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  • Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:41 AM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    excited to forward this announcement regarding building more artificial reefs! 

    Greetings Brevard Reef Advisory Board Members,

    First off I have some great news, we received funding from FWC for next year’s deployment (letter attached). Our grant application got us the points needed and we are set with the funding for another deployment in 2018. I spoke with the FWC program administrator and he said that we made the cut because of extra points for items like advisory boards, such as ours, and because of all of the public support. Please  pass word along to everyone in the FSFA, CFOA and CCA thanking them for their letters and emails of support. It is community involvement and support like we received this year that keeps these projects funded and continuing forward.

    Also, McCully Marine has been awarded the contract for this year’s project and we expect to be deploying reef modules in about 4 weeks. I will keep you all informed on the final timing.

    Thank you all again your time and assistance on these projects.

    Sincerely,

    Matt

     

    Matt C. Culver

    Boating & Waterways Program Coordinator

     

    Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department

    2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way

    Building A, Room 219

    Viera, FL 32940


  • Wednesday, June 28, 2017 7:01 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    J

    FWC law enforcement to participate in Operation Dry Water, national effort against boating under the influence

     

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds boaters, as the holiday weekend approaches, that boating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is dangerous and illegal. During Operation Dry Water June 30-July 2, and extending through the July Fourth holiday, boaters can expect to see more officers on the water.

     

    During this annual three-day awareness and enforcement campaign, officers will be educating the public, identifying and deterring operators from boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

     

    Law enforcement agencies nationwide will be out June 30-July 2, looking for boaters who choose to boat under the influence, and removing them from the water.

     

    “Although the national Operation Dry Water event goes through July 2, FWC law enforcement officers will be extending our efforts through the Independence Day holiday to help everyone have a fun and safe holiday weekend on the water,” said Maj. Robert Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader.

     

    Increased awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence, along with officers focused on identifying impaired operators, aim to drastically reduce the number of accidents and deaths due to impaired boating.

     

    “A big part of enjoying Florida’s beautiful waterways is doing so safely and responsibly. It is our job as law enforcement officers to identify and remove impaired boaters from the water so that everyone else can continue to have an enjoyable boating season,” said Rowe. “By participating in Operation Dry Water, the FWC joins thousands of law enforcement officers nationwide to decrease the number of accidents, injuries and deaths that come as a result of boaters who choose to drink and boat.”

     

    In Florida it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher. Alcohol use is one of the leading contributing factors in recreational boater deaths. In 2016, July had more reportable accidents (96) and more fatal accidents (eight) than any other month. Last year in Florida, 24 percent of fatal accident victims (16) were related to alcohol or drug use. During the national Operation Dry Water weekend of heightened awareness and high-visibility enforcement, boaters can expect to see an enhanced law enforcement presence and increased messaging about this dangerous and preventable crime.
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  • Monday, June 19, 2017 8:58 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    Efforts underway to allow limited red snapper harvest in 2018; cobia stock assessment scheduled

    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL -  JUNE 18, 2017 (Corrected)

         Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council gathered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida this week, where red snapper and cobia fisheries continued to dominate discussions. The harvest of red snapper is currently prohibited in federal waters ranging from three to 200 miles off the South Atlantic coast as the stock continues to rebuild. The recreational fishery for Atlantic cobia (Georgia to New York) closed in federal waters earlier this year as a result of harvest estimates from NOAA Fisheries showing the annual catch limit was exceeded in 2016.      

         The Council received a presentation by NOAA Fisheries during this week’s meeting showing that the estimated number of red snapper removed (landings plus dead discards) exceeded the acceptable biological catch in 2016, a situation that has kept the fishery closed for the past two years under the current management plan. The removals are primarily associated with the recreational fishery where red snapper are captured and released while fishermen target other co-occurring species. Approximately 28% of the fish released by recreational anglers are estimated to die primarily due to barotrauma, the physical damage to body tissues caused by differences in pressure as the fish is being retrieved.      

         Meanwhile, Council members, with representatives from both commercial and recreational fisheries, focused on how to allow limited harvest of red snapper beginning in 2018. “Council members and members of the public have repeatedly expressed their frustration at the increasing numbers of red snapper that are being released as this stock recovers,” said Council Chair Dr. Michelle Duval. “While we explore measures to allow limited harvest we must also be cautionary in our approach to not allow overfishing to occur should the fishery reopen next year.”      

         After lengthy discussion, the Council approved modifying draft Amendment 43 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan to include a single action to revise annual catch limits for red snapper. The draft amendment would remove the current process and equation used to specify the annual catch limit and includes alternatives for establishing an annual catch limit for 2018 ranging from approximately 23,600 to 76,000 fish. The intent is to expedite the amendment by holding public hearings via webinar in August, in-person hearings at the Council’s September meeting, and approving the amendment for Secretarial review at that time. The new measures could be in place in time to allow limited harvest beginning in July of 2018.      

         Earlier in the week, the Council hosted a workshop on “Improving the Survival of Released Fish”. Eight speakers presented on best practices for reducing discard mortality, including the use of various descending devices, minimizing handling, and other practices. “These best fishing practices show the cumulative positive affects recreational anglers can have in reducing mortality of fish that are released,” stated Council member Chester Brewer, a recreational representative from West Palm Beach, Florida. “It is imperative that anglers learn about these tools and put them to good use.” Workshop information and the presentations are available from the Council’s website at: http://safmc.net/briefing-books/2017-june-council-meeting-briefing-book/.  

  • Friday, June 09, 2017 3:42 PM | Anonymous

    49th Annual FSFA Offshore tournament completed in beautiful weather with 91 entries. Thanks to all of the volunteers who made this happen and stay tuned for Number 50 next year. Special events and prizes are being planned.

    Following a well-attended and fun Captain’s Expo on Friday night, June 2, the tournament itself kicked off on Saturday, June 3, with 91 boats headed East to try their luck. The weather forecast called for calm seas and late afternoon thunderstorms—they were right on with the seas but the thunderstorm all stayed inland. 

    The other consideration was a scheduled rocket launch for 5:07 PM which closed much of the area North of the Port starting at 3:00 PM. The launch went off as planned but the captains had all been briefed at the Expo as to their need to plan their fishing day around it.

    In a first for the FSFA and I think any central Florida tournament, we were streaming live video on the internet! Thanks to Capt. Alex Gorichky III, the weigh in was posted live on Facebook. You can find the live feed on the FSFA Facebook page. The crowd, the fish & the fun was shared.


  • Friday, June 09, 2017 3:38 PM | Anonymous

    As the weigh-In was taking place, one Team came up to the stage to ask if they could weigh a big fish, even if they were not in the tournament. As the process for entrants was slow, at the moment, the answer was “sure, bring it up”. They returned with an ENORMOUS

    wahoo—72 pounds.

    Turns out, they had been at the Captain’s Expo the night before but decided

    not to enter for whatever reason. At the end of the day, that was a $5,000 decision. Their wahoo would have been the big fish of the tournament.



  • Friday, June 02, 2017 6:57 AM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    Offshore Tournament Update:  

           Launch planned for 5:07pm Saturday.  While all boats should be in, the RESTRICTED LAUNCH AREA begins about 3pm

       The USAF will be at Captains Expo tonight - we will print & distribute chart with coordinates of restricted area.  It's mostly north ..but includes for example Hetzel area.

        PLEASE be aware and nobody be near restricted area by 3pm.

        On Line Tournament registration ends at 1pm today.  You can still sign up tonight

         Weather forecast: maybe some afternoon rain.  Light winds from SW. Looks great ..let's go fish!

        Lines in 0600 Saturday. No check out.  No mileage limit.  Must check in with Committee boat by 5pm 

         See you tonight at the Captains Expo!

    #launcharearestricted.  #fsfa. #offshoreslam. 

        www.offsforeslam.com

  • Friday, March 24, 2017 12:28 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    South Atlantic Black Sea Bass Recreational Season  

    KEY MESSAGE: 

    The 2017-2018 recreational fishing season for black sea bass in federal waters of the South Atlantic will start on April 1, 2017, and end on March 31, 2018. Estimates indicate recreational landings for the 2017-2018 fishing year will be below the 2017-2018 recreational annual catch limit. Therefore, black sea bass will be open for the entire April 1, 2017- March 31, 2018, recreational fishing year. 

  • Saturday, March 11, 2017 4:39 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    From Florida Today..by Bill Sargent


    Zella Helton of Mims had a banner day of fly fishing outside Port Canaveral when she landed back-to-back potential tippet class world record black drum.

    The first drum weighed 42 pounds, 5 ounces and two hours later Helton boated the second fish weighing 51 pounds, 8 ounces. Both catches are pending records with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

    Helton and her boyfriend Troy Perez, also of Mims, found a large school of black drum concentrated close to the beach in only 10 feet of water. Perez, noted as one of Florida’s top inshore fishing guides, knew immediately any number of the fish was potential records on fly tackle.

    Using a 12-weight flyrod with a 20-pound tippet and a Dan Johnson shrimp pattern, Helton hooked the 42-pounder and fought it for 45 minutes before getting it to the boat.


    The tippet in a monofilament fly line leader is a tied section with the weakest point. IGFA, the international records keeper at Dania Beach, offers records in seven tippet line strengths in men and women divisions.

    Under IGFA rules, a record catch must be weighed on shore, so Perez placed the drum in a large onboard aerated live well and headed back to Port Canaveral where the fish was weighed on certified scales, witnessed and released at the docks.

    Florida regulations allow the possession of only one black drum over 24 inches in length so after releasing the first catch Perez called the IGFA to get permission to catch another potential record.

    “We headed back to the same spot along the beach and the school was still there,” Helton said. “This time I hooked an even bigger one.”

    She used the same fly rod and shrimp pattern but the second drum gave Helton a much tougher fight.

    “It was like fighting an anchor. It kept going to the bottom,” said Helton, who received the Women’s Division Championship for 2016 in the Florida Sport Fishing Association at the Cape Canaveral fishing club’s awards dinner in January. “She wanted to stay with the school.”

    Again Helton subdued the fish and it was placed in the live well for the ride back to the Canaveral docks where it weighed in at 51 pounds, 8 ounces. It too was released in good condition.

    With both catches submitted as records, Helton stands to set one IGFA record with her first catch before it is “retired” and replaced with the 51-pound 8-ounce fish. She also owns the IGFA 16-pound tippet record with a 47-pound, 8-ounce black drum she took on fly gear outside Canaveral in March 2016.

    The current women’s 20-pound tippet record of 37 pounds, 8 ounces was set in Louisiana in February, 2014.



  • Thursday, March 09, 2017 2:33 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    From CCA - good news!

    A controversial exempted fishing permit (EFP) to initiate a commercial privatization program for at least six species of fish in the South Atlantic was shelved this week after widespread public outcry. The announcement that the South Atlantic Commercial Fishing Collaborative, made up of two sitting Council members and one former member, were withdrawing the EFP was made at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

     

    "Public sentiment against this EFP was overwhelming, which shows that the angling public is very much aware of these privatization schemes and they've had enough of them," said Bill Bird, chairman of the Coastal Conservation Association's National Government Relations Committee. "There should be no place for privatization of our public marine resources in the federal fisheries management system, but our fear is that this EFP will be retooled and reintroduced in the future when the noise dies down. Anglers in the South Atlantic will have to remain vigilant."

     

    The EFP and the composition of the South Atlantic Fishing Collaborative were unveiled in an editorial by Jeff Angers with the Center for Sportfishing Policy on SportFishingMag.com last week. It was highlighted as an example of the manipulation that is becoming rampant in federal fisheries management as commercial harvesters vie to acquire valuable shares of public marine resources for free. The exempted fishing permit process itself is also coming under scrutiny as it is operates wholly outside the public management process. Although Councils are usually given the opportunity to vote on the permits, sole authority to approve or disapprove them rests with bureaucrats at NOAA Fisheries.

     

    "The fishery management process is simply not designed to handle the level of greed and manipulation that accompanies this type of resource giveaway, where millions of dollars are on the line," said Bird. "This particular permit, where appointed Council members were seeking an inside track to ownership of these fish, a prime example of how EFPs are being misused to circumvent public process and procedure. The entire federal fishery management system needs to be reformed."

     

    "Thanks to everyone who contributed to this outcome. The Council had so many copies of CCA's letter against the permit sent to them that the presenter stated it aloud at the start of the comment session. Right after that, they announced the withdrawal of the request for the EFP," said Tim Tarver, CCA Georgia board member. "The American people scored a victory."

  • Wednesday, March 01, 2017 6:56 AM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    excellent presentation (first link) and more information about Kilroy monitors in the Lagoon.  http://teamorca.org/orca/index.cfm

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