MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION
(Contact: Charles L. Shelfer, 487-0554)
Item A Minutes
Submittal of November 29, 1995, and February 27 and March 12, 1996 minutes. The November 29, 1995 minutes were deferred on February 27, 1996, to allow corrections to be made.
(See Attachment A, Pages 1-6)
Item B King Mackerel - Gulf Group Rule 46-12.0035
Consideration of proposed amendment of Rule 46-12.0035, F.A.C., relating to the Gulf of Mexico group of king mackerel.
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: In November, 1993, the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the federal 20 inch size limit for Gulf group king mackerel. The Commission did not include a provision at that time, which would require that all such king mackerel be landed in a whole condition with heads and fins intact. Without such language, a species size limit cannot be effectively enforced. Accordingly, the purpose of this rule amendment is to provide language requiring the maintenance of all king mackerel harvested in the Gulf fishery in a whole condition in and on state waters as well as at fishing sites on adjacent public and private lands. The effect will be to ensure enforcement of the size limit and thus, greater protection for the species.
SUMMARY: A new subsection (2) has been added to Rule 46-12.0035, requiring the maintenance of all king mackerel in a whole condition, in and on state waters, and on fishing piers, jetties, and bridges where fishing is allowed.
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the January 5, 1996 issue of the Florida Administrative Weekly.
(See Attachment B, Pages 1-12)
Item C Spiny Lobster Trap Reduction Rule 46-24.009
Consideration of proposed amendment of Rule 46-24.009, F.A.C., relating to the schedule for trap reduction in the spiny lobster (crawfish) fishery.
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The purpose of this rule amendment is to suspend for one year the scheduled 10% reduction in the number of spiny lobster traps fished during the 1996-1997 spiny lobster season. Section 370.142, Florida Statutes, establishes the spiny lobster trap reduction program with the goal of reducing the number of traps used in the fishery to the lowest number that will maintain or increase overall catch levels, promote economic efficiency, and conserve natural resources. The Marine Fisheries Commission is authorized to "set an overall trap reduction goal" and "an annual trap reduction schedule, not to exceed 10 percent per year." The statute goes on to require the Commission to "provide for an annual evaluation of the trap reduction process" and to "suspend the annual percentage reductions for any period deemed necessary by the Commission in order to assess the impact of the trap reduction schedule on the fishery." Rule 46-24.009, F.A.C., began 10% reductions annually in 1993. With three full seasons of such reductions accomplished, the Marine Fisheries Commission has determined that the scheduled reduction for the 1996-1997 spiny lobster season should be suspended to allow for a detailed analysis of the progress made so far at achieving the goals of the program. The effect of this suspension will be to allow commercial spiny lobster trap harvesters to use the same number of traps in the upcoming season as they did in the 1995-1996 season, while the Department of Environmental Protection assists the Commission in evaluating the impacts of trap reduction. Suspension of the trap reduction regime for one season should have no effect on the health and abundance of the spiny lobster resource.
SUMMARY: A new paragraph (b) is added to subsection (1) of Rule
46-24.009, F.A.C., to suspend the scheduled 10 percent reduction
in the total number of traps used in the spiny lobster fishery
during the 1996-1997 season. Paragraph (a) of the subsection
is amended to technically conform to the new paragraph.
(See Attachment C, Pages 1-10)
Item D Recreational Shrimping: Rule Chapter 46-31
Consideration of proposed amendments to Rule Chapter 46-31, F.A.C., relating to the use of frame nets by recreational shrimp harvesters.
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The purpose of these rule amendments is to allow recreational shrimp harvesters to use frame nets from structures, other than operational bridges, where recreational fishing is allowed. The Marine Fisheries Commission adopted rules effective in 1992 that required the use of such gear from vessels. Numerous requests have been received to allow the use of frame nets from piers and other fishing structures, particularly from recreational harvesters who fish in the Florida Keys. The effect of these rule amendments should be to allow greater access to these marine resources by recreational harvesters, while not exascerbating conflicts among fishers seeking to harvest shrimp from operational bridges and causeways.
SUMMARY: The definition of the term "frame net" in subsection (8) of Rule 46-31.006, F.A.C., is amended to delete the requirement that such nets be fished from a vessel. Paragraph (2)(d) of Rule 46-31.007, F.A.C., is amended to allow the deployment of a frame net from a vessel or structure other than an operational bridge or causeway, by recreational shrimp harvesters. Subsection (2) of Rule 46-31.013, F.A.C., is amended to require that food shrimp producers in the Southeast Region deploy frame nets from vessels only.
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the March 1, 1996 issue of the Florida Administrative Weekly. No public rulemaking hearing was requested or held on the proposed rule. Notice of this meeting of the Board of Trustees was published in the April 19, 1996 issue of the F.A.W.
(See Attachment D, Pages 1-11)
Item E Northeast Florida Shrimping Rule Chapter 46-31
Consideration of proposed rule amendments and new rule for Rule Chapter 46-31, F.A.C., relating to shrimping and shrimp gear requirements for the Northeast Region of Florida.
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), an interstate compact organization with authority to require individual state compliance with management plans for marine species important to states along the eastern seaboard of the United States, has adopted a management plan for weakfish that requires Florida (along with North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) to reduce the bycatch mortality of weakfish in shrimp trawl fisheries by 50%. The weakfish is a species that inhabits coastal waters from New England through the east central coast of Florida, and is considered severely overfished throughout its range. Weakfish are harvested in Florida in several significant ways, including as a bycatch in otter trawls used in food shrimp production and live bait shrimp harvest. The primary purpose of these rule amendments and new rule is to achieve the ASMFC goal by requiring the use of bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) in such trawls used in all Florida waters of the Northeast Region of Florida. The devices being specified, the Florida Finfish Excluder and the Extended Funnel BRD, have been tested and shown to be effective in excluding finfishes in inshore waters of the region, without appreciable loss of shrimp. The effect of this portion of the rule amendments and new rule will be to reduce by at least 50% the mortality of weakfish, particularly the juveniles of the species, and other finfish species resulting from harvest in shrimp trawls inshore and offshore of the northeast Florida coast. A secondary purpose of these rule amendments and new rule is to eliminate minimum size regulation in food shrimp production in the region and increase mesh size used in otter trawls engaged in such production. The Commission has a policy of eliminating minimum size regulation - the "count law" - once areas where undersize shrimp are harvested are closed on a year-round or seasonal basis. In 1994, the Marine Fisheries Commission closed a number of small creeks in Duval and Nassau Counties to all shrimp harvest. Increasing the minimum mesh size in the body and cod end of otter trawls used in the production of food shrimp in the Northeast Region may allow for some additional escapement of undersize shrimp from this gear. The effect of these changes will be to simplify enforcement of shrimping rules in the region.
SUMMARY: A new subsection (2) is added to Rule 46-31.003, F.A.C., to require that persons operating otter trawls in the Northeast Florida Live Bait Shrimp Fishery install a bycatch reduction device meeting the requirements of Rule 46-31.0045. Current subsection (2) is renumbered as subsection (3).
Subsection (1) of proposed new Rule 46-31.0045 requires the use of a bycatch reduction device (BRD) in all otter trawls in regions where such use is required elsewhere in the rule chapter. Subsection (2) prohibits the alteration of any such device to render it ineffective in excluding species other than shrimp from the trawl. Subsection (3) provides specifications for two acceptable devices, the Florida Finfish Excluder and the Extended Funnel BRD.
A new paragraph © is added to subsection (1) of Rule 46-31.009, F.A.C., to exempt Northeast Region food shrimp producers from size limit provisions of the rule, beginning July 1, 1996.
Subsection (2) of Rule 46-31.014, F.A.C., is amended to increase the minimum mesh size allowed in trawls used in food shrimp production to 7/8 inch bar measurement in the body of the net and to ¾ inch in the cod end. A new subsection (4) is added to the rule to require the use of a bycatch reduction device (BRD) meeting the requirements of Rule 46-31.0045 in all otter trawls used in food shrimp production in all Florida waters in the Northeast Region.
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the March 1, 1996 issue of the Florida Administrative Weekly. A public rulemaking hearing was held by the Commission on April 2, 1996, in Panama City Beach. Changes made as a result of the hearing and notice of this meeting of the Board of Trustees was published in the April 19, 1996 issue of the F.A.W.
(See Attachment E, Pages 1-46)
Item F Baitfish Trawl Fisheries Rule 46-50.001
Consideration of proposed new Rule 46-50.001, allowing for the directed harvest of listed baitfish species with specified surface trawl gear in the Northwest Region of Florida.
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: With the prohibition of entangling net gears and the limitation on the size of other nets used in nearshore and inshore Florida waters by Article X, Section 16 of the State Constitution, commercial harvesters of marine species have explored the use of gear types that were not previously considered cost effective. The purpose of this proposed new rule is to provide a new avenue of gear use to these harvesters, many of whom previously harvested baitfish species in nearshore and inshore waters with purse seines. Unlike trawls used for the harvest of shrimp in most Florida waters, the trawls that are being authorized for the harvest of baitfish by this new rule are intended to be surface-tending in order to minimize potential bycatch. The trawls used to take shrimp drag along the sea floor and can have deleterious effects on habitat and benthic organisms, in addition to high bycatch levels. The rule's limitation on the species that may be harvested, bycatch, areas and seasons, tow time, and trawl size are all intended to minimize these effects and safeguard the biological viability of the species. The effect of the proposed new rule will be to encourage experimentation with this gear and help maintain the supply of baitfish for commercial and recreational uses.
SUMMARY: Subsection (1) of proposed new Rule 46-50.001 lists the species of baitfish that are allowed to be harvested with baitfish trawls: menhaden, round herring, scaled sardine, Atlantic thread herring, sardines, anchovies, round scad, chub mackerel, blue runner, and ladyfish. Subsection (2) specifies a bycatch allowance totalling 10% for other species taken in the lawful harvest of the listed baitfish with a baitfish trawl. Subsection (3) specifies that the use of baitfish trawls will only be allowed in the Northwest Region, sets an open season of April 1 through November 15 each year, and provides for sunset of the provision allowing baitfish trawls on November 15, 1998. Subsection (4) limits baitfish trawls to 30 minute maximum tow time, specifies a 66-foot maximum perimeter, 500 square foot maximum mesh area, and two net limit on all baiitfish trawls whereever used. Subsection (5) provides definitions of the terms "baitfish trawl", "cod end", "mesh area", "Northwest Region", and "perimeter".
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the March 1, 1996 issue of the Florida Administrative Weekly. A public rulemaking was held by the Commission on April 2, 1996, in Panama City Beach, Florida. Notice of changes made to the rule as a result of the hearing and notice of this meeting of the Board of Trustees was published in the April 19, 1996 issue of the F.A.W.
(See Attachment F, Pages 1-43)