News Column

Miami Blue Butterfly Up for More Protection

June 28, 2012

Kevin Wadlow

The Miami blue butterfly, a species that might exist only in the Marquesas, will be considered for state endangered status today in Palm Beach Gardens.

Since the federal government in April confirmed the Miami blue as an endangered species, staff with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will recommend the species' state status be upgraded from its current threatened listing.

Once thought extinct, a colony of the small Miami blue butterflies was discovered at Bahia Honda State Park. A larger colony was later found in the Marquesas, west of Key West. The Bahia Honda colony has since vanished.

In addition, the FWC will consider banning the collection of three similar butterfly species -- the Nickerbean blue, the Ceraunus blue and Cassius blue -- to avoid accidental take of the Miami blue.

In saltwater issues at the two-day FWC meeting at the PGA National Resort, several amendments to state law on harvesting marine life for aquarium collections will be reviewed.

That includes a proposed three-year ban on taking Giant Caribbean pink-tipped anemones. The marine-life industry supports the ban to preserve the species, according to an FWC report.

The board also will hear an update on current snook population. Possession of snook has been closed in Florida Keys waters since shortly after the record cold in January 2010 killed an untold number of the popular game fish.

Agency staff recommends the snook harvest closure be allowed to expire as scheduled on Aug. 31.

The FWC confirmed Tuesday that despite poor weather from Tropical Storm Debby, the commission meeting will be held today and Thursday.

Source: (c)2012 the Florida Keys Keynoter (Marathon, Fla.)

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