Panama City crayfish changes on hold
December 12, 2007
News Herald

The Panama City crayfish will remain a species of concern while the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission works to simplify the guidelines to reclassifying imperiled species.

gAn imperiled species listing process should be designed in a way that it is easy for the public to understand,h Kipp Frohlich, head of the statefs Imperiled Species Management Section, said after a Dec. 5 meeting. gA listing process should not be a source of confusion or divisiveness.h

Commissioners approved a new manatee management plan at that meeting but deferred its reclassification from endangered to threatened. That deferment also postponed the reclassification of the Panama City crayfish from a species of special concern to threatened.

David Cook, an FWC invertebrate specialist, said in an e-mail the crayfishfs species of special concern regulations will stay in place during the research period, including prohibitions against killing or harassing the animals.

gThe bottom line,h Cook said Tuesday, gis the listing process is to be revisited. Staff was directed to come up with some alternatives and present those to the commissioners.h

He said he wasnft at the Dec. 5 meeting and doesnft know specifics regarding the commissionfs concerns or what staff members were directed to do.

gThere will be meetings held to try to determine exactly what our marching orders are,h he said.

The proposed crayfish management plan, which would restrict land uses in an 81-squaremile area of the county, has drawn the ire of some local developers. Several municipalities have passed resolutions asking the FWC to hold off on changes.