Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Agency Sunset Review
Joint Legislative Sunset Committee
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s mission is to manage the state’s fish and
wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of citizens. The commission was created
in 1998 by a constitutional amendment that merged portions of the Divisions of Marine Resources and
Law Enforcement of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission, and the Marine Fisheries Commission.
The Florida Constitution grants the commission the state’s executive and regulatory powers over wild
animal life, freshwater aquatic life and marine fish. However, the Legislature sets fees for hunting and
fishing licenses and penalties for violating regulations. The Legislature may also assign other duties and
responsibilities to the commission in statute as long as they do not conflict with the commission’s
The Governor appoints seven members to the Commission. Members are confirmed by the Senate and
serve five-year terms. The commission appoints an executive director to manage the agency and its
The commission conducts its activities through seven programs:
Executive Direction and Administrative Services provides executive leadership and administrative
services to other commission programs. Offices within this program include the Office of Recreation
Services, the Community Relations Office, the Office of Data Portal, the Finance and Budget Office,
the Office of Information Technology, the Office of Licensing and Permitting, the Office of Policy and
Stakeholder Coordination, the Legislative Affairs Office, the Legal Office, the Office of Inspector
General, the Office of Human Resources, and the Office of the Executive Director.
Hunting and Game Management facilitates the responsible and sustained use of Florida’s game
wildlife. Program sections include Game Species Management, Hunter Safety and Public Shooting
Ranges, and Public Hunting Areas.
Marine Fisheries Management facilitates the responsible and sustained use of Florida’s marine life
resources. Program sections include Fisheries Management and Fisheries Services.
Freshwater Fisheries Management facilitates the responsible and sustained use of Florida’s fresh
water aquatic life. Program sections include Fisheries Management and Hatchery Operations and
Law Enforcement provides response and protection services to Florida’s fish and wildlife resources
and to the public on the lands and waters of the state. Program sections include Field Operations,
Boating and Waterways, and Support.
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute serves as the primary source of research and technical
information on the status of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources. Program sections include
Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration, Freshwater Fisheries Research, Information Science and
Management, Marine Fisheries Research, and Wildlife Research.
Habitat and Species Conservation protects and conserves the state’s diverse and unique fish and
wildlife populations and their habitats. Program sections include Aquatic Habitat Conservation and
Restoration, Exotic Species Coordination, Habitat Conservation Scientific Services, Imperiled Species
Management, Program Coordination, Species Conservation Planning, and Terrestrial Habitat
Conservation and Restoration.
The commission reported having 19 advisory committees. Eight of these committees were established
by statute while 11 were created by the commission. Collectively, these committees incurred travel, staff,
and other expenses totaling $228,597 in Fiscal Year 2006-07 (see Exhibit 1).
Three committees accounted for approximately 77% of the funding for advisory committees in Fiscal
Year 2006-07: the Ad Hoc Spiny Lobster Advisory Board, the Snook Workgroup, and the Captive
Wildlife Technical Assistance Group. These advisory committees served as a means for the commission
to obtain stakeholder input regarding potential changes in rules and regulations. The Commission
reports that these committees have completed their work and have been discontinued.
The Commission Reported $228,597 in Costs for Advisory Committees in Fiscal Year 2006-07
Ad hoc Spiny Lobster Advisory Board
Captive Wildlife Technical Assistance Group
Boating Advisory Council
Red Drum Workgroup
Marine Stock Enhancement Advisory Board
Ad Hoc Blue Crab Advisory Board
Florida Wildlife Magazine Advisory Council
Florida Panther Technical Advisory Council
Waterfowl Advisory Council
Artificial Reef Advisory Board
Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force
Listing Process Stakeholder Panel
Management Advisory Groups
Manatee Technical Advisory Council
Marine Life Workgroup
Nongame Wildlife Advisory Council
Stone Crab Advisory Board
Trap Certificate Technical Advisory and Appeals Board
Policy Issue - Do the FWC advisory committees add value to the agency?
Most of the commission’s advisory committees serve a public purpose by providing opportunities for
stakeholder input or expertise in a variety of matters. Commission managers report that involving
stakeholders helps increase support and future compliance for commission programs and actions, such
as changes in rules or new regulation.
Policy Issue - Is there a need for the continuation of the agency’s advisory committees?
The FWC reports that 7 of 11 commission-created advisory committees have been discontinued. 1 Of the
remaining 12 advisory committees , the JSC recommends eliminating 6; The Waterfowl Advisory Council,
the Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, the Nongame Wildlife Advisory Council, the Florida Panther Technical
Advisory Council, the Stone Crab Advisory Board, and the Trap Certificate Technical Advisory and Appeals
Board. We also recommend that the Legislature consider modifying s. 372.0222(2), Florida Statutes, which
creates the Florida Wildlife Magazine Advisory Council, so that the council is no longer required to meet on a
quarterly basis. Department managers report that while the council has provided useful advice, it can likely
fulfill its purpose with less frequent meetings.
To carry out the recommendations, the following sections of Florida Statutes should be repealed:
Section 372.992, Florida Statutes, which would abolish the Nongame Wildlife Advisory Council.
The commission often forms ad hoc workgroups and advisory committees to deal with
management issues regarding specific species, including nongame wildlife. As such, the
Nongame Wildlife Advisory Council could be duplicative of other workgroups and committees
tasked with addressing specific species. Agency managers report that abolishing this committee
would have minimal effect as there are other venues for obtaining public input on nongame
Section 370.06092, Florida Statutes, which would abolish the Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force.
Commission managers reported that this advisory committee has completed its statutory
responsibilities and is inactive
Section 370.142(4), Florida Statutes, which would abolish the Trap Certificate Technical Advisory
and Appeals Board. Commission managers reported that this advisory committee has also
completed its statutory responsibilities and is inactive
Section 372.5714, Florida Statutes, which would abolish the Waterfowl Advisory Council. The
commission recommends discontinuing the Waterfowl Advisory Council. The impact of
abolition would be minimal as the commission reports that it would seek public input through a
new waterfowl stakeholder group with a broader and more diverse membership than the current
Section 372.673, Florida Statutes, which creates the Florida Panther Technical Advisory council.
This council has not met in the last two fiscal years.
These advisory committees include the Captive Wildlife Technical Assistance Group, the Ad Hoc Spiny Lobster Board, the Red Drum
Workgroup, the Snook Workgroup, the Listing Process Stakeholder Panel, the Ad Hoc Blue Crab Advisory Board and the Manatee Technical