Presenter: Robin Riechers

Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Action
Delegation of Rulemaking Authority Concerning the State and Federal Rules in the Gulf of Mexico
May 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: This action delegates to the Executive Director the Commission's responsibility and authority to make rules as necessary to modify state coastal fisheries regulations in order to provide for consistency with federal regulations in the exclusive economic zone.

II. Discussion: Federal authorities are responsible for regulating the take of all species of marine life subject to the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C.A. Section 1801 et seq.) in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ extends from the seaward boundary of state waters (nine nautical miles) out to 200 nautical miles. When rules are changed in the EEZ, Texas often changes the rules governing the take of those same species in state waters to create consistency between federal and state regulations, to enhance enforcement of the rules (i.e., state and federal), and to minimize public confusion over what may be legally landed in Texas from the Gulf of Mexico. However, the limited number of Commission meetings in a year, and the irregular timing of federal rule changes, prevents Texas from efficiently coordinating its regulations in a timely manner using the normal Commission rule making process.

Parks and Wildlife Code §79.002 authorizes the Commission to delegate to the Executive Director its responsibility and authority to make rules as necessary to modify state coastal fisheries regulations in order to provide for consistency with federal regulations in the exclusive economic zone. This action is to make that delegation.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following proposed motion:

"Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new section 31TAC §65.83 related to the delegation of the Commission's authority to adopt Gulf rules, as published in the April 20, 2007 Texas Register (32 TexReg. 2252)."

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation

Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Exhibit A

Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Delegation of Authority – Coastal Fisheries
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new <*>65.83, concerning Delegation of Authority.

Federal authorities are responsible for regulating the take of all species of marine life subject to the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C.A. Section 1801 et seq.) in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ extends from the seaward boundary of state waters (nine nautical miles) out to 200 nautical miles. When rules are changed in the EEZ, Texas often changes the rules governing the take of those same species in state waters to create consistency between federal and state regulations, to enhance enforcement of the rules (i.e., state and federal), and to minimize public confusion over what may be legally landed in Texas from the Gulf of Mexico.

Parks and Wildlife Code, <*>79.002, authorizes the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) to delegate to the executive director its responsibility and authority to make rules as necessary to modify state coastal fisheries regulations in order to provide for consistency with federal regulations in the exclusive economic zone. The proposed new rule would make that delegation.

The proposed new rule would allow Texas regulations governing coastal fishing to be brought into conformity with federal regulations more rapidly than through the normal rulemaking process. Normally, the Commission meets no more than five times per year, and amends the coastal fisheries portion of the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation once per year. This normal process of amending coastal fisheries rules takes 60 days or longer. Given the normal scheduling of Commission meetings this can take as long as 120 days. Delegating the rulemaking process to the Executive Director will allow Texas rules to be brought into conformity with federal rules within 60 days of adoption of the federal rule, or less time if necessary. Shortening the time period during which federal and Texas rules are inconsistent is expected to enhance species conservation, minimize confusion within the fishing community, and improve enforcement.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robin Riechers, Director of Science and Policy, has determined that for each of the first five years the rule as proposed 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. Riechers also has determined that for each of the first five years the rule as proposed is in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be the continued ability of the department to discharge its statutory duty to protect and manage the coastal fisheries resources of the state.

(B) The rule will not result in economic costs to businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the rule.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, <*>2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

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

(E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules 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 section is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, <*>79.002, which provides the Commission the authority to delegate to the executive director its responsibility and authority for making rules as necessary to modify state coastal fisheries regulations in order to provide for consistency with federal regulations in the exclusive economic zone. Responsibility for adopting rules covering taking, attempting to take, possession, transportation, purchase, and sale of aquatic resources in the salt waters of Texas is set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code Chapters 61, 66, 67, 68, 76, 77, and 78.

The new section affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61, 66, 67, 68, 76, 77, and 78.

§65.83. Delegation of Authority. The executive director may, after notifying the Chairman of the Commission, adopt, repeal, or modify state coastal fisheries regulations in order to provide for consistency with federal regulations in the exclusive economic zone.

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


Back to Top
Back to Top