Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, November 1, 2006

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Land and Water Plan Update
    Staff: Robert Cook
  2. 2007-2008 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation Preview
    Staff: Larry McKinney, Ken Kurzawski, Mike Berger
  3. Commission Delegation of Authority to Close and Open the Summer Gulf Shrimp Season – Permission to Publish
    Staff: Larry McKinney
  4. Scientific Breeder Permit Rules – Permission to Publish
    Staff: Clayton Wolf
  5. Artificial Reef Rules (Action Item No. 3)
    Staff: Dale Shively
  6. Offshore Aquaculture Permit Rules (Action Item No. 8)
    Staff: Larry McKinney
  7. Raptor Proclamation (Action Item No. 12)
    Staff: Matt Wagner
  8. Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plant Rules Amendments (Action Item No. 10)
    Staff: Earl Chilton

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Robert L. Cook

Regulations Committee
Land and Water Plan Update
November 2006

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Robert L. Cook will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency's efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the Plan).

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In November 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. The Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Robert L. Cook will update the Regulations Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan's Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Regulations Committee.

The Plan consists of 8 Goals and a total of 56 Objectives. The Goals stated in the Plan are as follows:


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Larry McKinney
Ken Kurzawski
Mike Berger

Regulations Committee
2007-2008 Statewide Hunting and Fishing
Proclamation Preview
November 2006

I. Executive Summary: This item apprises the committee of potential changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation for the 2007-2008 seasons.

II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61. The potential changes are based upon statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The potential changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation Preview

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Statewide Hunting and Fishing
Proclamation Preview

Potential Wildlife Regulation Proposals

Potential adjustments to spring seasons for Rio Grande turkey.

A housekeeping-type change that would add the antlerless mule deer permit to the group of permits that may be used as stand-alone tags and need not be accompanied by a tag from a hunting license.

Potential Freshwater Fishing Regulation Proposals

Striped bass (Lake Texoma). Staff is considering a change to the possession limit for striped bass on Lake Texoma. The goal for the change is to standardize regulations with Oklahoma and reduce angler confusion with respect to fish landed in Texas.

Largemouth bass. Staff is considering the implementation of a 16-inch maximum length limit for largemouth bass on selected reservoirs. The intent of the change is to improve bass populations on reservoirs where current regulations have not been sufficient to achieve desired management goals.

Potential Coastal Fishing Regulation Proposals

Regionalization of spotted seatrout regulations: Continuing to scope the possibility of changing bag limits, and possible size limits, for spotted seatrout in the Lower Laguna Madre. Surveys have suggested a relatively long, downward trend in spawning biomass and catch rates. Modeling indicates that a substantial improvement in a relatively short period of time is possible if these trends were to be addressed now.

Sheepshead: Continuing to evaluate the possibility of changing the size limit from 12 inches to 15 inches. The original size limit was based on consistency with other similar size limits, but recent publications suggest that 15 inches would provide better protection for breeding fish.

Diamondback Terrapin: Considering precluding take or retention. Sale of this turtle is prohibited over much of its natural range in the United States, and a growing market suggests that Texas should take similar protective measures.

Harassment of fish: Current rules prohibit the use of airboats or jet-driven devices to pursue and harass or harry fish. When the rules were originally promulgated, technological limitations permitted only certain types of vessels to operate in water shallow enough to "herd" fish. Newer hull and engine designs, however, are allowing larger numbers of vessels to access very shallow water and engage in the practice.

Offshore aquaculture waivers: The department has recently proposed rules to regulate the practice of offshore aquaculture in Texas waters. To provide clarity and prevent conflict between aquacultural operations and recreational angling, staff would like to specify that the provisions of the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation do not apply to the possession and landing of fish under an offshore aquaculture permit.


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Larry McKinney

Regulations Committee
Commission Delegation of Authority to
Close and Open the Summer Gulf Shrimp Season
Permission to Publish
November 2006

I. Executive Summary: Parks and Wildlife Code §77.062 related to Change in General Closed Season for Gulf Shrimp allows the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to delegate its authority to close and open the summer gulf shrimp season in outside waters to the Executive Director. Prior to the Commission adoption of the of the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan (SFMP) in 1989 the Commission had been granted authority under the Shrimp Management Act of 1959 to alter the gulf closed season to provide for an earlier, later or longer season not to exceed 60 days and the Commission was allowed to delegate its authority to the Executive Director in order to accomplish these alterations in seasons based on sound biological data. Historically, Texas state waters were managed and the summer closure period was changed through the delegation to the Executive Director. In 1981, a coordinated effort to close both state and federal waters became know as the "Texas Closure" and has been carried out with the delegation of authority to the Executive Director as needed.

II. Discussion:: Responsibility for adopting rules covering the taking, attempting to take, possession, purchase, and sale of shrimp resources in the salt waters of Texas is set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 77 Shrimp. This item proposes an amendment to 31 TAC Chapter 58, Subchapter B (Statewide Shrimp Fishery Proclamation), §58.161 Shrimping in Outside Waters.

Prior to the adoption of the SFMP and since the adoption of the plan, the Executive Director has exercised that authority based on wording in the statute which allows that delegation and the discussion regarding that authority in the SFMP. However, the Commission has delegated its authority to the Executive Director several times since then (e.g., Migratory Game Bird Proclamation 31 TAC §65.313, contracting 31 TAC §51.60 etc.), but in each of these instances clear language has been provided by rule using the Administrative Procedures Act that explicitly conveys this authority. Staff believes that the establishment of these procedures aids the public in understanding the workings of the Department and should be used at every opportunity. To be consistent with these procedures, this action amends 31 TAC §58.161 Shrimping in Outside Waters, delegating the Commission's authority to close and open the summer gulf shrimp season in outside waters to the Executive Director.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Statewide Shrimp Fishery Proclamation

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Texas Administrative Code
Title 31 Natural Resources and Conservation
Part 2 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Chapter 58 Oysters and Shrimp
Subchapter B Statewide Shrimp Fishery Proclamation
Rule §58.161
Shrimping in Outside Waters

(a) - (c) no change.

(d) Gulf shrimping seasons. The outside waters are open to shrimping except:

(1) - (2) no change.

(3) Summer closed season:

(A) The outside waters are closed from 30 minutes after sunset on May 15 to 30 minutes after sunset July 15.

(B) The commission may change the opening and closing dates to provide an earlier, later, or longer closed season not to exceed 75 days, and the Executive Director is delegated to exercise this authority to open and close the season as provided in PWC §77.062. CHANGE IN GENERAL CLOSED SEASON.

(C) The department will provide 72 hours public notice prior to a change in the closing date, and 24 hours public notice prior to reopening the season.

(4) - (5) no change.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Clayton Wolf

Regulations Committee
Scientific Breeder Permit Rules
Permission to Publish
November 2006

I. Executive Summary: This item presents proposed changes to rules governing the Scientific Breeder's Permit program to:

II. Discussion:: Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter L, requires the Commission to establish permits and authorizes the promulgation of rules governing the possession of white-tailed deer and mule deer for scientific, management, and propagation purposes. As a result of the comprehensive reorganization of the regulation governing the scientific breeder program, two minor inconsistencies have been identified by staff. The proposed regulations are located at Exhibit A.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Scientific Breeder Rules

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Scientific Breeder's Permit Rules
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§65.610 and 65.611, concerning Scientific Breeder’s Permits. The proposed amendments would correct an inaccurate provision regarding who may receive deer from a scientific breeder on a temporary basis and remove a reference to a permit that no longer exists.

Current §65.610(b) stipulates that a scientific breeder may transfer deer temporarily for breeding or nursing purposes only to another scientific breeder. In a comprehensive revision of the subchapter adopted earlier this year (31 TexReg 4227), the department intended to restrict the temporary transfer of scientific breeder deer for breeding purposes but did not intend to prevent anyone from temporarily holding deer for nursing purposes. The proposed amendment is necessary to allow this to occur.

Current §65.611, concerning Prohibited Acts, provides that no person may sell deer to another person unless either the purchaser or the seller possesses a purchase permit. The extensive revision of the subchapter earlier this year eliminated the purchase permit. The proposed amendment is necessary to eliminate obsolete terminology and to prevent confusion.

2. Fiscal Note.

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

3. Public Benefit – Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be clear and accurate regulations.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effects on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the amendments as proposed.

(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 rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) 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 Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4775 (e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter L, which provides the Commission with authority to promulgate regulations governing the possession of white-tailed deer and mule deer for scientific, management, and propagation purposes.

The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43.

§65.610. Transfer of Deer.

(a) General requirement. No person may remove deer from or accept deer into a permitted facility unless a valid transfer permit on a form provided by the department has been activated as provided in this section.

(b) Transfer by scientific breeder. The holder of a valid scientific breeder's permit may transfer legally possessed deer:

(1) to or from another scientific breeder as a result of sale, purchase or other arrangement;

(2) to or from another scientific breeder on a temporary basis for breeding [or nursing] purposes;

(3) to or from another person on a temporary basis for nursing purposes;

(4)[(3)] to an individual who purchases or otherwise lawfully obtains the deer for purposes of release but does not possess a scientific breeder's permit;

(5)[(4)] to an individual for the purpose of obtaining medical attention, provided the deer do not leave this state; and

(6)[(5)] to a facility authorized under Subchapter D of this chapter (relating to Deer Management Permit) to receive buck deer on a temporary basis.

(c) Transfer by person other than scientific breeder. An individual who does not possess a scientific breeder's permit may possess deer under a transfer permit if the individual is transporting deer within the state and the deer were legally purchased or obtained from a scientific breeder for purposes of release.

(d) Release.

(1) The department may authorize the release of deer for stocking purposes if the department determines that the release of deer will not detrimentally affect existing populations or systems.

(2) Deer lawfully purchased, possessed, or obtained for stocking purposes may be held in captivity for no more than 30 days:

(A) to acclimate the deer to habitat conditions at the release site;

(B) when specifically authorized by the department;

(C) if they are not hunted prior to release; and

(D) if the temporary holding facility is physically separate from any scientific breeder facility and the deer being temporarily held are not commingled with deer being held in a scientific breeder facility. Deer removed from a scientific breeder facility to a temporary holding facility shall not be returned to any scientific breeder facility. No deer shall be released from a temporary holding facility during an open season or within ten days of an open season unless the antlers immediately above the pedicel have been removed.

(3) An individual who does not possess a scientific breeder's permit may possess deer under a transfer permit if the individual is transporting deer within the state and the deer were legally purchased or obtained from a scientific breeder for purposes of release.

(e) Transfer permit.

(1) A transfer permit is valid for 48 consecutive hours from the time of activation.

(2) A transfer permit authorizes the transfer of deer to one and only one receiver.

(3) A transfer permit is activated only by:

(A) notifying the Law Enforcement Communications Center in Austin prior to the transport of any deer; or

(B) utilizing the department's web-based activation mechanism prior to the transport of any deer.

(4) A person in possession of live deer at any place other than within a permitted facility shall also possess on their person a department-issued transfer permit legibly indicating, at a minimum:

(A) the species, sex, and unique number of each deer in possession;

(B) the source and destination facilities, or, if applicable, the specific release location for each deer in possession;

(C) the date and time that the permit was activated.

(5) Not later than 48 hours following the completion of all activities under a transfer permit, the permit shall be:

(A) legibly completed and faxed to the Wildlife Division in Austin by the person designated on the permit as the party responsible for notification of the department; or

(B) completed and submitted using the department's web-based permit-completion mechanism.

(6) A scientific breeder may transport deer without a transfer permit from a permitted facility to a licensed veterinarian, provided:

(A) the transport occurs by the most feasible direct route;

(B) the deer are not removed from the means of transportation at any point between the permitted facility and the veterinary facility; and

(C) the deer do not leave this state.

(f) Marking of vehicles and trailers. No person may possess, transport, or cause the transportation of deer in a trailer or vehicle under the provisions of this subchapter unless the trailer or vehicle exhibits an applicable inscription, as specified in this subsection, on the rear surface of the trailer or vehicle. The inscription shall read from left to right and shall be plainly visible at all times while possessing or transporting deer upon a public roadway. The inscription shall be attached to or painted on the trailer or vehicle in block, capital letters, each of which shall be of no less than six inches in height and three inches in width, in a color that contrasts with the color of the trailer or vehicle. If the person is not a scientific breeder, the inscription shall be "TXD". If the person is a scientific breeder, the inscription shall be the scientific breeder serial number issued to the person.

§65.611. Prohibited Acts.

(a) Deer obtained from the wild under the authority of a permit or letter of authority issued pursuant to Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C, E, or R shall not be commingled with deer held in a permitted scientific breeder facility.

(b) A person commits an offense if that person places or holds deer in captivity at any place or on any property other than property for which a scientific breeder's permit, or a permit authorized under other provisions of this title or Parks and Wildlife Code, is issued, except that a permittee may transport and temporarily hold deer at another location for breeding, nursing, or veterinary purposes as provided in this subchapter.

(c) No live deer taken from the wild may be possessed under a scientific breeder's permit or held in a scientific breeder's facility.

(d) No deer shall be held in a trailer or other vehicle of any type except for the purpose of immediate transportation from one location to another.

(e) Possession of a scientific breeder's permit is not a defense to prosecution under any statute prohibiting abuse of animals.

(f) No scientific breeder shall hunt or kill, or allow the hunting or killing of deer held pursuant to this subchapter.

(g) No scientific breeder shall exceed the number of deer allowable for the permitted facility, as specified by the department on the scientific breeder's permit.

(h) No person may sell deer to another person unless either the purchaser or the seller possesses a [purchase] permit valid for that specific transaction.

(i) Except as provided in this subsection, no person may possess a deer acquired from an out-of-state source. This subsection does not apply to deer lawfully obtained prior to the effective date of this subsection.

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


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