Florida 2011 Boating Statistics Now Available

Sixty-seven people lost their lives in Florida last year in boating accidents, and there have already been 28 deaths so far this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which has released its 2011 Boating Accident Statistical Report.

Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters

Effective Date for the Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing an extension of the July 6, 2012, effective date of the ``Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters; Final Rule'' (inland waters rule) for six months to January 6, 2013. EPA's inland waters rule currently includes an effective date of July 6, 2012, for the entire regulation except for the site-specific alternative criteria provision, which took effect on February 4, 2011. 

Law Enforcement Advisory Panel Meeting

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP) in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Committee (LEC) of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.  The group will meet at the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Lab - 195 Ludwig Lane, Grand Isle, Louisiana 73058. The meeting will convene at 8:30 am July 25, 2012 and conclude no later than 5:00 pm July 26, 2012.   

NMFS Issues Approval to Take Marine Mammals in Explosive Removal of offshore Oil and Gas Structures

In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued a one-year LOA to take marine mammals incidental to the explosive removal of offshore oil and gas structures (EROS) in the Gulf of Mexico.

This authorization is effective from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

Comments Requested on Greater Amberjack Rebuilding Plan

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 35 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 35 proposes to modify the greater amberjack rebuilding plan; establish greater amberjack sector annual catch limits (ACLs) and sector annual catch targets (ACTs); establish a commercial trip limit for greater amberjack; and revise the sector accountability measures (AMs) for greater amberjack. The intent of Amendment 35 is to end overfishing of greater amberjack, modify the greater amberjack rebuilding plan and help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the greater amberjack resource in accordance with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

Written comments must be received on or before September 4, 2012.

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council June 2012 Update

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met in Tampa, Florida, June 18 - 21, 2012, to discuss a number of fishery issues, including Amendments for Gray Triggerfish, the 2013 Recreational Gag Season, and Allocation. During the weeklong meeting, the Council took the following actions:

Withdrawal of Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Deepwater Port Application

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announces TORP Terminal LP's (TORP) withdrawal of the deepwater port license application for the proposed Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal (BOET) located approximately 62.6 miles south of Fort Morgan, Alabama. All actions related to the processing and agency coordination activities required under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended, are hereby terminated, and the official Record of Decision on the BOET application issued October 29, 2010, by David T. Matsuda, Maritime Administrator, is hereby rescinded.

Availability of Seats for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) is seeking applications for the following positions on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council: Citizen at Large--Lower Keys (alternate), Citizen at Large--Middle Keys (member), Citizen at Large--Middle Keys (alternate), Conservation and Environment [2nd of 2] (member), Conservation and Environment [2nd of 2] (alternate), Education and Outreach (member), Education and Outreach (alternate), Fishing--Commercial--Shell/Scale (member), Fishing--Commercial--Shell/Scale (alternate), South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (alternate), Submerged Cultural Resources (member), Submerged Cultural Resources (alternate), Tourism--Upper Keys (member), and Tourism--Upper Keys (alternate). Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the sanctuary. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve 3-year terms, pursuant to the council's Charter.

FWC Approves Ordinance for Anchoring/Mooring Pilot Program in Sarasota

In Palm Beach Gardens, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved, with one contingency, the city of Sarasota’s proposed boating ordinance for the anchoring and mooring pilot program coordinated by the FWC. 

Florida Commissioners Elect New Chairman, Vice Chairman

At its meeting Thursday in Palm Beach Gardens, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) elected Vice Chairman Kenneth Wright to serve as Chairman, effective July 1.