South Florida outdoors notebook



•  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold two public workshops in South Florida this week on proposed new regulations aimed at further conserving bonefish and tarpon. The proposals call for making the two species catch-and-release only in state and federal waters. Currently, bonefish can be held in a live well and transported to weigh scales under a tournament exemption. The new rule would eliminate the exemption and require bonefish to be released where they are caught. But there would be allowances for weighing, measuring, photographing and taking samples for science at the catch site. For tarpon, the proposed rules would allow possession of one fish per day for an angler holding a state-issued tarpon tag in order to pursue an IGFA world record. All others would have to be released alive at the catch site — also with allowances for photography and measurement. The FWC is expected to consider the measures at a meeting April 17-18 in Tallahassee. Workshops are slated for Tuesday at the IGFA Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach and Wednesday at Key Colony Beach City Hall in the middle Keys. A webinar/conference call will be held April 8. All sessions are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

•  Celebrate Easter Sunday by catching your final spiny lobster for a while. The statewide harvest closes Monday until the July 25-26 sport diving miniseason to give the crustaceans a chance to spawn unmolested. The regular harvest season reopens Aug. 6. Meanwhile, the vermilion snapper season in the South Atlantic reopens Monday through Oct. 31. Snapper must measure at least 12 inches total length, and the bag limit is five fish per person per day. Captains and crews on charter boats do not count in the bag limit. For more information, visit myFWC.com/Fishing.

•  NOAA Fisheries has announced it will extend the deadline for public comment on new proposed swordfish rules from April 23 to May 8. The agency is considering issuing open-access, highly migratory species handgear permits for commercial fishers in Florida to harvest one sword per trip for sale to a permitted dealer. A public hearing will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 10 at the Broward County Main Library in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

•  Key Biscayne tournament organizer and conservationist Joan Vernon is among five new inductees into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame. The organization honors outstanding individuals in recreational angling each year in ceremonies at its headquarters in Dania Beach. This year’s induction will be held Oct. 29. Vernon is credited with promoting circle hooks for catching and releasing billfish unharmed. She has served as chair of the Billfish Foundation and the International Women’s Fishing Association. Fellow 2013 inductees are: big-game angler extraordinaire Stewart Campbell; angling research and conservation advocate Marcel Prot of France; fly-fishing author/promoter/conservationist Ernest Schwiebert; and Salt Water Sportsman magazine editor Frank Woolner.

•  Six South Floridians are among 38 sailors named to the 2013 US Sailing Development Team. The team was set up in 2007 to help develop the talents and skills of young athletes to compete at the Olympic level. The locals are: Nikki Medley of Fort Lauderdale in 470; Brad Funk of Miami in 49er; Maximo Nores of Miami in RS:X (men); Haley Fox of Fort Lauderdale in I420 (girls); Kai Friesecke of Fort Lauderdale in 29er; and Sarah Lihan of Fort Lauderdale in multihull and women’s 470.

Susan Cocking

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