BRADENTON – FWC officials met in Tallahassee from April 15 to today to discuss red snapper season modifications in the Gulf of Mexico, reef fish, and sea cucumber management. Beachgoers should watch out for shorebird nests built from sand and shell with chicks that can barely be seen, and to avoid stepping on them. Winds will begin to subside Thursday and throughout the weekend.
Commission to meet April 15-17 near Tallahassee
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet April 15-17 at the Florida Public Safety Institute, 85 Academy Drive, Havana. The Institute is west of the city of Midway on U.S. 90. Full-day business sessions Wednesday and Thursday start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday’s half-day discussions session starts at 1 p.m.
- The public is invited to all three days and will be provided opportunities to speak.
Highlights of the agenda include:
- Tuesday’s strategic discussions about the future of conservation: human-wildlife interaction; connecting youths to the outdoors; and increasing participation in conservation.
Commission action Wednesday on these marine fisheries agenda items:
- Gulf of Mexico red snapper season modifications.
- Sea cucumber management alternatives.
- Proposal for a Gulf reef fish data-reporting system.
- A proposal to prevent harmful, nonnative lionfish from being introduced and to facilitate removal of the predatory fish.
- Gulf and South Atlantic fishery management council updates.
- Thursday’s topics: proposed final rule amendments on the deer management units in Zone D in the western Florida Panhandle, draft amendments to alligator management, and staff reports.
- For the full agenda, go to MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings.” Can’t attend meeting in person? Follow live coverage on Twitter @MyFWC and join in the conversation by using tag #FWC2014. https://twitter.com/MyFWC.
- Also check the Florida Channel (www.thefloridachannel.org/) for possible live webcast times
Look for gopher tortoises out on a spring stroll
- A gopher tortoise strolling across a road or through a backyard or field is a common sight during spring in Florida. Yet as tortoises become increasingly active this time of year, they are vulnerable to being struck by vehicles and injured or killed.
- Don’t forget to look out for these slow-moving reptiles with their bony-plated shells and elephantine legs. They leave their burrows in search of green plants to eat and a tortoise to become their mate. From now through May, females will be laying eggs the size of ping-pong balls in the sandy apron outside their burrows.
Spring means return of Spanish mackerel to north Florida waters
- Across Florida there are signs that spring has sprung, from the fine layer of yellow pollen coating everything in the north to folks returning to the water sans wetsuit in the south. Warmer water also means the return of Spanish mackerel, a feisty fish that migrates south when the water temperature dips below 70 and should be returning to north Florida waters right about now.
- Spanish mackerel are easy to catch, making them a great target for kids and those new to the sport, but their aggressive fighting behavior when on the line also makes them exciting for seasoned veterans.
Beach-nesting shorebirds need peace and quiet to survive
- During spring and summer on Florida beaches, shorebirds build nests out of sand and shells and hatch chicks that can barely be seen. So well-camouflaged are the nests, eggs and chicks of shorebirds like the snowy plover that they can easily be stepped on or missed unless people know to watch out for them.
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding beachgoers to be on the lookout and avoid disturbing bird nurseries on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida. Among the state’s beach-nesting shorebirds facing conservation challenges are the snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, American oystercatcher and Wilson’s plover.
Elevated easterly flow will continue through tonight resulting in choppy conditions...especially offshore. A slow moving storm system will move through the area Friday through Saturday...resulting in unsettled conditions. High pressure will build back into the area Sunday through early next week.
East winds 15 to 20 knots diminishing to 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters choppy. Isolated showers in the morning...then numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Thursday night will bring east winds 15 to 20 knots...diminishing to 10 to 15 knots late. Bay and inland waters choppy. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the evening. Isolated showers after midnight.
Southeast winds 10 to 15 knots becoming south in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning then numerous thunderstorms in the afternoon. Friday night will bring south winds around 10 knots then becoming west after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.
Northwest winds around 20 knots. Bay and inland waters choppy. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms. Saturday Night will bring north winds around 20 knots diminishing to 5 to 10 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters choppy. A slight chance of showers.
North winds 5 to 10 knots increasing to around 15 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Sunday night will bring north winds 10 to 15 knots then becoming northeast 5 to 10 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.