Presenter: Paul Hammerschmidt
Commission Agenda Item No. 6
1998-99 Shrimp Fishery Proclamation
I. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, Uniform Wildlife Regulatory Act (Wildlife Conservation Act of 1983).
Proposed changes extend the sunset of the live bait fish exemption for commercial bait shrimp fishermen until September 1, 2001 and adds a temporary exemption for retaining Atlantic cutlassfish.
Department outreach efforts with Texas bait dealers indicate the exemption adopted in 1997 is working well to provide adequate numbers of live bait fish for recreational anglers without creating undo resource problems or abuse. Replacement of this exemption with a permit system for the commercial take of live bait fish would be administratively cumbersome, would not allow for adequate license controls, and thus may not be warranted at this time. Extending the exemption would allow for further evaluation of alterative management measures in this fishery. The addition of an exemption for the retention of Atlantic cutlassfish for bait should provide a better opportunity to serve the Texas offshore anglers.
At the January 1998 meeting of the Regulations Committee, staff was given permission to publish the proposed new rules and amendments in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed new rules and amendments were published in the March 13, 1998 Texas Register (23 TexReg 2627-2760) for the required 30-day public comment period. A series of 20 public hearings were also held throughout the state including five coastal counties. Staff has received, reviewed, and analyzed public comment regarding the proposed new rules and amendments.
II. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motions:
"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 31 TAC §58.160 (e) relating to other aquatic life taken incidental to legal shrimping operations."
Attachments - 2
A - Statewide
Shrimp Fishery Proclamation
2. Exhibit B - Fiscal Note
(Exhibit B available upon request.)
Agenda Item No. 6
Statewide Shrimp Fishery Proclamation
§58.160. Taking or Attempting to Take Shrimp (Shrimping) - General Rules.
(a)-(d) (No change.)
(e) Other aquatic life taken incidental to legal shrimping operations.
(1) Licensed Commercial Shrimp Boats.
(A) Other aquatic life taken incidental to legal shrimping operations may not be retained except as provided in these rules. The term "legal shrimping operations" is defined as the use of a legal trawl in places, at times, and in manners as authorized by the department.
(B) On board a licensed commercial shrimp boat a catch of finfish or other aquatic life, in any combination, may be retained in an amount not to exceed 50% by weight of the total trawl catch of shrimp by weight.
(i) Within the provision provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, species regulated by bag and size limits under provisions of proclamation of the Parks and Wildlife Commission may not be retained in numbers in excess of the daily bag limit established for those species.
(ii) From June 1 through September 30 of each year, in addition to the provision of subparagraph (B of this paragraph):
(I) up to 1,500 live non-game fish, not regulated by bag or size limits, may be retained on board a licensed commercial bait-shrimp boat for bait purposes only; and
(II) up to 3,600 (300 dozen) Atlantic cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus) (also known as ribbonfish) may be retained on board a licensed commercial bait-shrimp boat for bait purposes only.
(III) The provisions of this clause will expire September 1, 2001. [, up to 1500 live non-game fish, not regulated by bag or size limits, may be retained on board a licensed commercial bait-shrimp boat for bait purposes only. The provisions of this clause will expire September 1, 1998.]
(2) (No change.)
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