Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

William Folsom / NOAA

This Sunday, people can fish in Florida without a license. License-free days are the state’s way of inviting people to try fishing, an industry that brings in about $5 billion dollars annually.

At Crum’s Mini Mall in the Florida Panhandle, bait and tackle shop owner Ronald Crum is adding staff ahead of Labor Day Weekend.

“And the fish are biting," he says.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida wildlife officials are asking for residents’ help in reporting sightings of rare snakes. They’re working to determine whether the snakes should be bumped up to the federal endangered status.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists want the public to report sightings of three snakes: the Florida pine snake, southern hognose snake, and short-tailed snake. FWC Spokesman Kevin Baxter says with residents help, researchers can then determine whether these snakes qualify as a federally threatened species.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The number of bear sightings is on the rise in the Florida Panhandle.  State wildlife officials are holding a workshop to teach residents how to safely cohabitate with the bears.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Thousands of Florida residents and visitors are expected for this year’s recreational Spiny Lobster Season. The two-day sport season opens Wednesday and Thursday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says as many as 30,000 people are expected to flock to the South Florida region—the main area for recreational Spiny Lobster Season.

State Asks Public To Report Wild Mink Sightings

Jul 17, 2013

State of Florida biologists are calling for the public to help them study potentially endangered wild mink, the small animals perhaps best known for becoming luxurious coats. Mink are thought to live in several parts of the state.

Mink are small, chocolate brown animals similar in shape to ferrets. They’re rare in Florida, and state biologist Jeff Gore is on a team trying to determine if their numbers are growing or shrinking. And he’s asking for the public’s help.

Bay Scallop Season will start a little earlier this year. Normally, the season to allow for the harvesting of bay scallops opens on July 1st. But, this year, Governor Rick Scott asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to start the season Saturday, two days ahead of schedule, says FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker.

Wild Times At The Capitol

Mar 12, 2013
R. Benk / WFSU-FM

The Florida Capitol was more of a jungle than usual Tuesday, when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up shop with all manner of critters. The Commission wants citizens and legislators alike to know the importance of conserving the natural environment of our state.

State Recovers Stolen Artifacts

Feb 27, 2013
R.Benk / WFSU-FM

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has recovered almost $4- million in ancient artifacts as the result of a covert investigation. The two year probe seems as though it was ripped from the pages of an Indiana Jones script.

The Bass Was 'THIS Big!' And FWC Wants To Know About It

Feb 25, 2013

Saving the freshwater bass of Florida could be as easy as going fishing. A new Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission program called Trophy Catch is turning that prized catch into a data collection service for the Commission.

2013 Python Challenge Ends With More Education Than Snakes Caught

Feb 15, 2013

The Everglades Python Challenge is slithering to a close this weekend. And while all the attention over the past month focused on the hunt, the challenge was also a learning experience.

The official tally of Burmese pythons harvested won’t be announced until the big closing event Saturday. But counting python skins wasn’t the only purpose of the contest.

To Fight Invasive Species, Florida Makes It A Competition

Dec 7, 2012

In South Florida, bagging some snakes could win you some money. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be cracking down on invasive pythons in South Florida in the New Year. The agency and its partners will be holding the 2013 Python Challenge to catch as many snakes as possible.

Weekend Oyster Harvesting Put On Hold In Apalachicola Bay

Nov 9, 2012

Starting next week, it will be off-limits to commercially harvest oysters on the weekend in Apalachicola Bay. State officials made the decision after finding the oyster population cannot sustain the minimum harvest. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hoping the closure will give the oysters time to recover their lost numbers.

In today’s economy, it can be tough for anyone, especially returning military veterans, to find a job.  Tom Flanigan reports the State of Florida is now trying to make it easier for vets to create their own jobs in the commercial fishing industry.
 

Every Veterans Day, there are parades, parties, celebrations, proclamations and much rhetoric about service and sacrifice.  Steve Murray with the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs says all this is nice, but it doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table.

Crowded Florida Panthers May Find New Home In Central Florida

Oct 19, 2012
Florida Department of State

Just a few years ago panthers in South Florida were hard to find. But now, after state intervention, they’re numbers are up and the big cats are getting cramped. Increased inbreeding, territorial fighting, and human encroachment are prompting Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission talks about transferring a few female panthers from South to Central Florida.

Bay County Oystermen Ask For and Reiceve Stricter Regulations

Sep 28, 2012

Bay County is facing new limits on oyster harvesting. That’s because the shellfish is reaching critically low numbers in the County’s East Bay. Local oystermen say the new limits are needed for the industry’s survival. The normal limit is 20 bags with each bag weighing about 60 pounds. But Wednesday, the Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued an executive order bringing that number of bags down to 10.

As The Oysters Go, So Goes The Bay

Sep 14, 2012
Thomas-Andrew Gustafson

On the front door of Barnacle Bill’s restaurant in Tallahassee is a notice. It reads, “Due to extreme shortages of oysters on the winter oyster beds and catch regulations, the price of oysters has skyrocketed.” Inside, Jim-Bob Heller and Jay Parr are sitting at the bar where customers can buy oysters by the bucket.

“I mean seriously, we just enjoyed some fantastic Apalachicola oysters. They were great. And to think that, you know, we wouldn’t have that anymore, it’s, that would be really unfortunate.”Says Jay Parr. He called the situation a perfect storm.

Nine Charged With Poaching In Wakulla County

Jun 18, 2012
Florida Beach Lifestyle / Florida-Beach-Lifestyle.com

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is charging nine individuals who allegedly killed alligators out of season. A plain clothes officer discovered the crime after overhearing a conversation between hunters at a convenience store.

Nine Charged With Poaching In Wakulla County

Jun 18, 2012
Florida Beach Lifestyle / Florida-Beach-Lifestyle.com

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is charging nine individuals who allegedly killed alligators out of season. A plain clothes officer discovered the crime after overhearing a conversation between hunters at a convenience store.

Florida wildlife officials are proposing a pilot project for bear-proof garbage cans in one Panhandle county. Regan McCarthy has more.

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