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Mote Marine Laboratory

Sea turtle deaths continue to increase as red tide lingers off Florida's southwestern coast. While the numbers remain steady in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, Sarasota is experiencing a spike in cases. 

Florida’s wildlife agency will be holding a lionfish summit in the Fall. The goal is to find more ways to get rid of the spiny invasive species plaguing state waters.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A red tide algae bloom is persisting along Sarasota County beaches. Background concentrations of the toxic organism Karenia brevis are typical in Gulf waters, but very low to medium concentrations have been recorded across parts of Florida's west coast. 

It’s Nesting season for Florida’s waterbirds. And, Florida wildlife officials say it’s important the public keeps its distance, while on the beach or boating on the state’s waterways.

There will be no harvesting of Goliath Grouper in Florida, for now.

As law enforcement agencies across Florida consider using body cameras, the state’s wildlife officers are following suit.

Julio Ochoa / Health News Florida

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe announced Friday he won't press charges against the city of St. Petersburg.

The decision came after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's investigation into the city's sewage discharges of 2015 and 2016.

Florida wildlife officials say lionfish harvesters are crucial to getting rid of the invasive species. But, lionfish removal divers are urged to safely remove the fish without causing any natural habitat damage.

Florida may proclaim itself the “fishing capital of the world,” but wildlife officials say they need more anglers to help cover costs of running state programs.

The same goes for hunters.

Despite a months-long season for red snapper in state waters off Florida and other Gulf states, fisherman across the Gulf of Mexico are gearing up to protest a brief three-day opening to catch the prized fish in federal Gulf waters. Fishermen argue a short opening hurts businesses and hampers anglers across the Gulf, but fishery managers say a small window is important to preserve a species still recovering from overfishing.

This week is National Safe Boating Week, and with Florida wildlife officials expecting increased turnout on the water for the Memorial Day weekend, they’re hoping boaters will wear life jackets.

This Saturday is not only Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, it’s also the kick off for Florida’s Lionfish Challenge—an incentive program to encourage people to remove the nonnative species. State wildlife officials are doing a bit of a revamp this year.

Spring is in the air, hungry Florida black bears are looking for love, and state game officials are urging caution.

To lower the potential spread of disease, state wildlife officials want Florida residents to keep their bird feeders clean. They’re already getting multiple reports about sick or dead songbirds of a certain species in the North Florida area in the last month.

As Florida’s Bald Eagle population continues to increase, state wildlife officials are considering changes to the state’s management plan for the iconic raptors. 

As Easter approaches, Florida wildlife officials want parents to think twice before buying a certain duck—very popular around this time of year.

Turtle Nesting Season Calls For Citizen Awareness

Mar 2, 2017

Florida is a large nesting site for endangered sea turtles, such as the leatherback. Dr. Robbin Trindell leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sea turtle management program. She warns curious bystanders can inadvertently harm a nesting sea turtle.

Florida is a prime breeding ground for invasive species that can threaten the state’s ecology and economy. For every lionfish or Burmese python that’s captured, thousands remain. And the sheer scope of the problem is pushing some lawmakers to ask how much of a difference state funding actually makes.

A new hunting dog rule approved by Florida wildlife officials is drawing some concerns.

The Florida Burrowing Owl is now considered a “Threatened” species, which means it has higher protections from the state. And environmental advocates in the city of Cape Coral hope this new title will help their efforts in preserving the local burrowing owl population. 

Steve Linder, flickr

Fishing enthusiasts should note Florida is making some changes to mutton snapper regulations that kick in January 1.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the species is not overfished, but says data indicates the population may be lower than previously estimated.

The recreational limit for mutton snapper is essentially being cut in half. Currently there is a 10-snapper per person bag limit, and that's most kinds of snapper. But beginning in January, only five of those snappers can be mutton snapper.

Florida wildlife authorities approved new protected areas Wednesday for some of the state’s most iconic and imperiled bird species.

Florida wildlife authorities may expand protected areas for some of the state’s most iconic and imperiled bird species like roseate spoonbills and brown pelicans.

Florida wildlife officials are asking the public for their help in deciding rules for venomous reptiles.

Gun-Rights Groups Aim For Another Bear Hunt

Jun 2, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

As a renewed debate builds about the issue, the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida are urging the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to hold a bear hunt later this year.

FWC

Volusia County is urging the state not to hold another bear hunt. The county council wants the state to focus on other techniques to keep black bears out of suburban areas.

The Volusia Council says hunters killed too many bears during the state-regulated hunt last year and that the population of bears in central Florida is lower than it should be.

The state’s bear management plan sets a goal of at least 1,030 black bears in the region. The council says the hunt left central Florida more than 920 bears.

Florida Denies Permit For Lakeland Woman To Keep Pet Gator

Apr 4, 2016

The Lakeland woman who gained national attention for her pet alligator may be losing her fight to keep him.

FWC

Wildlife officials have approved the killing of 320 black bears next month during the state’s first bear hunting season in more than 20 years.

In Florida, the official state animal triggers mixed feelings. The Florida panther has been on the endangered species list for nearly 50 years. From a low point in the 1970s when there were only about 20 panthers in the wild, the species has rebounded.

Now, nearly 200 range throughout southwest Florida. And some officials, ranchers and hunters in the state say that may be about enough.

Florida panthers are a subspecies of the cougar or mountain lion. They're slightly smaller than their cousins, but like them, the panthers need lots of room to roam.