▪ The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is conducting three “Python Patrol” training sessions for people interested in learning how to identify, report and capture the exotic snakes. The “citizen scientist” program is aimed at helping stop the spread of invasive Burmese pythons, which pose a threat to native wildlife, particularly in the Everglades. Sessions will be held Sunday and Feb.8 from 10a.m. to noon at Oak Ridge Hall at Tree Tops Park, 3900 S.W. 100th Ave., Davie; on Jan.24 from 10a..m. to noon at A.D. Barnes Park Nature Center, 3401 S.W. 72nd Ave., Miami; on Saturday and Feb.1 from 10a.m. to noon at the FWC Regional Office, 8535 Northlake Blvd., West Palm Beach; and Jan.27 from 1 p.m. to 4p.m. at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, 10216 Lee Rd., Boynton Beach. To register, visit MyFWC.com/Python. Space is limited.
▪ A joint committee of South Atlantic and Gulf fisheries managers will meet in Key West from Tuesday through Thursday to come up with measures to minimize conflicting regulations between state and federal jurisdictions in South Florida waters. Nowhere is this more of a problem than in the Keys, where recreational and commercial fishers are often confused about which rules they need to follow when entering multiple jurisdictions on a single trip. All are invited to attend the Joint South Florida Committee session at the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel and make comments. The committee is working on a draft amendment that could turn over management of some snapper/grouper species to the state of Florida. The amendment is expected to go before a joint meeting of the South Atlantic and Gulf fisheries management councils in June and, if approved, would go out to public hearings in the summer.
▪ Regatta season now is in full sail throughout South Florida. Following the Dec. 27 completion of the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta on Biscayne Bay comes Wednesday’s 40th annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race followed by Quantum Key West Race Week, which is from Jan. 18 through Jan.23.
As many as 50 sailboats in six classes will line up off Port Everglades for Wednesday’s 1 p.m. start, then head about 160 miles south to finish in Key West Harbor on Thursday or Friday. An awards ceremony will be held Friday at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill.
Some of the fleet may remain in the Island City for the Quantum event, which features more than 100 boats from 23 feet to 72 feet long competing in 11 classes in closed-course races. New this year is the GC 32 class, foiling catamarans similar to the larger models that competed in the most recent America’s Cup. Headquarters is the Truman Waterfront on Key West Harbor.
▪ Wrenegade, captained by Jim Garner, scored 13 sailfish releases to take top boat honors in the two-day Silver Sailfish Derby, which concluded Friday out of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club. Runner-up Miss Annie also scored 13 releases but lost on time. Pro Payroll came in third with 12 releases. Scott Robins on Weez in the Keys, captained by Chris Zielinski, weighed a record 138.8-pound yellowfin tuna.