Fishing Camp Program Looking for More Good Partners

You might want to become involved with this project which will introduce kids to fishing and can help your business grow by meeting the parents too 

One of a child’s most lasting memories is often of the first fish he or she caught. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) “Fishing Camp” program is one of many that help children make that first catch.

However, the program goes far beyond that by helping young people learn a healthy lifetime sport and teaching them the importance of conservation stewardship. Children love the fishing camps so much that they want to come back. For these reasons and others, the FWC is looking for more camp partners.

New Information Collection Method Proposed

This request is for a new information collection.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has adopted a five-year strategic communications plan that requires the Communications staff to not only implement specific outreach and education strategies and tactics to Gulf of Mexico commercial fishermen, recreational anglers, non-governmental organizations, and others interested in fisheries issues, but to also provide a means to evaluate the effectiveness and measure the success of specific tactics.

Get Your Voice Heard: Game Fish, Sport Fish Webinars Planned for Early December

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting two webinars in December to gather public testimony and input on the potential creation of saltwater game fish and sport fish designations. The designation issue will also be a topic of discussion at the Commission’s Dec. 5 meeting in Apalachicola.

The online meetings are from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 12.

FWC to Meet Dec. 5-6 in Apalachicola

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet Dec. 5 and 6 in Apalachicola to discuss Florida’s saltwater fishery, including possible game fish and sport fish designations and oyster populations in Apalachicola Bay; boating issues; hunting matters, including two new wildlife management areas; alligator harvesting; imperiled species updates and plans; and more.

Divers Confirm Identity of Key Largo Shipwreck

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has identified the remains of an early 20th century shipwreck in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to be those of the British steamship Hannah M. Bell. Information gathered by sanctuary staff and volunteers from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) during a September 2012 field survey enabled maritime archaeologists to confirm the wreck's origins.

BP to Admit Crimes and Pay $4.5 Billion in Gulf Settlement

BP, the British oil company, said Thursday it would pay $4.5 billion in fines and other payments to the United States government and plead guilty to 14 criminal charges in connection with the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.

The payments include a $4 billion fine to be paid over five years, with much of it to go to government environmental agencies, BP said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, BP pleaded guilty to 11 felony misconduct or neglect charges related to the deaths of 11 people in the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, which unleashed millions of barrels of oil into the gulf.

Florida Manatee Move to Warmer Waters

Now that the weather outside is chilly, Florida manatees are migrating to warmer waters. They swim in search of a warm winter refuge such as freshwater springs or canals adjacent to power plant outflows.

An adult manatee may weigh 1,000 pounds or more but is susceptible to cold. Water temperatures dipping to 68 degrees or below can produce cold stress in these aquatic mammals, and even cause death.

With many of the seasonal manatee protection zones going into effect on Nov. 15, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions boaters to be vigilant about slowing down and watching out for manatees. In Broward County, some slow speed zones formerly active only on weekends are now in effect every day during the cold season. November is designated as Manatee Awareness Month because of this seasonal migration.

FWC Investigation Uncovers Illegal Commercial Wildlife Ring

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers completed a comprehensive investigation Wednesday that included more than 200 criminal violations by 21 individuals in Orange, Lake, Osceola, Polk and St. Lucie counties. The 22-month operation targeted individuals who illegally bought fish and wildlife products in Florida and shipped them out of state to be sold to the public.

Two New Projects Proposed to Restore the Gulf

The trustees for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case have proposed two new early restoration projects. These projects, totaling about $9 million, will help restore habitat for nesting birds and turtles. The goal is to have the habitat restored in time for the spring 2013 nesting season. This is the second round of projects proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion BP committed to early restoration last April.

The trustees have released a Phase II Draft Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Review describing the projects, and are soliciting public comments on the document. You can submit comments online, or at the public meeting being held in Pensacola, FL on November 13.

The plan describes two proposed projects:

Florida, We Have a Lionfish Problem

Let’s talk straight. Lionfish are a challenge. Native to the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, these beautiful yet venomous creatures are spreading through our waters like a bad cold. Within their native range, lionfish fit nicely into the natural food web and their populations remain in check. But not in Florida. Our native predatory fish are simply not ordering the new and bizarre-looking menu item, leaving little to control the lionfish population.

Initial sightings of lionfish in Florida waters began in the mid-1980s. The rarity of sightings initially made it difficult for biologists to assess the significance of the problem. As we were gathering data, the species spread slowly, but methodically, infiltrating the Caribbean and waters off the Atlantic Coast and Bermuda. By the 2000s, the story became much clearer, as many countries within the invaded range witnessed dramatic lionfish population increases and were forced to initiate control programs.