Council to Meet in Mobile, Alabama February 5-8, 2013

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet in Mobile, Alabama, February 5 - 8, 2013. Agenda items for which the Council is tentatively scheduled to take final action include:

New Warning for Boaters in Violation of Certain Regulations

Starting January 1st Smoke, a loud noise, and a flash of light; a warning from Coast Guard personnel stationed in St. Petersburg, will be caused by the LA 51, used as a signal to potential violators on the water.

FWC Makes Correction to Snook Slot Limit


Correction: Atlantic recreational snook slot limit is 28 to 32 inches. Incorrect information ran in the previous release.

December brings closure of snook season in Atlantic state, federal waters

The recreational harvest of snook will close in all Atlantic waters, including the inland waters of Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, beginning Dec. 15, with the last day of harvest being Dec. 14. The season will reopen in the Atlantic’s state and federal waters Feb. 1, 2013. 


Gulf Oil Spill: Oil-Dispersing Chemicals Had Little Effect On Oil Surfacing, According to New Study

The 2010 blowout of the Macondo well in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the region's largest oil spill in U.S. history. As the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) incident unfolded, in an effort to prevent the oil from coming to the surface and reaching coastal and marsh ecosystems, chemical dispersants were injected at the wellhead. These powerful dispersants, typically used to break up oil slicks at the sea surface had never been used in such large quantities and over such a prolonged period of time in the deep ocean.

Oil Spill Still Impacting Fish Growth

Scientists from the University of Miami recently completed a study of the potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. Their findings suggest that local fish populations, including cobia and mahi-mahi, could be experiencing stunted growth.

Researchers at the university worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of North Texas to study the effects of toxic elements from the oil spill on developing fish.

FWC Approves Revisions to Boating Safety Zones on Okeechobee Waterway

On Thursday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved staff’s recommendations for revisions to two boating safety zones on the Okeechobee Waterway in Hendry and Martin counties.

2013 Gulf Gag Grouper Recreational Season Draft Rule Discussed at FWC Meeting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) unanimously decided on a draft 2013 Gulf of Mexico gag grouper recreational season Wednesday, Dec. 5, at its Commission meeting in Apalachicola. After discussing several options and hearing public testimony from 26 people, Commissioners chose draft options that, if approved in February, will make most Gulf state waters consistent with the current federal season, with the exception of a four-county region.

FWC Commission Considering Creating Saltwater Game Fish and Sport Fish Designations

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discussed the possibility of creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations at its Dec. 5 Commission meeting in Apalachicola. After public comment from 18 people and the Commissioners’ discussion, the FWC decided to approve the proposed draft rule about the designation. The Commission will possibly make a final decision on this measure at its February meeting in Orlando.

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to Meet in Mobile AL

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (the Council) announced that it will hold its first public meeting on December 11, 2012 in Mobile, Alabama. The Council, which was established by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourism, Opportunities Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), will develop and oversee implementation of a comprehensive plan to help restore the ecosystem and economy of the Gulf Coast region in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Another ROV Investigation of the Deepwater Horizon Wreckage Approved

BP and Transocean have received approval from the Coast Guard to proceed with another ROV investigation of the Deepwater Horizon wreckage and wellhead site after a sheen was reported by BP on November 2 and verified by satellite imagery.  A joint plan to determine the source of a surface sheen was submitted by the companies on November 9 for review by the Coast Guard.