Presenter: Robin Riechers

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Action
Offshore Aquaculture Permit Rules - Clarification
January 2008

I. Executive Summary: The item presents proposed clarifications to the department's rules governing offshore aquaculture operations.

II. Discussion: Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.015, requires the department to regulate the introduction and stocking of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants into the public water of the state. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.015, the department is required to adopt rules governing the issuance of permits for the introduction of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants into public waters. Additionally, Agriculture Code, Chapter 134, Regulation of Aquaculture, requires the department to adopt rules to carry out its duties under that chapter.

In November of 2006, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted rules to govern offshore aquaculture activities in Texas waters. As adopted, the rules created a definition for "outside waters." Staff is concerned that the use of the term "outside waters" is potentially confusing, since the same term and definition is used in the department's regulations governing the shrimp fishery. Therefore, the proposed amendment to §57.251 would replace the term "outside waters" and the use of OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) blocks terminology with the term "offshore aquaculture zone" (OAZ) and simplify the definition for clarity's sake.

The proposed amendments were published in the December 21, 2007, issue of the Texas Register (32 TexReg 9550). Staff will provide a summary of public comment at the time of the meeting.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to §§57.251 and 57.252, concerning Introduction of Fish, Shellfish, and Aquatic Plants, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the December 21, 2007, issue of the Texas Register (32 TexReg 9550)."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

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