Presenter: Phil Durocher

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Action
Amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Rules
March 2008

I. Executive Summary: This item presents proposed amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants rules that will prohibit the possession of silver carp, black carp and all crayfish in the family Parastacidae and prohibit the removal of live grass carp from permitted public waters.

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.

The proposed amendment to §57.112, concerning General Rules, would prohibit the removal of live grass carp from public waters where grass carp have been placed under a permit issued by the department. The removal of grass carp from waters where they have been released under a permit reduces the biological goal of controlling aquatic vegetation and the cost effectiveness of that control effort.

The possession, culture and sale of silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, and black carp, Mylopharyngodon piceus, by individuals with valid exotic species permits is currently allowed under §57.113 (d). On July 10, 2007 and October 18, 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added all forms of live silver and black carp to their list of injurious fish, mollusks, and crustaceans under the Lacey Act. Consequently, staff is proposing that the department prohibit the possession of silver and black carp in Texas.

Currently under §57.113 (n), the possession, culture and sale of Southern hemisphere crayfish in the family Parastacidae in Texas is allowed for individuals with valid exotic species permits. Staff determined from a risk analysis that Australian redclaw crayfish, a member of the family Parastacidae, could cause serious harm to our native aquatic resources if accidentally or intentionally released and is proposing to prohibit the possession of all species in the family Parastacidae in Texas.

Staff received permission at the January 2008 meeting of the Regulations Committee to publish the proposed amendments in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed amendments were published in the February 22, 2008 issue of the Texas Register (33 TexReg 1492). Staff will provide a summary of public comment at the time of the meeting.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends the commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants rules as published in the February 22, 2008 issue of the Texas Register (33 TexReg 1492)."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Rule Proposal

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