Sunday is the deadline for recreational and commercial blue crab traps to be removed from state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line south.
Monday (July 10) is the first day of a 10-day trap closure period, which gives groups authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the opportunity to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab traps from the water.
Traps may be placed back in the water in state waters starting July 20. Until then, blue crabs may be harvested with other gear, such as dip nets and fold-up traps. Blue crab harvesters may also use standard blue crab traps during the closure if the traps are attached to a dock or other private property.
State waters extend to 9 nautical miles offshore in the Gulf; the blue crab trap closures include only state waters extending to 3 nautical miles offshore.
Orange County meetings: For two days in Orlando, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will field public input during a series of commission meetings at the Orange County Convention Center.
The meetings July 10 and 11 will include discussions about tripletail, sheepshead, cobia, gulf gag grouper and gray triggerfish. Both day’s meetings are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and both meetings are open to the public. There will be time for public comment regarding items not on the agenda at the end of Day 1.
This meeting will be the final one for the summer. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) next scheduled commission meeting will take place Sept. 27 and 28 in Okeechobee.
Red tide: Testing this week along Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coastline revealed no signs of the red tide organism, Karenia brevis, during the first week of July. The University of South Florida-FWC effort that predicts red tides and their movements projected no change for the coming week.
Grouper workshop: The FWC has added an extra goliath grouper workshop to the 14 sessions previously announced. The new session is scheduled for July 31 in Lake Worth at the Lantana Road Branch Library on Lantana Road. The sessions have been scheduled to gather public input on the FWC’s management of goliath grouper.
Local anglers hoping to submit input will have to travel to have their voices heard. The nearest workshops to Manatee County will be in Pinellas Park on Oct. 16 and in Port Charlotte on Oct. 17. All workshops are scheduled run from 5-8 p.m.
Regulations: The FWC has made available its updated saltwater and freshwater fishing recreational regulations for the period of July-December 2017. The regulations can be found on the FWC website.