Presenter: Jerry L. Cooke

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Action
Gear Tag Requirement for Minnow Traps
May 2004

I. Executive Summary: In response to a public comment on the proposed 2004-05 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation concerning the impact of abandoned equipment on marine resources, the department proposes that for a fisherman to legally use minnow traps in saltwater, each trap must have a gear tag attached that is less than 30 days old.

II. Discussion: During their April, 2004 meeting, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the use of minnow traps in saltwater. However, there was a public comment expressing concern that, like crab traps, trot lines and other saltwater equipment that fishes unattended, once abandoned, minnow traps would waste state resources unless some method were provided that accommodates their removal. One way to ensure that resources captured by saltwater minnow traps are not wasted is to require that each trap be equipped with a gear tag containing the name, address, and the date the gear tag was set out. If this proposal were adopted, Game wardens finding traps displaying gear-tag dates greater than 30 days old can recognize the trap as abandoned and remove it from Texas waters.

III. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new section 31 TAC Chapter 65, Subchapter A (Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation), §65.89. Minnow Trap Restrictions, with changes to the proposed text as published in the April 23, 2004, issue of the Texas Register (29 TexReg 3939-3940).”

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A - Minnow Trap Restrictions
  2. Exhibit B - Fiscal Note

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

Minnow Trap Regulation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new §65.79, concerning gear restrictions for minnow traps. The new section is necessary to address public comment received by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission concerning identification of trap-type fishing mechanisms generally. The proposed new rule would impose restrictions on minnow traps similar to those currently in effect for crab traps and perch traps, namely that each trap would have to be equipped with a gear tag bearing the name of the person who set out the trap and the date the trap was set out. Research has shown that abandoned or lost traps can continue to function for years, leading to waste and loss of marine organisms. By requiring the gear tag, the department can consider the trap to have been abandoned if the date on the gear indicates the trap has been in the water longer than 30 days. At that point the trap can be removed by department personnel as an abandoned trap.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the proposed rule is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the rule as proposed is in effect:

(A) The public benefit expected as a result of the proposed rule will be consistency of the agency’s regulations governing gear restrictions on various types of traps, which will make compliance with the rules easier and less confusing for the public, and the prevention of waste of marine organisms by abandoned traps.

(B) There will be economic costs for persons required to comply with the rule as proposed. The rule will require each minnow trap to be equipped with a degradable panel and gear tag. In each case the cost of compliance per device is less than $1 per trap. There are no other economic costs for persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

(C) The department has determined that the rule will not affect local economies; accordingly, no local employment impact statement has been prepared.

(D) The department has determined that Government Code, § 2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules) does not apply to the proposed rule.

(E) The department has determined that the rule will not have an adverse economic effect on small or micro-businesses.

(F) The department has determined that Government Code, Chapter 2007 (Governmental Action Affecting Private Property Rights), does not apply to the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed repeal may be submitted to Jerry L. Cooke, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4492; e-mail: jerry.cooke@tpwd.state.tx.us.

5. Statutory Authority.

The new rule is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, Uniform Wildlife Regulatory Act (Wildlife Conservation Act of 1983), which provides the commission with authority to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life and the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life

The proposed new rule affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

§65.89. Minnow Trap Restrictions. It is unlawful to use a minnow trap in saltwater that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 30 days after the date it is set out.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on April 12, 2004.


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