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September 8, 2011
Contact: Martha Bademan, 850-487-0554

On Thursday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) took final action on a series of proposed changes to its marine life (aquarium species) requirements. The amendments extend state conservation efforts governing the harvest of marine life into federal waters adjacent to state waters.

For octocorals, a group of soft corals like sea plumes and sea whips, the changes also create an annual quota and adopt the federal areas currently closed to harvest by the NOAA Fisheries Service. These conservation efforts take effect Oct. 31.

The federal fishery management councils are in the process of repealing federal regulations for octocorals in federal waters off Florida, which allows Florida to take over management of these species. At the request of the federal councils, Florida agreed to manage the octocoral fishery in both state and federal waters.

Specifically, the octocoral rule amendments extend existing state regulations into federal waters, establish an annual harvest quota and prohibit the use of power-assisted tools. The new rules continue to prohibit all harvest of octocorals in Atlantic federal waters north of Cape Canaveral and in the Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern adjacent to Florida state waters (Stetson-Miami Terrace and Pourtales Terrace). Finally, the rule clarifies that regulations for all marine life species apply in state and adjacent federal waters.

To see the Marine Life Rule Extension: Octocoral, go to, select “Commission Meetings” and click on the link to the September meeting agenda.