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FWC Announces 2017 Gulf County bay scallop season

Gulf County bay scallop season to open Sept. 23

The Gulf County bay scallop season will open to harvest Sept. 23. The 2017 season was postponed earlier this year due to a naturally occurring algae bloom (Pseudo-nitzschia) in St. Joseph Bay that affects shellfish. Recent samples have indicated that the scallops in St. Joseph Bay are safe for human consumption and meet FDA requirements for opening harvest in the bay. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will continue testing of the bay.

The 2017 season will be open for 16 days, with the last day of harvest being Oct. 8 and closing Oct. 9. This season opening includes all state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. All other regulations apply, including a daily bag limit of 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.

The scallop population in Gulf County is also still recovering from a 2015 red tide. Restoration efforts are underway in the southeast area of the bay south of Black’s Island. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area marked with FWC buoys is prohibited. The recent Pseudo-nitzschia algal bloom is not expected to impact the scallop population.

The bay scallop season for Gulf County was originally scheduled to open July 25 and close Sept. 10.

For updates and more information on bay scallops, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.” In areas outside of Gulf County, waters from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the Suwannee River and from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County will close to harvest Sept. 25. The bay scallop season in state waters from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County to the Suwannee River in Dixie County closed Sept. 10. Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at 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,” “Molluscs,” “Bay Scallops” and “Season.”

This article was copied from https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1b05e43.

FWC Announces 2017 Gulf Triggerfish Season

Gulf gray triggerfish fall season dates announced

Gray triggerfish will open in Gulf of Mexico state waters Sept. 1 through 4Sept. 9 and 10Oct. 7 and 8, and Oct. 14 and 15 for recreational harvest. During this season opening, the Gulf state waters minimum size limit is 14 inches fork length and the daily bag limit is two per person, per day.

“The FWC has heard from many anglers who are seeing more and bigger gray triggerfish, and we have listened to their requests for additional and sustainable fishing opportunities,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Brian Yablonski.  “We are pleased to announce new triggerfish fishing days in state waters, especially the Sept. 1 through 4 season dates, which are also when the popular red snapper season is open in state and federal Gulf waters.”

At its July meeting in Orlando, the Commission directed staff to implement a limited fall season for 2017 via an executive order.

Earlier this year, the Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season was closed in both state and federal waters for all of 2017 due to the 2016 federal quota being exceeded. The Commission decided to open Gulf state waters for a limited harvest opportunity this fall after considering public testimony on gray triggerfish.

The Commission also approved several other management changes at the July meeting that should go into effect sometime in 2018. These changes will not be in effect during the 2017 season opening. These changes are consistent with pending changes in federal waters and include:

  • Decreasing the recreational daily bag limit from two to one fish per person.
  • Increasing the recreational size limit from 14 to 15 inches fork length.
  • Creating a January through February annual recreational closure in addition to the current June through July annual spawning closure.

These federal consistency measures should help maintain fishing opportunities for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters for 2018 and beyond.

More information about Gulf gray triggerfish regulations may be found at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.”

This article was copied from https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1b05e43

FWC Goliath Grouper Workshops

Goliath Grouper Workshops

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your input on goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters.

The FWC is hosting several goliath grouper public workshops throughout the state in August and October. Share your input and learn more about the current status of goliath grouper by attending one of these workshops.

Workshops will be from 5 to 8 p.m. local time:

  • July 31: Lake Worth, Lantana Road Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road
  • Aug. 1: Key West, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
  • Aug. 2: Marathon, Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys, 1996 Overseas Highway.
  • Aug. 3: Key Largo, Murray Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Highway.
  • Aug. 8: Crystal River, Plantation on Crystal River, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail.
  • Aug. 9: Carrabelle, Franklin County Senior Citizens Center, 201 NW Ave. F.
  • Aug 16: Pensacola, Sanders Beach – Corinne Jones Resource Center, 913 South I St.
  • Aug. 17: Panama City, Bland Conference Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive.
  • Oct. 9: Jacksonville, Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Blvd.
  • Oct. 10: Titusville, American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive.
  • Oct. 11: Stuart, Flagler Place, 201 SW Flagler Ave.
  • Oct. 12: Davie, Old Davie School Historical Museum, 6650 Griffin Road.
  • Oct. 16: Pinellas Park, Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, 9501 U.S. Highway 19 N.
  • Oct. 17: Port Charlotte, The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron St.
  • Oct. 18: Naples, Collier County Public Library - South Regional, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway

If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online by visiting MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments. Staff is working on a virtual workshop that should be available online in the near future.

Workshop presentation Adobe PDF

Copied from http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/rulemaking/workshops/

Gulf County scallop season postponed due to naturally occurring algae bloom

Gulf County scallop season postponed due to naturally occurring algae bloom

 

 

News Release

Monday, July 24, 2017

Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943 or Amanda.Nalley@MyFWC.com

As a precautionary measure due to a naturally occurring algae bloom in St. Joseph Bay that affects shellfish, the bay scallop harvest originally scheduled to begin on July 25th in Gulf County waters will be temporarily postponed. This postponement includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. This does not impact other areas currently open for a recreational harvest. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is working closely with partners on this postponement including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), which has also issued a precautionary closure for the harvest of clams, mussels and oysters in St. Joseph Bay. 

FWC staff is coordinating with the Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and FDACS and they will continue to provide support and assistance as necessary.  All agencies take all algal blooms seriously and will continue to respond quickly and effectively to ensure the health and safety of Floridians, visitors and our natural resources.

The scallop season is expected to be closed a minimum of two weeks. The FWC will conduct aggressive outreach efforts about the postponed season. The FWC and FDACS will continue sampling and testing scallops and other shellfish in the bay to determine when they are safe for consumption and will continue to work with the local community to determine options on the remainder of the season. More information will be issued once a season opening date has been determined and that date will be posted on the bay scallop page which can be found at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.” Reopenings of clam, mussel or oyster harvest will be listed on the FDACS website at http://shellfish.floridaaquaculture.com/seas/seas_centralgulf.htm.

In areas outside of Gulf County, the bay scallop season in state waters from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County to the Suwannee River in Dixie County is currently open to harvest and will close to harvest on Sept. 10. All other waters open to harvest (Pasco-Hernando county line to the Suwannee River and from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County) will close to harvest Sept. 25 (see map below).

This algae bloom does not harm scallops directly and shouldn’t cause scallop population declines. While scallops may appear healthy, they should not be consumed until FWC has issued a new statement opening the season. This algae bloom should not impact other recreational activities on St. Joseph bay. 

2017 Regional Bay Scallop Seasons

ABOUT PSEUDO-NITZSCHIA:

Pseudo-nitzschia Adobe PDF is a naturally occurring microscopic alga that in some cases can produce domoic acid, which can negatively impact marine mammals and seabirds and can cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) in humans if contaminated shellfish are consumed. Domoic acid has been confirmed in seawater and scallop samples from St. Joseph Bay. Domoic acid does not impact finfish, but they should be carefully cleaned prior to being eaten. The best way to protect yourself is to heed closure warnings and not consume shellfish in the closed areas.

If you are experiencing symptoms of ASP, contact your primary care provider. You may also want to contact the Florida Poison Control Hotline – 1-800-222-1222. For Department of Health questions, please call 850-245-4250.

  

           

AN/KM/MR/MFM

KR/LF/FWRI

 

Article can be found at http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2017/july/24/scallop-season-postponed/

                                                 

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 By signing up for the Half Hitch newsletter, you'll stay informed about what's going on with outdoor activities around the Panhandle, and receive notification of special buys, seminars and tournament information. Your personal information will never be given, sold or in any other way transferred to any other party or used for any other purpose than providing Half Hitch with a means of communicating with you. We also honor your request to opt out at any time, however you will miss out on important fishing tips, information and specials. 

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