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St. Joe Bay and St. Andrew Bay Scallop Restoration

The Molluscan Fisheries as part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, FL are working in near by St. Joe Bay and St. Andrew Bay to monitor and restore the population of Bay Scallops. The FWC is asking for help from the local community for a scallop restoration project.  The plan is to provide scallops and predator exclusion cages to community members prior to the 2018 scalloping season. Community members would be asked to hang their cages with scallops from privately owned docks or, if they have a boat or kayak, they can place these cages in the bay. Volunteers would be asked to clean the cages at least once each month as well as monitor the health of the scallops. Volunteers will be responsible for their scallops for a 7-8 month period from April 2018- January 2019, until they are ready to be released. The goal of this project is to increase the spawning adult population in St. Joe Bay and St. Andrew Bay.

2016 began a 10-year project to restore bay scallops to self-sustaining levels in Florida’s Panhandle.  The objective of the scallop restoration project is to enhance the public’s use and enjoyment of Florida’s natural resources by enhancing depleted scallop populations and reintroduction to suitable areas from which scallops have disappeared. The restoration work includes enhancing local scallop populations in targeted areas through a combination of the harvest and redistribution of naturally-occurring juvenile and adult scallops supplemented with stocking from a commercial scallop hatchery. In addition to traditional approaches to restoration, the vision for restoring scallops also includes educating the public on ongoing restoration projects and asking them to be contributing partners in these efforts. 

Since the project began in 2016, The FWC has worked with community members in St. Joseph Bay to collect scallops prior to the opening of the scallop season and place them in cages in an exclusion zone protected from harvest.  They are currently working on developing partnerships with interested NGOs, county officials, schools, and the private sector to help restore scallops in St. Joseph Bay and St. Andrew Bay.  The willmprovide scallops and predator exclusion cages to community members in these areas prior to the 2018 scalloping season.  Community members will hang their cages with scallops from privately owned docks or, if they have a boat, they can place these cages in the bay. Volunteers must be willing to clean the cages at least once each month as well as monitor the scallops.  By partnering with the community next year we can increase our chances of successful restoring scallops to St. Joseph Bay and St. Andrew Bay.

To help volunteer with the FWC on this scallop restoration effort, please email bayscallops@myfwc.com.

 

For more information visit these links to learn more.

About the restoration project. http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/mollusc/bay-scallops/research/

About Molluscs and Bay Scallops. http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/mollusc/

Panama City News Herald reported on 10/20/2017. http://www.newsherald.com/news/20171020/scallops-show-signs-of-recovery-restoration-effort-to-begin

 

 St. Joe Bay Scallops

St. Joe Bay Scallops

 

 St. Joe Bay Scallops

 

FWC Announces 2017 Gulf County bay scallop season

Gulf County bay scallop season to open Sept. 23

The Gulf County bay scallop season will open to harvest Sept. 23. The 2017 season was postponed earlier this year due to a naturally occurring algae bloom (Pseudo-nitzschia) in St. Joseph Bay that affects shellfish. Recent samples have indicated that the scallops in St. Joseph Bay are safe for human consumption and meet FDA requirements for opening harvest in the bay. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will continue testing of the bay.

The 2017 season will be open for 16 days, with the last day of harvest being Oct. 8 and closing Oct. 9. This season opening includes all state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. All other regulations apply, including a daily bag limit of 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.

The scallop population in Gulf County is also still recovering from a 2015 red tide. Restoration efforts are underway in the southeast area of the bay south of Black’s Island. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area marked with FWC buoys is prohibited. The recent Pseudo-nitzschia algal bloom is not expected to impact the scallop population.

The bay scallop season for Gulf County was originally scheduled to open July 25 and close Sept. 10.

For updates and more information on bay scallops, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.” In areas outside of Gulf County, waters from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the Suwannee River and from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County will close to harvest Sept. 25. The bay scallop season in state waters from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County to the Suwannee River in Dixie County closed Sept. 10. Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at svy.mk/bayscallops. Harvesters can indicate where they harvest scallops, how many they collect and how long it takes to harvest them. Participants can email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information. Learn more about long-term trends in the open and closed scalloping areas by visiting MyFWC.com/Research and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Molluscs,” “Bay Scallops” and “Season.”

This article was copied from https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1b05e43.

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FWC Announces 2017 Gulf Triggerfish Season

Gulf gray triggerfish fall season dates announced

Gray triggerfish will open in Gulf of Mexico state waters Sept. 1 through 4Sept. 9 and 10Oct. 7 and 8, and Oct. 14 and 15 for recreational harvest. During this season opening, the Gulf state waters minimum size limit is 14 inches fork length and the daily bag limit is two per person, per day.

“The FWC has heard from many anglers who are seeing more and bigger gray triggerfish, and we have listened to their requests for additional and sustainable fishing opportunities,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Brian Yablonski.  “We are pleased to announce new triggerfish fishing days in state waters, especially the Sept. 1 through 4 season dates, which are also when the popular red snapper season is open in state and federal Gulf waters.”

At its July meeting in Orlando, the Commission directed staff to implement a limited fall season for 2017 via an executive order.

Earlier this year, the Gulf recreational gray triggerfish season was closed in both state and federal waters for all of 2017 due to the 2016 federal quota being exceeded. The Commission decided to open Gulf state waters for a limited harvest opportunity this fall after considering public testimony on gray triggerfish.

The Commission also approved several other management changes at the July meeting that should go into effect sometime in 2018. These changes will not be in effect during the 2017 season opening. These changes are consistent with pending changes in federal waters and include:

  • Decreasing the recreational daily bag limit from two to one fish per person.
  • Increasing the recreational size limit from 14 to 15 inches fork length.
  • Creating a January through February annual recreational closure in addition to the current June through July annual spawning closure.

These federal consistency measures should help maintain fishing opportunities for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters for 2018 and beyond.

More information about Gulf gray triggerfish regulations may be found at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.”

This article was copied from https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1b05e43

FWC Goliath Grouper Workshops

Goliath Grouper Workshops

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your input on goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters.

The FWC is hosting several goliath grouper public workshops throughout the state in August and October. Share your input and learn more about the current status of goliath grouper by attending one of these workshops.

Workshops will be from 5 to 8 p.m. local time:

  • July 31: Lake Worth, Lantana Road Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road
  • Aug. 1: Key West, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
  • Aug. 2: Marathon, Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys, 1996 Overseas Highway.
  • Aug. 3: Key Largo, Murray Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Highway.
  • Aug. 8: Crystal River, Plantation on Crystal River, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail.
  • Aug. 9: Carrabelle, Franklin County Senior Citizens Center, 201 NW Ave. F.
  • Aug 16: Pensacola, Sanders Beach – Corinne Jones Resource Center, 913 South I St.
  • Aug. 17: Panama City, Bland Conference Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive.
  • Oct. 9: Jacksonville, Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Blvd.
  • Oct. 10: Titusville, American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive.
  • Oct. 11: Stuart, Flagler Place, 201 SW Flagler Ave.
  • Oct. 12: Davie, Old Davie School Historical Museum, 6650 Griffin Road.
  • Oct. 16: Pinellas Park, Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, 9501 U.S. Highway 19 N.
  • Oct. 17: Port Charlotte, The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron St.
  • Oct. 18: Naples, Collier County Public Library - South Regional, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway

If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online by visiting MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments. Staff is working on a virtual workshop that should be available online in the near future.

Workshop presentation Adobe PDF

Copied from http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/rulemaking/workshops/

                                                 

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 By signing up for the Half Hitch newsletter, you'll stay informed about what's going on with outdoor activities around the Panhandle, and receive notification of special buys, seminars and tournament information. Your personal information will never be given, sold or in any other way transferred to any other party or used for any other purpose than providing Half Hitch with a means of communicating with you. We also honor your request to opt out at any time, however you will miss out on important fishing tips, information and specials. 

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