atlantic Council recently approved a 20-inch commercial minimum size limit for Atlantic federal waters.

    • The minimum size limit for blackfin, queen, and silk snapper is removed. These deep-water fish are extremely susceptible to barotrauma, thus allowing fishermen to keep any of these fish that they catch will reduce dead discards. This matches current and pending regulations in federal waters.

    • Outdated commercial vessel limit and season language for Atlantic red porgy is removed. Because other provisions in FWC rule require commercial harvesters to follow federal vessel limits and seasons in Atlantic state waters, removing this outdated rule language would reduce confusion.

    • Technical updates are made and outdated references to federal rules are corrected.

    • The minimum size limit rule language for gag and black grouper is streamlined and the gag grouper import size limit is clarified.

    SUMMARY: The proposed rule amendments would modify state reef fish regulations to align with stakeholder requests; increase consistency with regulations in adjacent federal waters; reduce regulatory dead discards; incorporate technical changes and correct outdated references; and streamline and clarify existing regulations. Specifically, the proposed rule amendments will designate blueline tilefish as a restricted species; set the commercial minimum size limit for almaco jack in Atlantic state waters at 20 inches; remove the minimum size limits for blackfin, queen, and silk snapper; remove outdated commercial vessel limit and season rule language for Atlantic red porgy; make technical updates and correct outdated federal rule citations; streamline the minimum size limit rule language for gag and black grouper; and clarify the minimum import size limit for gag grouper.

    SUMMARY OF STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED REGULATORY COSTS AND LEGISLATIVE RATIFICATION:

    The Agency has determined that this will not have an adverse impact on small business or likely increase directly or indirectly regulatory costs in excess of $200,000 in the aggregate within one year after the implementation of the rule. A SERC has not been prepared by the Agency.

    The Agency has determined that the proposed rule is not expected to require legislative ratification based on the statement of estimated regulatory costs or if no SERC is required, the information expressly relied upon and described herein: the nature of the rule and the preliminary analysis conducted to determine whether a SERC was required.

    Any person who wishes to provide information regarding a statement of estimated regulatory costs, or provide a proposal for a lower cost regulatory alternative must do so in writing within 21 days of this notice.

    RULEMAKING AUTHORITY: Article IV, Section 9, Florida Constitution

    LAW IMPLEMENTED: Article IV, Section 9, Florida Constitution

    IF REQUESTED WITHIN 21 DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE, A HEARING WILL BE HELD AT THE DATE, TIME AND PLACE SHOWN BELOW:

    DATE AND TIME: July 17 and 18, 2019, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., each day

    PLACE: Hutchison Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina, 555 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart, FL 34996

    Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 5 days before the workshop/meeting by contacting: the ADA Coordinator, at (850)488-6411. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).

    THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULE IS: Jessica McCawley, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries Management, 2590 Executive Center Circle East, Suite 201, Tallahassee, Florida 32301, and (850)487-0554.

     

    THE FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULE IS:

     

    68B-14.001 Purpose and Intent, Designation as Restricted Species.

    (1) No change.

    (2) Designation as restricted species. The following species are hereby designated as restricted species pursuant to section 379.101(32), F.S.:

    (a) through (f) No change.

    (g) Golden tilefish – Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps.

    (h) Blueline tilefish – Caulolatilus microps.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const., Chapter 83-134, Laws of Fla., as amended by Chapter 84-121, Laws of Fla. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const., Chapter 83-134, Laws of Fla., as amended by Chapter 84-121, Laws of Fla. History–New 7-29-85, Amended 12-11-86, 2-1-90, 12-31-92, 3-31-94, 12-31-98, Formerly 46-14.001, Amended 1-1-00, 1-1-03, 7-1-07, 7-1-16, ________.

     

    68B-14.0035 Size Limits: Amberjacks, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper.

    No person shall land, possess, unnecessarily destroy, purchase, exchange, sell or offer for sale any of the following species harvested in or from state waters, of a length less than set forth as follows:

    (1) Amberjacks (measured in terms of fork length).

    (a) Almaco jack harvested commercially from the Atlantic Ocean 20 inches.

    (a) renumbered (b). No change.

    (c)(b) 1. No change.

    2. Greater amberjack harvested recreationally from the Gulf of Mexico 34 inches consistent with the Federal Standards established in 50 C.F.R. §622.37(c)(4) as of January 4, 2016.

    3. No change.

    (c) renumbered (d). No change.

    (2) through (3) No change.

    (4) Grouper (measured in terms of total length).

    (a) Black grouper 24 inches. 1. Black grouper harvested recreationally from the Atlantic Ocean and all waters of Monroe County 24 inches.

    2. Black grouper harvested recreationally from the Gulf of Mexico except from all waters of Monroe County 24 inches consistent with the Federal Standards established in 50 C.F.R. §622.37(b)(5)(ii) as of May 25, 2016.

    (b) Black grouper harvested commercially 24 inches.

    (b)(c) Gag grouper 24 inches. 1. Gag harvested recreationally from the Atlantic Ocean and all waters of Monroe County 24 inches.

    2. Gag harvested recreationally from the Gulf of Mexico except from all waters of Monroe County 24 inches consistent with the Federal Standards established in 50 C.F.R. §622.37(b)(1)(ii) as of May 25, 2016.

    (d)1. Gag harvested commercially from the Atlantic Ocean and all waters of Monroe County 24 inches.

    2. Gag harvested commercially from the Gulf of Mexico except from all waters of Monroe County 24 inches consistent with the Federal Standards established in 50 C.F.R. §622.37(b)(1) as of July 23, 2018.

    (e) through (h) renumbered (c) through (f). No change.

    (5)(a) Hogfish harvested from all waters of the Atlantic Ocean and south of 25°09' North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico 16 inches fork length (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.185(c)(3)(ii) as of August 24, 2017 8-24-17).

    (b) Hogfish harvested north of 25°09' North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico 14 inches fork length (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.37(c)(2) as of August 24, 2017 8-24-17).

    (6) No change.

    (7) Snapper (measured in terms of total length).

    (a) Blackfin snapper 12 inches.

    (b) through (g) renumbered (a) through (f). No change.

    (h) Queen snapper 12 inches.

    (i) through (j) renumbered (g) through (h). No change.

    (k) Silk snapper 12 inches.

    (l) through (o) renumbered (i) through (l). No change.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. History–New 12-31-98, Amended 3-1-99, Formerly 46-14.0035, Amended 1-1-00, 1-1-01, 1-1-01, 1-1-03, 9-16-05, 7-1-06, 7-1-07, 4-1-08, 1-6-09, 8-27-09, 3-23-12, 6-10-13, 7-9-15, 1-4-16, 6-1-16, 7-1-16, 11-17-16, 1-1-17, 8-24-17, 1-16-18, 7-23-18, 1-15-19,          .

     

    68B-14.00355 Size Limits for Importation and Sale.

    (1) No person shall possess for purposes of sale, purchase, sell, or exchange any of the following species of a length less than set forth as follows:

    (a) through (c) No change.

    (d) Grouper (measured in terms of total length).

    1. No change.

    2. Gag 24 22 inches.

    3. through 5. No change.

    (e) Hogfish 14 inches fork length (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.37(c)(2) as of August 24, 2017 8-24-17).

    (f) No change.

    (2) Minimum size limits do not apply to the possession, purchase, sale, or exchange of the following species that have been imported from another state or foreign country: almaco jack, banded rudderfish, lesser amberjack, yellowmouth grouper, blackfin snapper, queen snapper, silk snapper, or red porgy.

    (3) through (4) No change.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. History–New 1-1-03, Amended 9-16-05, 7-1-06, 7-1-07, 4-1-08, 8-27-09, 3-23-12, 7-9-15, 11-17-16, 1-1-17, 8-24-17,          .

     

    68B-14.0036 Recreational Bag Limits: Snapper, Grouper, Hogfish, Black Sea Bass, Red Porgy, Amberjacks, Tilefish, Exception, Wholesale/Retail Purchase Exemption.

    (1) Snapper.

    (a) through (c) No change.

    (d) Vermilion snapper. Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, more than 5 vermilion snapper per day (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.187(b)(5) (as of January 16, 2013). No recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, more than 10 vermilion snapper per day. Such bag and possession shall not be counted for purposes of the aggregate snapper bag and possession limits prescribed in paragraph (a).

    (e) through (g) No change.

    (2) Grouper.

    (a) and (b) No change.

    (c) Red grouper. Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, except in all waters of Monroe County, within the the aggregate bag and possession limit established in paragraph (2)(a), no more than 2 fish may be red grouper (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.38(b)(2) as of May 7, 2015). No recreational harvester may harvest in or from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, nor possess while in or on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, except in all waters of Monroe County, more than 2 red grouper.

    (d) through (g) No change.

    (3) Hogfish.

    (a) In the Atlantic Ocean and south of 25°09' North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters, nor possess while in or on state waters, more than 1 hogfish per day (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.187(b)(3)(ii) as of August 24, 2017 8-24-17).

    (b) In the Gulf of Mexico north of 25°09' North Latitude, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters, nor possess while in or on state waters, more than 5 hogfish per day (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.38(b)(7) as of August 24, 2017 8-24-17).

    (4) through (10) No change.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. History–New 12-31-98, Amended 3-1-99, Formerly 46-14.0036, Amended 10-22-99, 1-1-00, 3-6-00, 3-1-01, 1-1-03, 1-3-05, 9-16-05, 1-1-06, 7-1-06, 7-1-07, 4-1-08, 1-6-09, 8-27-09, 10-16-09, 1-19-10, 12-30-11, 7-1-12, 6-10-13(4), 6-10-13(8), 3-13-14, 5-7-15, 7-1-16, 11-17-16, 1-1-17, 5-30-17, 8-24-17, 1-16-18,          .

     

    68B-14.0042 Recreational Hogfish Season.

    (1) Hogfish Open Seasons. In all state waters of the Atlantic Ocean and south of 25°09' North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico, the season for the recreational harvest and possession of hogfish shall be May 1 through October 31 (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.183(b)(4) as of August 24, 2017 8-24-17).

    (2) Hogfish Closed Seasons. Except for persons harvesting hogfish for commercial purposes pursuant to Rule 68B-14.0045, F.A.C., no person shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean and south of 25°09' North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico any hogfish from January 1 through April 30 and November 1 through December 31 (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 50 C.F.R. §622.183(b)(4) as of August 24, 2017 8-24-17).

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. History–New 8-24-17,          .

     

    68B-14.0045 Commercial Harvest Requirements; Licenses, Season Closures, Bag and Trip Limits.

    (1) Licenses.

    (a) Each person harvesting any of the species listed in subsection 68B-14.001(2), F.A.C., for commercial purposes in state waters shall possess a valid saltwater products license with a restricted species endorsement and:

    1. If fishing in state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, either a valid transferable commercial permit or a trip-limited commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper pursuant to 50 C.F.R. §622.170(a)(1) §622.18 issued to and possessed aboard the vessel.

    2. If fishing in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a valid commercial reef fish permit pursuant to 50 C.F.R. §622.20(a)(1) §622.4(a)(2)(v) issued to and possessed aboard the vessel, except as provided in subparagraph 3.

    3. through 4. No change.

    (b) through (e) No change.

    (2) Season Closures.

    (a) through (e) No change.

    (f) Beginning January 1 and continuing through April 30 each year, no person harvesting for commercial purposes shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, any red porgy; provided, however, a person harvesting other species for commercial purposes during this closure may harvest and possess three red porgy. During this closed season, the purchase, sale, or exchange of any red porgy harvested from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean is prohibited.

    (g) renumbered (f). No change.

    (3) Bag and Trip Limits.

    (a) through (c) No change.

    (d) Red Porgy. Except during the closed season specified in paragraph (2)(f), no more than 50 pounds of red porgy shall be possessed aboard any vessel in or on state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, or landed from such a vessel, per day.

    (e) renumbered (d). No change.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. History–New 2-1-90, Amended 12-31-92, 10-18-93, 3-1-94, 6-15-95, 1-1-96, 11-27-96, 12-31-98, 3-1-99, Formerly 46-14.0045, Amended 1-1-00, 3-6-00, 1-1-01, 3-1-01, 6-1-01, 1-1-03, 7-15-04, 5-20-05, 9-16-05, 3-10-06, 7-1-07, 4-1-08, 8-27-09, 1-19-10, 1-12-11, 6-10-13, 10-16-14, 7-1-16, 1-1-17, 1-1-19,          .

     

    PROPOSED EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2019

    BE ADVISED THAT THESE PROPOSED RULES MAY BE FILED FOR ADOPTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FOLLOWING THE COMMISSION MEETING AT WHICH THEY ARE CONSIDERED IF THE RULES ARE NOT CHANGED.  IF CHANGED, THE RULES MAY BE FILED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER PUBLICATION OF A NOTICE OF CHANGE IN THE F.A.R.

     

    NAME OF PERSON ORIGINATING PROPOSED RULE: Jessica McCawley, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries Management, 2590 Executive Center Circle East, Suite 201, Tallahassee, Florida 32301, and (850) 487-0554.

    NAME OF AGENCY HEAD WHO APPROVED THE PROPOSED RULE: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    DATE PROPOSED RULE APPROVED BY AGENCY HEAD: May 1, 2019

    DATE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT PUBLISHED IN FAR: January 23, 2019

Document Information

Comments Open:
5/7/2019
Effective Date:
7/1/2019
Summary:
The proposed rule amendments would modify state reef fish regulations to align with stakeholder requests; increase consistency with regulations in adjacent federal waters; reduce regulatory dead discards; incorporate technical changes and correct outdated references; and streamline and clarify existing regulations. Specifically, the proposed rule amendments will designate blueline tilefish as a restricted species; set the commercial minimum size limit for almaco jack in Atlantic state waters ...
Purpose:
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) is considering several changes to state reef fish regulations based on stakeholder input. The purpose of these rule amendments is to update reef fish regulations to align with stakeholder requests. Several of these changes would result in increased consistency with regulations for adjacent federal waters, may result in longer fishing seasons for federally-permitted commercial fishermen, or reduce regulatory dead discards. In ...
Rulemaking Authority:
Article IV, Section 9, Florida Constitution
Law:
Article IV, Section 9, Florida Constitution
Contact:
Jessica McCawley, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries Management, 2590 Executive Center Circle East, Suite 201, Tallahassee, Florida 32301, and (850) 487-0554.
Related Rules: (6)
68B-14.001. Purpose and Intent, Designation as Restricted Species
68B-14.0035. Size Limits: Amberjacks, Black Sea Bass, Gray Triggerfish, Grouper, Hogfish, Red Porgy, Snapper
68B-14.00355. Size Limits for Importation and Sale
68B-14.0036. Recreational Bag Limits: Snapper, Grouper, Hogfish, Black Sea Bass, Red Porgy, Amberjacks, Exception, Wholesale/Retail Purchase Exemption
68B-14.0042.
More ...