Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.
January 26, 2011

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX  78744

Commissioner T. Dan Friedkin, Committee Chair
Ross Melinchuk, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
    Staff:  Carter Smith
  2. 2011-2012 Statewide Hunting Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff:  Jason Hardin
  3. 2011-2012 Statewide Fishing Proclamation — Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff:  Robin Riechers, Ken Kurzawski
  4. Revisions to Exotic Aquatic Species Rules and Fees – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 9)
    Staff:  Gary Saul
    [WITHDRAWN]
  5. Amendments to Exotic Species Rules, Chapter 57 – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff:  Ken Kurzawski
    [WITHDRAWN]

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter:  Carter Smith

Regulations Committee
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the
TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
January 26, 2011

I.      Executive Summary:  Executive Director Carter Smith 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 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan.  A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005.  In November 2009, the Commission approved a new Plan effective January 1, 2010.  The 2010 Plan is available on the TPWD web site.  Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Regulations Committee on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s goals, objectives and deliverables as they relate to the Regulations Committee.

The Plan consists of the following four goals:

  1. Practice, Encourage and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  2. Increase Access To and Participation In the Outdoors
  3. Educate, Inform and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation
  4. Employ Efficient, Sustainable and Sound Business Practices

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter:  Jason Hardin

Regulations Committee
2011-2012 Statewide Hunting Proclamation
January 26, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish proposed amendments to the Statewide Hunting Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed amendments:

  • close the season for Eastern turkey in Cherokee, Delta, Gregg, Hardin, Houston, Hunt, Liberty, Montgomery, Rains, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Tyler, and Walker counties in response to low population and harvest numbers; 
  • alter the spring season for Eastern turkey to run from April 15 through May 14;
  • alter the composition for Rio Grande turkey during the spring season to include bearded hens;
  • clarify that MLD permits for mule deer are valid during the archery-only season for the take of mule deer by means of archery equipment.

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 Proclamation


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department, or TPWD) proposes amendments to §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDPs)—Mule Deer, and §65.64, concerning Turkey.

          The proposed amendment to §65.34 would stipulate that MLDPs for mule deer are valid during the archery-only seasons specified in §65.42(c) as well as during the general season. When the mule deer MLDP program was created in 2005, the department created a period of validity for the permits that was concurrent with the white-tailed deer season. In establishing that period of validity, the department did not intend to prevent the hunting of mule deer by means of archery equipment during the archery-only seasons established under §65.42(c). The proposed amendment would clarify that MLDPs for mule deer are valid during the archery-only open season; however, the means of take is limited to lawful archery equipment.

         The proposed amendment to §65.34 also would clarify that a harvest recommendation for mule deer could be restricted to bucks or antlerless deer. The current rule provides that a harvest recommendation specify “a harvest quota for both buck and antlerless mule deer or antlerless mule deer only.” The proposed amendment would reword the provision to read “a harvest quota for buck and/or antlerless mule deer.” The change is nonsubstantive.

         The proposed amendment to §65.64 would close the season for Eastern Turkey in Cherokee, Delta, Gregg, Hardin, Houston, Hunt, Liberty, Montgomery, Rains, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Tyler and Walker counties in response to low population and harvest numbers. Closure is necessary for the resumption and success of stocking efforts.

         The proposed amendment to §65.64 also would alter the spring season dates for the take of Eastern turkey. The current season runs from April 1 to April 30. The proposed new season would open April 15 and close May 14. The change is intended to prevent harvest until the majority of hens have begun incubating, which is expected to result in higher breeding success and a reduction in accidental harvest of hens. The change will also allow harvest during the second peak in gobbling activity, which is expected to result in greater hunter satisfaction.

         The proposed amendment to §65.64 also would alter the bag composition during the spring season for Rio Grande turkey in all counties with a bag limit of four turkeys. The current bag composition for turkey during the spring season is gobblers only. The department has determined that the Rio Grande turkey population in Texas is large and stable. Since bearded hens are estimated to constitute less than 5% of the total hen population, allowing harvest of bearded hens during the spring season would not have a negative impact on the population and would allow for the harvest of surplus hens.  Another dimension of the proposed amendment would be to reduce accidental illegal harvest. Under the current bag composition, a hunter who takes a bearded hen by mistake (thinking that because it is bearded, it is a gobbler) has committed an illegal act, albeit by accident. The proposed amendment would have the additional benefit of making such harvest legal.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, 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. Wolf 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 the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the wildlife resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

         (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small and micro-businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

         The department has determined that the proposed rule will not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses.  The proposed amendments to §65.34 and §65.64 affect the regulation of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest mule deer and turkey, respectively. The proposed amendments would not directly regulate any business and would not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; affect sales, profits, or market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services by small businesses or microbusinesses. Therefore, the department therefore has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (C) 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.

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744.  Comments may also be submitted through the department’s Internet web site.

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

         The amendments are also proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42 which allows the department to issue tags for animals during each year or season.

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42 and Chapter 61.

         §65.34. Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP)—Mule Deer.

                 (a) MLDPs for mule deer may be issued only to a landowner who has a current wildlife management plan (WMP) in accordance with subsection (b) of this section that specifies a harvest quota for [both] buck and/or [and] antlerless mule deer [or antlerless mule deer only]. A WMP is not valid unless it is:

                         (1) consistent with Parks and Wildlife Code, §§61.053 and 61.056; and

                         (2) signed by a Wildlife Division biologist or technician authorized to write wildlife management plans. A WMP is valid for one year following the date of such signature.

                 (b) MLDP issuance for mule deer shall be determined by the WMP as follows. MLDPs shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:

                         (1) deer population data for both the current year and the two immediately preceding years;

                         (2) deer harvest data from the immediately preceding two years; and

                         (3) at least three recommended habitat improvements.

                 (c) An MLDP issued under this section permits the take of antlerless and/or buck mule deer, as specified on the permit. An MLDP issued under this paragraph is valid:

                         (1) only on the property for which it is issued (as described in the WMP); and

                         (2) during the archery-only open season; however, the lawful means of take is restricted to lawful archery equipment only; and

                         (3) from the first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January, during which time any lawful means may be used.

                 (d) There is no bag limit for antlerless deer on properties for which antlerless permits have been issued.

                 (e) There is no bag limit for buck deer on properties for which buck permits have been issued.

                 (f) If MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for a property, each antlerless deer harvested on the property must be immediately tagged with a valid MLDP antlerless permit. If MLDP buck permits have been issued for a property, each buck deer harvested on the property must be immediately tagged with a valid MLDP buck permit. If an appropriate MLDP is not attached immediately at the time of kill, the person who killed the deer shall immediately take the carcass to a location on the property where an appropriate MLDP shall be attached.

                 (g) If a landowner in possession of MLDPs does not wish to abide by the harvest quota or habitat management practices specified by the WMP, the landowner must return all MLDPs to the department no later than one day prior to the date that the permits are valid under subsection (c) of this section.

                 (h) In the event that unforeseeable developments such as floods, droughts, or other natural disasters make the attainment of recommended habitat management practices or harvest goals impractical or impossible, the department may, on a case-by-case basis, waive the requirements of this section.

                 (i) The department reserves the right to deny further issuance of MLDPs to a landowner who exceeds the harvest quota specified by the WMP or who does not otherwise abide by the WMP. A property for which the department denies further permit issuance under this subsection is ineligible to receive MLDPs for a period of three years from the date of denial.

                 (j) MLDP requests received by the department before August 15 of each year shall be approved or denied by November 1 of the same year.

         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

         The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life ay be hunted, taken, or possessed.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

         §65.64. Turkey.

                 (a) The annual bag limit for Rio Grande and Eastern turkey, in the aggregate, is four, no more than one of which may be an Eastern turkey.

                 (b) Rio Grande Turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Rio Grande turkey shall be as follows.

                         (1) Fall seasons and bag limits:

                                  (A) In Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90), LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina (south of U.S. Highway 90), Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (in that southeastern portion located both south of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Spur 239), Webb, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a fall general open season.

                                          (i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the third Sunday in January.

                                          (ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens.

                                  (B) In Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties, there is a fall general open season.

                                          (i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the last Sunday in February.

                                          (ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, either sex.

                                  (C) In Archer, Armstrong, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney (north of U.S. Highway 90), Knox, Lipscomb, Lampasas, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina (north of U.S. Highway 90), Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Real, Roberts, Runnels, Sutton, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde (north of U.S. Highway 90), Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, Val Verde (that portion located north of U.S. Highway 90; and that portion located both south of U.S. Highway 90 and west of Spur 239), and Young counties, there is a fall general open season.

                                  (i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

                                  (ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, either sex.

                         (2) Archery-only season and bag limits. In all counties where there is a general fall season for turkey there is an open season during which turkey may be taken only as provided for in §65.11(2) and (3) of this title (relating to Means and Methods).

                                  (A) Open season: from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days.

                                  (B) Bag limit: in any given county, the annual bag limit is as provided by this section for the fall general season in that county.

                         (3) Spring season and bag limits.

                                  (A) In Archer, Armstrong, Baylor, Bell, Borden, Bosque, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Ellis, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Glasscock, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Johnson, Jones, Kent, King, Knox, Lampasas, Lipscomb, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Roberts, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wise, and Young counties, there is a spring general open season.

                                          (i) Open season: Saturday closest to April 1 for 44 consecutive days.

                                          (ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens[only].

                                  (B) In Aransas, Atascosa, Bandera, Bee, Bexar, Blanco, Brewster, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Comal, Crockett, DeWitt, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Hidalgo, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, Pecos, Real, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Webb, Willacy, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a spring general open season.

                                          (i) Open season: Saturday closest to March 18 for 44 consecutive days.

                                          (ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens[only].

                                  (C) In Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, and Milam counties, there is a spring general open season.

                                          (i) Open season: from April 1 through April 30.

                                          (ii) Bag limit: one turkey, gobblers only.

                         (4) Special Youth-Only Seasons. Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt during the seasons established by this subsection.

                                  (A) There shall be a special youth-only fall general hunting season in all counties where there is a fall general open season.

                                          (i) open season: the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately preceding the first Saturday in November, and the third weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in January.

                                          (ii) bag limit: as specified for individual counties in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

                                  (B) There shall be special youth-only spring general open hunting seasons for Rio Grande turkey in the counties listed in paragraph (3)(A) and (B) of this subsection.

                                          (i) open seasons: the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately preceding the first day of the general open spring season and the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately following the close of the general open spring season.

                                          (ii) bag limit: as specified for individual counties in paragraph (3) of this subsection.

                 (c) Eastern turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Eastern turkey shall be as follows. In Angelina, Bowie, Brazoria, Camp, Cass, [Cherokee, Delta,] Fannin, Fort Bend, Franklin, Grayson, [Gregg, Hardin,] Harrison, Hopkins, [Houston, Hunt,] Jasper, Lamar, [Liberty,] Marion, Matagorda, [Montgomery,] Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, [Rains,] Red River, [Rusk,] Sabine, San Augustine, [San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith,] Titus, Trinity, [Tyler,] Upshur, [Walker,] Wharton, and Wood counties, there is a spring season during which both Rio Grande and Eastern turkey may be lawfully hunted.

                         (1) Open season: from April 15 through May 14[April 1 for 30 consecutive days].

                         (2) Bag limit (both species combined): one turkey, gobbler only.

                         (3) In the counties listed in this subsection:

                                  (A) it is unlawful to hunt turkey by any means other than a shotgun, lawful archery equipment, or crossbows;

                                  (B) it is unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take turkeys by the aid of baiting, or on or over a baited area; and

                                  (C) all turkeys harvested during the open season must be registered at designated check stations within 24 hours of the time of kill. Harvested turkeys may be field dressed but must otherwise remain intact.

                 (d) In all counties not listed in subsection (b) or (c) of this section, the season is closed for hunting turkey.

         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


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenters:  Robin Riechers
Ken Kurzawski

Regulations Committee
Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations
January 26, 2011

I.      Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish proposed changes to the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed amendments would:

  • Implement regulations on two impoundments that are soon to be opened to the public, Wheeler Branch (Somervell County) and Lake Kyle (Hays County);
  • Alter catfish regulations on Kirby Reservoir (Taylor County) and Lake Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith counties);
  • Alter bass regulations on Lake Alan Henry (Garza County);
  • Standardize harvest regulations on waters shared with Louisiana (Toledo Bend, Caddo reservoirs);
  • Alter harvest regulations for spotted seatrout;
  • Clarify regulations governing the retention of bycatch by captain and crew on licensed commercial shrimp boats;
  • Correct typographical errors regarding gag grouper and snook.

II.    Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking fisheries resources for recreational purposes is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61 and 67.  Statutory authority to regulate commercial fisheries is delegated to the Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 47 and 66.  The proposed rules are based upon suggestions from the public, 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 – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Commercial and Recreational Fishing Rules
  2. Exhibit B – Proposed Bycatch Retention Rule

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL
AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATIONS
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.973, 57.981, and 57.992 concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

         The amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means, and Methods, would add Wheeler Branch to the list of reservoirs where means of take is limited to pole-and-line only. Wheeler Branch is a new impoundment. Following initial stocking, restricting methods to pole-and-line only is necessary to allow stocked fish to develop.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would establish harvest regulations on Wheeler Branch. Wheeler Branch is a new, 180-acre impoundment in Somervell County that will open for fishing September 1, 2011. As part of the management plan to provide and maintain quality angling, the proposed amendment would implement a 14-21 inch slot length limit for largemouth bass; an 18-inch minimum length limit for smallmouth bass; and a five-fish per day bag limit for black bass (combined) including no more than three smallmouth bass and only one largemouth bass 21 inches or greater.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would alter harvest regulations for catfish on Kirby Reservoir (Taylor County) and Lake Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith counties). Catfish are popular sportfish in both of these reservoirs. However, channel catfish populations in both reservoirs exhibit high abundance but poor size distribution and growth. The proposed amendment would alter the current harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish (12-inch minimum length, 25-fish daily bag limit) by eliminating the minimum length and implementing a 50-fish daily bag limit, of which only five blue and/or channel catfish 20 inches or greater in length could be retained per day. The proposed amendment is necessary to liberalize harvest regulations for small channel catfish to reduce intra-specific competition and improve growth and size distribution, and the restrict the harvest of catfish larger than 20 inches in order to maintain and enhance production of quality size fish.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would establish harvest regulations for largemouth and black bass on Lake Kyle in Hays County. Lake Kyle is a 12-acre impoundment of Plum Creek located in the City of Kyle. The lake is within a park that is being developed by the City of Kyle but is not yet open to the public. Restricted public access is anticipated in 2011, with full public access anticipated in July, 2012. The department plans to intensively manage this water body to enhance and protect the largemouth bass population. The proposed amendment would implement a 14-21 inch slot length limit for largemouth bass and a five-fish daily bag limit for black bass (combined), including only one largemouth bass of 21 inches or greater.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would alter harvest regulations for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass on Lake Alan Henry in Garza County. Lake Alan Henry is located southeast of Lubbock. The initial stocking of the reservoir consisted of largemouth, spotted, and smallmouth bass. Although spotted bass have been successfully established, few fish over 18 inches have been collected and smallmouth bass have not become established. To allow additional harvest of smaller spotted bass while still protecting larger spotted bass, and to simplify regulations, the proposed amendment would implement a combination regulation of no minimum length limit for largemouth bass or spotted bass; a five-fish daily bag limit; a daily retention limit of no more than two largemouth or spotted bass 18 inches or greater; and a 14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag limit for smallmouth bass.

The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would standardize harvest regulations on Texas/Louisiana shared waters. Department have been negotiating with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff to discuss standardization of harvest regulations on the shared waters of Toledo Bend and Caddo reservoirs. The proposed amendments would modify harvest regulations for catfish on both reservoirs, for largemouth bass and white bass on Caddo, and for crappie on Toledo Bend. The proposed amendment is intended to make compliance and enforcement uniform in both Texas and Louisiana jurisdictions, which should reduce potential angler confusion.

         The proposed amendments to §57.981 and §57.992 would clarify that only natural bait may be used when fishing for red snapper by means of a circle hook and correct typographical errors concerning the minimum length limit for gag grouper and snook. In 2007, the department restricted the means for taking red snapper to pole-and-line angling using only circle hooks. The intent of the proposed amendment was to make state rules consistent with rules in federal waters in order to eliminate the possibility of differential enforcement. Federal rules require circle hooks to be used only when fishing for red snapper with natural bait. The proposed amendments clarify that only natural bait may be used to fish for red snapper with circle hooks.

         In 2010 the department restructured hunting and fishing regulations to separate hunting rules from fishing rules and recreational fishing rules from commercial fishing rules. In the process, two typographical errors were introduced, indicating that the minimum length limit for gag grouper is 37 inches and the minimum length limit for snook is 22 inches. The proposed amendments to §57.981 and §57.992 would rectify the errors by reflecting the actual minimum length limit of 22 inches for gag grouper and 24 inches for snook.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Ken Kurzawski, Program Director, Inland Fisheries Division, 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 administering or enforcing the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the fisheries resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

         (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

          The department has determined that the proposed rules will not directly affect small businesses and/or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (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 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 proposal may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski (Inland Fisheries) at (512) 389-4591, e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.state.tx.us; Art Morris (Coastal Fisheries) at (361) 825-3356, e-mail: art.morris@tpwd.state.tx; or Robert Goodrich (Law Enforcement) at (512) 389-4853, e-mail: robert.goodrich@tpwd.state.tx.us. Comments may also be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5. Statutory Authority

         The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life ay be hunted, taken, or possessed; and §67.004, which requires the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61 and 67.

         §57.973. Devices, Means and Methods.

                 (a) In fresh water only, it is unlawful to fish with more than 100 hooks on all devices combined.

                 (b) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line only in:

                         (1) community fishing lakes; however, on community fishing lakes that are not within or part of a state park, no person may employ more than two devices (i.e., poles or lines) at the same time;

                         (2) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks;

                         (3) Lake Pflugerville (Travis County);

                         (4) the North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam; [and]

                         (5) the South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam; and

                         (6) Wheeler Branch (Somervell County).

                 (c) – (f) (No change.)

         §57.981. Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

                 (a) The possession limit does not apply to fish in the possession of or stored by a person who has an invoice or sales ticket showing the name and address of the seller, number of fish by species, date of the sale, and other information required on a sales ticket or invoice.

                 (b) There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game or non-game fish, except as provided in this subchapter.

                         (1) Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit on game and non-game fish except as otherwise provided in this subchapter.

                         (2) For flounder, the possession limit is the daily bag limit.

                         (3) The bag limit for a guided fishing party is equal to the total number of persons in the boat licensed to fish or otherwise exempt from holding a license minus each fishing guide and fishing guide deckhand multiplied by the bag limit for each species harvested.

                         (4) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the statewide daily bag and length limits shall be as follows.

Figure: 31 TAC §57.981(b)(4)
Species Daily Bag Minimum Length
(Inches)
Maximum Length (Inches)
Amberjack, greater. 1 34 No limit
Bass: Largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and Guadalupe bass. 5 (in any combination)    
Largemouth and Smallmouth bass.   14 No limit
Bass, striped, its hybrids, and subspecies. 5 (in any combination) 18 No limit
Bass, white. 25 10 No limit
Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids, and subspecies. 25 (in any combination) 12 No limit
Catfish, flathead. 5 18 No limit
Catfish, gafftopsail. No limit 14 No limit
Cobia. 2 37 No limit
Crappie: white and black crappie, their hybrids, and subspecies. 25 (in any combination) 10 No limit
Drum, black. 5 14 30*
*Special Regulation: One black drum over 52 inches may be retained per day as part of the five-fish bag limit.
Drum, red. 3* 20 28*
*Special Regulation: During a license year, one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly executed Red Drum Tag, a properly executed Exempt Red Drum Tag or with a properly executed Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag and one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly executed Bonus Red Drum Tag. Any fish retained under authority of a Red Drum Tag, an Exempt Red Drum Tag, a Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag, or a Bonus Red Drum Tag may be retained in addition to the daily bag and possession limit as stated in this section.
Flounder: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies. 5* 14 No limit
*Special Regulation: During the month of November, lawful means are restricted to pole-and-line only and the bag and possession limit for flounder is two.
Gar, alligator.* 1 No limit No limit
*Special Regulation: Between May 1 and May 31 no person shall take alligator gar in that portion of Lake Texoma encompassed within the boundaries of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge or that portion of Lake Texoma from the U.S. 377 bridge (Willis Bridge) upstream to the IH 35 bridge.
Grouper, gag. 2 4 22[37]
Grouper, goliath. 0    
Mackerel, king. 2 27 No limit
Mackerel, Spanish. 15 14 No limit
Marlin, blue. No limit 131 No limit
Marlin, white. No limit 86 No limit
Mullet: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies. No limit No limit *
*Special Regulation: During the period October through January, no mullet more than 12 inches in length may be taken from public waters or possessed on board a vessel.
Sailfish. No limit 84 No limit
Saugeye. 3 18 No limit
Shark: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies other than Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead sharks. 1 64* No limit
Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead sharks. 1 24 No limit
*Special Regulation: The take of the following species of sharks from the waters of this state is prohibited and they may not be possessed on board a vessel at any time: Atlantic angel, Basking, Bigeye sand tiger, Bigeye sixgill, Bigeye thresher, Bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, Dusky, Galapagos, Longfin mako, Narrowtooth, Night, Sandbar, Sand tiger, Sevengill, Silky, Sixgill, Smalltail, Whale, and White.
Sheepshead. 5 15 No limit
Snapper, lane. No limit 8 No limit
Snapper, red. 4* 15 No limit
*Special Regulation: Red snapper may be taken using pole and line, but it is unlawful to use any kind of hook other than a circle hook baited with natural bait.
Snapper, vermilion. No limit 10 No limit
Snook. 1 24[22] 28
Tarpon. 1 85 No limit
Triggerfish, gray. 20 16 No limit
Trout: rainbow and brown trout, their hybrids, and subspecies. 5 (in any combination) No limit No limit
Tripletail. 3 17 No limit
Walleye. 5* No limit No limit
*Special Regulation: Two walleye of less than 16 inches may be retained per day.

(c) Exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits shall be as follows:

 (1) Freshwater species.

Figure: 31 TAC §57.981(c)(1)
Species and Location (County) Daily Bag Minimum Length
(Inches)
Special Regulation
Bass: largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and Guadalupe bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
In all waters in the Lost Maples State Natural Area (Bandera). 0 No limit Catch and release only.
[Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine and Shelby).] [8 (in any combination with spotted bass)] [14] [Possession limit is 10.]
Bass: largemouth and spotted.      
Lakes Alan Henry 5 No limit It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of less than 18 inches in length.
Caddo [Lake]  (Marion and Harrison). 8 (in any combination with spotted bass) 14 — 18 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain bass between 14 and 18 inches. No more than 4 bass 18 inches or longer may be retained. Possession limit is 10.
Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine and Shelby). 8 (in any combination) 14 (largemouth bass); no limit for spotted bass. Possession limit is 10.
Bass: largemouth.      
Conroe (Montgomery and Walker), Fort Phantom Hill (Jones), Granbury (Hood), Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, Young), Proctor (Comanche), and Ratcliff (Houston). 5 16  
Lake Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches). 5   It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass of 16 inches or greater in length. Largemouth bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained in a live well or other aerated holding device for purposes of weighing, but may not be removed from the immediate vicinity of the lake. After weighing, the bass must be released immediately back into the lake unless the department has instructed that the bass be kept for donation to the ShareLunker Program.
Lakes Aquilla (Hill) , Bellwood (Smith), Braunig (Bexar), Bright (Williamson), Brushy Creek (Williamson), Bryan (Brazos), Calaveras (Bexar), Casa Blanca (Webb), Cleburne State Park (Johnson), Cooper (Delta and Hopkins), Fairfield (Freestone), Gilmer (Upshur), Jacksonville (Cherokee), Marine Creek Reservoir (Tarrant), Meridian State Park (Bosque), Old Mount Pleasant City (Titus), Pflugerville (Travis), Rusk State Park (Cherokee), and Welsh (Titus). 5 18  
Nelson Park Lake (Taylor) and Buck Lake (Kimble). 0 No limit Catch and release and only.
[Lakes Alan Henry (Garza) and] O.H. Ivie Reservoir (Coleman, Concho, and Runnels). 5 No limit It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of less than 18 inches in length.
Purtis Creek State Park Lake (Henderson and Van Zandt), and Raven (Walker). 0 No limit Catch and release only except that any bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained in a live well or other aerated holding device for purposes of weighing, but may not be removed from the immediate vicinity of the lake. After weighing, the bass must be released immediately back into the lake unless the department has instructed that the bass be kept for donation to the ShareLunker Program.
Lakes Bridgeport (Jack and Wise), Burke-Crenshaw (Harris), Caddo (Marion and Harrison), Davy Crockett (Fannin) , Grapevine (Denton and Tarrant), Georgetown (Williamson), Madisonville (Madison), San Augustine City (San Augustine), and Sweetwater (Nolan). 5 14 — 18 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 18 inches in length.
Lakes Athens (Henderson), Bastrop (Bastrop), Buescher State Park (Bastrop), Houston County (Houston), Joe Pool (Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant), Kyle (Hays), Mill Creek (Van Zandt), Murvaul (Panola), Pinkston (Shelby), Timpson (Shelby), Town (Travis), [and] Walter E. Long (Travis)and Wheeler Branch (Somervell). 5 14 — 21 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 21 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 21 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lakes Fayette County (Fayette), Gibbons Creek Reservoir (Grimes), and Monticello (Titus). 5 14 — 24 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 24 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lake Fork (Wood, Rains and Hopkins). 5 16 — 24 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 16 and 24 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Bass: smallmouth.      
Lakes O. H. Ivie (Coleman, Concho, and Runnels), [Alan Henry (Garza), and] Devil’s River (Val Verde) from State Highway 163 bridge crossing near Juno downstream to Dolan Falls and Wheeler Branch (Somervell).  3 18  
Lake Meredith (Hutchinson, Moore, and Potter). 3 12 — 15 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain smallmouth bass between 12 and 15 inches in length.
[Bass: spotted.]      
[Lake Alan Henry (Garza).] [3] [18]
[Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine and Shelby).] [8 (in any combination with largemouth bass)] [No limit] [Possession Limit is 10.]
Bass: striped and white bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine and Shelby). 5 No limit No more than 2 striped bass 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 10 (in any combination) No limit No more than 2 striped or hybrid striped bass 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day. Striped or hybrid striped bass caught and placed on a stringer, in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released. Possession limit is 20.
Red River (Grayson) from Denison Dam downstream to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson). 5 (in any combination) No limit Striped bass caught and placed on a stringer, in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released.
Lake Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, Young) and Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. Road 3278 bridge. 2 (in any combination) 18  
Bass: white.      
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Texoma (Cooke and Grayson) and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 25 No limit  
Carp: common.      
Lady Bird Lake (Travis). No limit No limit It is unlawful to retain more than one common carp of 33 inches or longer per day.
Catfish: blue.      
Lakes Lewisville (Denton), Richland-Chambers (Freestone and Navarro), and Waco (McLennan). 25 (in any combination with channel catfish) 30-45-inch slot limit It is unlawful to retain blue catfish between 30 and 45 inches in length. No more than one blue catfish 45 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker). 50 (in any combination) 12  
Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. Road 3278 bridge. 10 (in any combination) 12 No more than 2 channel or blue catfish 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Kirby (Taylor), Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith), and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby) 50 (in any combination) No Limit No more than 5 catfish 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day. Possession limit is 50.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 15 (in any combination) 12 No more than one blue catfish 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
North Concho River (Tom Green) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam, South Concho River (Tom Green) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam. 5 (in any combination) No limit  
Community fishing lakes. 5 (in any combination) No limit  
Bellwood (Smith), Dixieland (Cameron), and Tankersley (Titus). 5 (in any combination) 12  
Catfish: flathead.      
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson) and the Red River (Grayson) from Denison Dam to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson). 5 20  
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 10 18 Possession limit is 10.
Crappie: black and white crappie, their hybrids and subspecies.      
[Lake] Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 25[50] (in any combination) No limit[10] [Possession limit is 50.] From December 1[,] through the last day in February, there is no minimum length limit. All crappie caught during this period must be retained.
Lake Fork (Wood, Rains, and Hopkins) and Lake O’ The Pines (Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, and Upshur). 25 (in any combination) 10 From December 1, through the last day in February, there is no minimum length limit. All crappie caught during this period must be retained.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 37 (in any combination) 10 Possession limit is 50.
Drum, red.      
Lakes Braunig and Calaveras (Bexar), Coleto Creek Reservoir (Goliad and Victoria), Fairfield (Freestone), and Tradinghouse Creek (McLennan). 3 20 No maximum length limit.
Shad, gizzard and threadfin.      
The Trinity River below Lake Livingston in Polk and San Jacinto Counties. 500 (in any combination) No limit Possession limit 1,000 in any combination.
Trout: rainbow and brown trout, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Guadalupe River (Comal) from the second bridge crossing on the River Road upstream to the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. Road 306. 1 18  
Walleye.      
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 5 18  

 (2) Saltwater species.

Figure: 31 TAC §57.981(c)(2)
Species Daily Bag Minimum Length
(Inches)
Special
Regulation
Seatrout, spotted.      
All inside waters of the Lower Laguna Madre south of marker 21. 5* 15 25**
*Special Regulation: The daily bag limit of 5 is the possession limit allowed for spotted seatrout.
**Special Regulation: One spotted seatrout greater than 25 inches may be retained per day.
NOTICE: AT THE TIME THIS AGENDA ITEM WAS PREPARED, THE DEPARTMENT WAS STILL IN THE PROCESS OF CONDUCTING SCOPING MEETINGS REGARDING POTENTIAL CHANGES, IF ANY, TO SPOTTED SEATROUT HARVEST RULES. THE RESULTS OF THE SCOPING PROCESS AND THE STAFF RECOMMENDATION WILL BE PRESENTED AT THE TIME OF THE COMMISSION MEETING.

         §57.992. Bag. Length, and Possession Limits.

                 (a) The possession limit does not apply to fish in the possession of or stored by a person who has an invoice or sales ticket showing the name and address of the seller, number of fish by species, date of the sale, and other information required on a sales ticket or invoice.

                 (b) There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game or non-game fish, except as otherwise provided in this subchapter.

                         (1) Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit on game and non-game fish except as provided in this subchapter.

                         (2) For flounder, the possession limit is the daily bag limit.

                         (3) The bag limit for a guided fishing party is equal to the total number of persons in the boat licensed to fish or otherwise exempt from holding a license minus each fishing guide and fishing guide deckhand multiplied by the bag limit for each species harvested.

                         (4) The statewide daily bag and length limits for commercial fishing shall be as follows.

Figure: 31 TAC §57.992(b)(4)
Species and Location Daily Bag Minimum Length (Inches) Maximum Length (Inches)
Amberjack, greater. 1 34 No limit
Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids, and subspecies. 25 (in any combination)* 14 No limit
*Special Regulation: In Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties), the daily bag limit for channel and blue catfish is 50 in any combination.  In lakes lying totally within a state park and community fishing lakes, the daily bag limit for channel and blue catfish is five in any combination.
Catfish, gafftopsail. No limit 14 No limit
Cobia. 2 37 No limit
Drum, black. 5 14 30*
*Special Regulations: The bag and possession limits for black drum do not apply to the holder of a valid Commercial Finfish Fisherman’s License.
Flounder: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies. 30* 14 No limit
*Special Regulation: The daily bag and possession limit for the holder of a valid Commercial Finfish Fisherman’s license is 30 flounder, except on board a licensed commercial shrimp boat. During the month of November, lawful means are restricted to pole-and-line only and the bag and possession limit for flounder is two.
Gar, alligator.* 1 No limit No limit
*Special Regulation: Between May 1 and May 31 no person shall take alligator gar in that portion of Lake Texoma encompassed within the boundaries of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge or that portion of Lake Texoma from the U.S. 377 bridge (Willis Bridge) upstream to the IH 35 bridge.
Grouper, gag. 2 4 22[37]
Grouper, goliath. 0    
Mackerel, king. 2 27 No limit
Mackerel, Spanish. 15 14 No limit
Mullet: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies. No limit No limit *
*Special regulation: During the period October through January, no mullet more than 12 inches in length may be taken from public waters or possessed on board a vessel.
Shad: gizzard and threadfin. No limit No limit No limit*
*In the Trinity River below Lake Livingston in Polk and San Jacinto counties, the daily bag for shad is 500 and the possession limit is 1,000 fish in any combination.
Shark: all species, their hybrids, and subspecies other than Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead sharks. 1 64* No limit
Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead sharks. 1 24 No limit
*Special Regulation: The take of the following species of sharks from the waters of this state is prohibited and they may not be possessed on board a vessel at any time: Atlantic angel, Basking, Bigeye sand tiger, Bigeye sixgill, Bigeye thresher, Bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, Dusky, Galapagos, Longfin mako, Narrowtooth, Night, Sandbar, Sand tiger, Sevengill, Silky, Sixgill, Smalltail, Whale, and White.
Sheepshead. 5* 15* No limit
*Special Regulation: The bag and possession limits for black drum and sheepshead do not apply to the holder of a valid Commercial Finfish Fisherman’s License.
Snapper, lane. No limit 8 No limit
Snapper, red. 4* 15 No limit
*Special Regulation: Red snapper may be taken using pole and line, but it is unlawful to use any kind of hook other than a circle hook baited with natural bait.
Snapper, vermilion. No limit 10 No limit
Triggerfish, gray. 20 16 No limit
Tripletail. 3 17 No limit

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

         Issued in Austin, Texas on


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit B

RETENTION OF BYCATCH ON LICENSED COMMERCIAL SHRIMP BOATS
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1.  Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes an amendment to §58.160, concerning Taking or Attempting to Take Shrimp (Shrimping) — General Rules. The proposed amendment would clarify the provisions governing the retention of finfish and other aquatic life on board a licensed commercial shrimp boat.

         Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.016, provides that when commercial fishing plates are on board a vessel, all commercial regulations apply to that vessel and the persons on board. Parks and Wildlife Code, §77.0352(a) provides that aquatic products other than shrimp may be sold by the owner of a licensed commercial shrimp boat or the holder of a commercial shrimp boat captain’s license, provided the aquatic products were taken incidental to lawful shrimping. Section §77.0352(e) provides that no person, including a crew member of licensed commercial shrimp boat, may sell the catch of shrimp or other aquatic products.

         The current rule allows the retention of a catch of finfish or other aquatic life on board a licensed commercial shrimp boat, provided the weight of that catch does not exceed 50% of the weight of the trawl catch of shrimp and the composition of the catch complies with “the recreational bag limit established for those species.” The department has determined that the wording of the current rule does not explicitly identify those persons who are allowed to retain finfish or other aquatic life and creates the possibility for misinterpretation by referring to “recreational” limits and by not explicitly stating that the retention limit applies to the boat and not individually to persons aboard the boat.

         The proposed amendment would repeat statutory provisions by explicitly stating that only the owner of the commercial shrimp boat or the holder of a commercial shrimp boat captain’s license is authorized to retain a catch of finfish or other aquatic life on board a commercial shrimp boat. The amendment would also clarify that the retention limit is an aggregate limit that applies collectively to all persons authorized to retain finfish and other aquatic life aboard a licensed commercial shrimp boat. Although the current rule states, “On board a licensed commercial shrimp boat a catch of finfish or other aquatic life, in any combination, may be retained…,” that statement could be misconstrued to mean that the owner of the boat and each person aboard the boat with a captain’s license is entitled to retain finfish or other aquatic life in the amount specified in the rule (50% of the weight of the shrimp catch), since the rule does not identify to whom it applies. The proposed amendment also removes the reference to “recreational limits” and instead states that the composition of the retained catch must comply with the bag limits established by 31 TAC §57.981. Section 57.981 establishes restrictions on the recreational take of finfish and other aquatic life, but by removing the reference to “recreational limit” the department intends to eliminate the potential that the word “recreational” could be interpreted to mean that recreational fishing is permitted aboard a commercial shrimp boat.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Robin Riechers, Coastal Fisheries Division Director, 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 government 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 rules that are clear and easily understood.

         (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. The department has determined that there will be no direct economic effect on small or micro-businesses or persons required to comply as a result of the proposed rule. Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (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 rule.

         (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 rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Jeremy Leitz, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4333, e-mail: jeremy.leitz@tpwd.state.tx.us.  Comments may also be submitted through the department’s Internet web site at www.tpwd.state.tx.us.

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life ay be hunted, taken, or possessed; and §67.004, which requires the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61 and 67.

         §58.160. Taking or Attempting to Take Shrimp (Shrimping) — General Rules.

                 (a) – (f) (No change.)

                 (g) Other aquatic life taken incidental to legal shrimping operations.

                         (1) Licensed Commercial Shrimp Boats.

                                  (A) Other aquatic life taken incidental to legal shrimping operations may not be retained except as provided in these rules.

                                  (B) On board a licensed commercial shrimp boat, a catch of finfish or other aquatic life may be retained in any combination not to exceed 50% by weight of the total weight of the trawl catch of shrimp.

                                          (i) Finfish or other aquatic life may be retained under the provisions of this subparagraph only by:

                                                   (I) the holder of the current commercial shrimp boat license for that vessel; and/or

                                                   (II) the holder of a current commercial shrimp boat captain’s license on board the vessel.

                                          (ii) Finfish or other aquatic life retained under the provisions of this subparagraph must comply with the bag and length limits established for that species under §57.981 of this title (relating to Bag, Possession, and Length Limits), if applicable.

                                          (iii) A catch of finfish or other aquatic life retained under this subparagraph may be shared among persons authorized under clause (i) of this subparagraph to retain finfish or other aquatic life, but no person or persons, singly or in the aggregate, may retain more than 50% by weight of the total trawl catch of shrimp by weight while on board a licensed commercial shrimp boat.

                                  [(B) On board a licensed commercial shrimp boat a catch of finfish or other aquatic life, in any combination, may be retained in an amount not to exceed 50% by weight of the total trawl catch of shrimp by weight.]

                                          [(i) Within the provision provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, species regulated by bag and size limits by proclamation of the Parks and Wildlife Commission may not be retained in numbers in excess of the recreational daily bag limit established for those species, and may not be retained in protected length limits established for those species.]

                                          (iv)[(ii)] From May 1 through September 30 of each year, in addition to the provision of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph:

                                                  (I) up to 1,500 live non-game fish, not regulated by bag or size limits, may be retained on board a licensed commercial bait-shrimp boat for bait purposes only; and

                                                   (II) up to 3,600 (300 dozen) Atlantic cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus) (also known as ribbonfish) may be retained on board a licensed commercial bait-shrimp boat for bait purposes only.

                         (2) Non-commercial shrimping. A person using an individual bait shrimp trawl for non-commercial purposes may retain for bait purposes only up to 200 non-game fish, not regulated by bag or size limits.

         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


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter:  Ken Kurzawski

[WITHDRAWN]
Regulations Committee
Amendments to Exotic Species Rules, Chapter 57
January 26, 2011






















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