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AUGUST 13, 2002
Substitute Page


Item 1 Minutes

Submittal of the Minutes from the March 26, 2002 Cabinet Meeting.

(See Attachment 1, Pages 1-2)



Substitute Item 2 Aquaculture Rule 18-21, F.A.C Amendments/DOA to Adopt Rule

REQUEST: Consideration of the staff request for a policy discussion about aquaculture activities on sovereignty submerged lands and direction on how to proceed with the proposed amendments to chapter 18-21, Florida Administrative Code.

COUNTY: Statewide

APPLICANT: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

STAFF REMARKS: The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) requests discussion and direction concerning how to proceed with the rulemaking process, including approval to amend portions of chapter 18-21, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), that deal with aquacultural activities conducted on sovereignty submerged lands. CS/CS/CS SB806, 2000-364, Laws of Florida, amended section 253.002, Florida Statutes (F.S.), to allow DACS to act as staff to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (Board of Trustees) for purposes relative to aquaculture. On July 25, 2000, the Board of Trustees approved without objection (1) delegation of authority to the Commissioner of Agriculture "to perform duties and functions on their behalf for actions associated with aquaculture on sovereignty submerged lands" and (2) authorization for DACS to initiate rulemaking to amend chapter 18-21, F.A.C., to specify DACS' duties and functions related to managing aquacultural activities on sovereignty submerged lands.

Subsection 253.002(2), F.S., provides that delegations to DACS "of authority to take final agency action on applications for authorization to use submerged lands owned by the board of trustees, without any action on behalf of the Board of Trustees, shall be by rule." In the rulemaking process, a question has been raised concerning the scope of the duties of DACS as provided in section 253.002, F.S. Specifically, the issue asks (1) whether DACS has Board of Trustee responsibility for aquaculture and aquaculture-related activities such as docks situated on or over sovereignty submerged lands, and (2) whether these activities, referred to as aquaculture support facilities, should be authorized under the provisions for commercial docks or aquaculture activities.

Depending upon the direction from the Board of Trustees, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has completed draft amendments to chapter 18-21, F.A.C., and is prepared to initiate the notice of proposed rulemaking pursuant to chapter 120, F.S. At the discretion of the Board of Trustees, DACS will publish the proposed rule amendments in the Florida Administrative Weekly to seek public comment concerning the proposed rule amendments. After receiving public comments and making recommended changes to the proposed draft rule, DACS will bring a final draft of the rule back before the Board of Trustees for consideration and then for final adoption.

Florida has been very progressive in its support of aquacultural development as a practicable alternative to commercial fishing and conventional agriculture to foster economic development in rural and coastal communities. The use of sovereignty submerged lands has been a major component in the growth of marine aquaculture, as the Board of Trustees and the Florida Legislature have recognized that it is in the state's interest to promote aquacultural production by leasing sovereignty submerged lands. The Board of Trustees authorizes the use of
Board of Trustees
Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Agenda - August 13, 2002
Substitute Page Two


Substitute Item 2, cont.

sovereignty submerged lands to produce aquacultural products pursuant to the policies provided in the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code. Chapter 18-21, F.A.C., provides the forms of authorization for using sovereignty submerged lands for aquacultural purposes. Currently, chapter 18-21, F.A.C., contains numerous provisions that relate to aquaculture on sovereignty submerged lands; however, these provisions are found in numerous sections of the rule, making them difficult to identify and understand. The proposed amendments are partitioned in new rule sections (ss. 18-21.020 through 18-21.022) that are specifically related to aquaculture. The proposed amendments in section 18-21.020 incorporate substantially the same general standards and criteria for aquaculture leases that are provided in the existing rule and would add new specific standards and criteria for aquaculture support facilities. Two new forms of authorization would be added, which are (1) an aquaculture support facility lease and (2) an aquaculture letter of consent, to provide authorization specifically for aquaculture support facilities that require the use of sovereignty submerged lands. The proposed amendments in section 18-21.021 include the procedures and processes for applications and authorization to use sovereignty submerged lands for aquacultural purposes. This section was restructured to provide an easier-to-follow format, but includes substantially the same application information, review process, and administrative procedures as in the existing rules. The proposed amendments in section 18-21.022 include substantially the same provisions for fees and payments as the existing rules. No new or increased fees have been proposed.

(See Attachment 2, Pages 1-27)