Legendary Race Car Driver Tony Stewart Relaxes By Fishing In Florida Before Daytona 500

It was a perfect Florida February day, with mostly sunny conditions and a high in the low 70s.   Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Tom Champeau, were on a tour of the upper St. Johns River in the vicinity of Three Forks Marsh Conservation Area.  Led by fishing guide Capt. Mike Tipton, they caught 36 bass in just a few hours.  Champeau got a strike and then landed an 11-pound, 8-ounce trophy.  Such is the stuff dreams are made of and the basis for which the FWC launched TrophyCatch (TrophyCatchFlorida.com).

“Catching and releasing a trophy bass while fishing with the founder of our major sponsor was an incredible experience,” said Champeau. “The only way I could have scripted it better would be for either Johnny or Tony to catch her,” he added.

GMFMC to Convene a Science Workshop of the Goliath Grouper Joint Council Steering Committee

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene a Science Workshop of the Goliath Grouper Joint Council Steering Committee Tuesday, March 12, 2013, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council office, 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Florida.

Allision Results in Oil Spill Southwest of Port Sulphur

The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a report of an allision between a vessel and an inactive wellhead about nine miles southwest of Port Sulphur, Wednesday.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report that the 42-foot crewboat Sea Raider allided with a wellhead owned by Swift Energy at around 8 p.m., Tuesday. The platform is discharging an oily-water mixture, but the amount is unknown at this time.

First Hall of Fame entry in TrophyCatch comes from Rodman Reservoir

Bob Williams of Alloway, N.J., was fishing on Rodman Reservoir with guide Sean Rush of Trophy Bass Expeditions around 8:30 a.m. Monday when the 23-degree chill must have seemed to leave the air. Hooking a 13-pound, 14-ounce largemouth on a big shiner, Williams knew he had the catch of a lifetime.

Rush knew exactly how to celebrate and memorialize the catch. He picked up the phone and contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to have the fish certified in Florida’s new TrophyCatch program, the result being that Williams gets more than $1,000 in rewards for documenting and then releasing his catch. 

 

BP Prepared to Defend Itself in Deepwater Horizon Civil Liability Trial

BP is preparing for the federal civil trial beginning next Monday (2-25-13) in the Deepwater Horizon Multi-District Litigation pending in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. This proceeding is the first of at least two phases the Court has set for the trial. The first phase will be focused on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon accident, who should be held responsible, and to what degree. Judge Carl J Barbier will preside over the trial.

The following is an official statement from BP:

 

Gag Management Measures

NMFS proposes regulations to implement management measures described in a regulatory amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). If implemented, this rule would (1) establish a closure date for the 2013 recreational sector for gag harvest based on the projected annual catch target (ACT), and (2) reduce the geographic extent of the recreational shallow-water grouper (SWG) fixed seasonal closure, which are in place to prevent overfishing of gag, and to reduce fishing pressure on other SWG species. The reduction in the geographic extent of the closure still would provide some spawning season protection for several SWG species, but provides a better opportunity for the recreational sector to achieve optimum yield (OY) from the stocks in the SWG complex in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). This proposed rule is intended to help achieve OY for the Gulf gag and other SWG resources and prevent overfishing from the stocks in the SWG complex.

Written comments must be received on or before March 25, 2013.

 

Atlantic Highly Migratory Dusky Shark News

On November 26, 2012, NMFS published a proposed rule (77 FR 70552) for draft Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) based on several shark stock assessments that were completed from 2009 to 2012. The comment period for the proposed rule closed on February 12, 2013.

After reviewing all of the documents received, we are not planning to proceed at this time with the dusky shark measures as proposed. We will address the dusky shark overfishing and rebuilding plan in a proposed separate action.  Comments received on the dusky shark portions of the November 2012 proposed rule will be considered in that action.

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management to Convene a Science Workshop of the Goliath Grouper Joint Council Steering Committee

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene a Science Workshop of the Goliath Grouper Joint Council Steering Committee Tuesday, March 12, 2013, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council office, 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Florida.

FINAL Gulf Council Motions Report February 5 – February 8, 2013

All of the motions made at the last Gulf Council Meeting are below;

DEP AND FWC to Host Public Meetings for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host two public meetings this month as well as a webinar to gather input on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s Path Forward document and Florida’s projects to be submitted to the Council for consideration.  

A webinar will be held at noon EST Feb. 26. Public meetings will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 28 at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City and 6 to 9 p.m. March 13 at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.