Presenters: Larry Young
Robin Riechers

Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Action
Oyster Dredge Regulation
August 2003

I. Discussion: Responsibility for adopting rules covering the taking, attempting to take, possession, purchase, and sale of oyster resources in the salt waters of Texas is set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 76 Oysters. This item proposes amendments to 31 TAC Chapter 58, Subchapter A (Statewide Oyster Fishery), Section 58.22 (a) Gear Restrictions. Currently it is unlawful to use more than one dredge while taking or attempting to take oysters. It is unlawful to have on board any dredges other than the one connected to a winch, chain, or other lifting device, unless it is secured below deck or on the wheelhouse or to the deck in such a manner that it is not readily accessible for use. Difficulties of enforcing the current one dredge rule were discussed at a recent Oyster Advisory Committee Meeting. In order to maintain the flexibility of having a second dredge on board to replace a damaged or lost dredge, the advisory committee suggested language that would only allow the chain, and lifting block which is connected to the oyster dredge in use to be out of storage. By eliminating the opportunity for the rigging of a second dredge to be in place and ready for use, it should provide a greater deterrent to the use of a second dredge and provide greater opportunity for law enforcement to enforce the current one dredge rule.

At the direction of the Regulations Committee, staff filed the proposed rule changes with amendments with the Texas Register, which were published in the July 4, 2003 issue for a 30-day public comment (28 TexReg 5124-5125). To date, staff has not received any public comment.

II. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopt the following motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 31 TAC §58.22 (located in Exhibit A), concerning gear restrictions for oystering – Required Documentation as published in the July 4, 2003 issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 5124-5125).”

Attachments – 1

1. Exhibit A – Oyster Fishery Proclamation


Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE OYSTER FISHERY PROCLAMATION

§58.22 Commercial Fishing

(a) Gear Restrictions. During the open public season it is unlawful while taking or attempting to take oysters for pay or the purpose of sale, barter, or exchange or any other commercial purpose to:

(1) use more than one dredge;

(2) use a dredge which exceeds 48 inches in width and a two-barrel capacity;

(3) have on board more than one dredge, unless spare dredges are secured to or on the wheelhouse, or to the deck in such a manner as to not be readily accessible for use;

(4) have on board more than one winch chain, cable, or rope unless spare chains, cables or ropes are secured below deck; or

(5) have on board any lifting block, unless spare blocks are secured below deck.


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