Do you have ideas about how Florida’s marine fisheries should be managed? The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to hear from you.
Temporary changes making it easier for divers to help control the lionfish population will be put into Florida rule soon.
At its June 12 meeting in Lakeland, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) adopted changes that will waive the recreational license requirement for divers harvesting lionfish using certain gear and exclude lionfish from the commercial and recreational bag limits, allowing people to take as many of the invasive fish as they can.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has repealed two rules prohibiting spearing and using an artificial light while spearfishing or gigging in state waters off Collier County.
The Collier Board of County Commissioners sent a letter to the FWC in February requesting the change, which was prompted by the Jan. 13 hook-and-line capture of the first lionfish to be documented in state waters off the county. Lionfish are a non-native invasive species that negatively impact Florida’s native fish and wildlife. Currently, the most effective method for lionfish control and removal is spearing and removal with hand-held nets. Lionfish are rarely caught by hook-and-line.
A few weeks ago a friend stepped on my dive mask and broke one of the prescription lenses. He offered to have it replaced, adding, “Bet that’s going to cost me a bundle, huh?”
He was amazed when I answered, “About $40,” because, like me, he started diving in an era when prescription masks were the exclusive province of optometrists, who often charged $200 or more to have a faceplate ground.
Because they cost so much I often went an embarrassing number of years between getting a new mask prescription, but not any more. Now I merely take my prescription down to the local dive shop and select lenses that are close matches to the lenses in my eyeglasses.
Florida has decided to allow people to spear or net lionfish without a saltwater fishing license, the latest move in the effort to control a foot-long invasive species that can suck smaller fish off a reef slicker than a vacuum cleaner on a TV ad.
While they’re nasty predators on native species, lionfish are very tasty on the plate, with firm white flesh that some people say is as good as grouper (although I don’t think that any fish matches those wonderful sea bass).
From our first scuba lesson it’s stressed that we should never dive alone. Yet many of us have dived alone, when we needed to do something and didn’t have another diver around or simply decided to accept the risk.
There is a system that greatly lessens the risks of diving alone and is extremely handy for working on a boat below the waterline – a hookah rig.
Attention Divers! Boaters! Non-Divers! Nice People! Friends of the Anclote! Anclote Key needs you!
On Saturday, September 22nd from 1-5 pm, Gulfantatics Dive Club
http://www.narcosisscuba.com/about-us/gulfanatics (Narcosis Scuba/Tarpon Springs) is organizing it's latest Coastal Cleanup and Picnic.
Both land and water will be "cleaned" - including the island lake the island beach and the dive site on Anclote Key.
This is a great opportunity to "give back," get wet, and have fun.
The plan is to embark on the cleanup first, then enjoy lunch while we measure and log the debris.
After determining that two years of season extensions did not significantly impact the bay scallop population, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) decided June 28 to permanently extend the recreational season by adding two weeks to the end.
The decision was made at the Commission meeting in Palm Beach Gardens. Commissioners also directed staff to look into the possibility of a future commercial harvest of bay scallops. The commercial harvest of bay scallops has been closed in Florida state waters since 1994.
It’s time, bay scallop harvesters! Get your snorkels, masks and dive flags ready. The recreational bay scallop harvest season starts July 1.
The season is regularly open through Sept. 10, but at its June 28 meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will discuss extending the season by two weeks.
Bay scallops can be recreationally harvested in Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to nine nautical miles) from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.
Finally dispatching a particularly wily 50lb Black Grouper may be her most memorable day of spearfishing, but searching the Middle Grounds for Cobia isn’t a bad way to spend a day either. Cobia, also known as black kingfish, can reach 78 inches and weigh up to 150lbs. They are prized for their texture and flavor. Iron Chef – Cobia! Who knew?
Long time Dive Instructor and Boat Captain, Captain Joyce French-Hannaseck was not always an avid underwater hunter. She purchased her first speargun to “get out of” stringer duty. All that changed after shooting her first grouper - she was hooked for life.
Despite rumors to the contrary, divers do not need to be “crack shots” or “world class fisherman” to enjoy – and become good at - spearfishing. As with most things, the keys are solid technique and practice; of course good buoyancy helps, too.