Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Presenters:  Robin Riechers
Ken Kurzawski

Action
Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations
March 31, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  This item presents the proposed 2011-2012 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations for adoption.  The proposed amendments would:

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 increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the fisheries resources of the state.

At their January 2011 Regulations Committee meeting, staff was authorized to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment and action.  The proposed rules appeared in the February 25, 2011 issue of the Texas Register (36 TexReg 1233, 1235-1236).  A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

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

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to §§57.973, 57.974, 57.981, and 57.992 concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations and §58.160, concerning Taking or Attempting to Take Shrimp (Shrimping) — General Rules, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 25, 2011 issue of the Texas Register (36 TexReg 1233, 1235-1236).”

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Recreational and Commercial Fisheries Rules
  2. Exhibit B – Proposed Shrimping Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL
AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATIONS
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.973, 57.974, 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 amendment to §57.974, concerning Reservoir Boundaries, would modify the boundary for Toledo Bend Reservoir to facilitate understanding and enforcement of fishing harvest regulations on Texas/Louisiana shared waters. The current definition delineates U.S. Highway 84 as the upper boundary of Toledo Bend Reservoir for purposes of establishing harvest regulations on waters shared by Texas and Louisiana. The current use of a roadway, while convenient, omits a small portion of the reservoir that lies north of U.S. 84. Since the rules apply to all shared waters, the current reservoir boundary description would be altered to include all waters on the Texas/Louisiana border.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 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 §57.981 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 §57.981 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 §57.981 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. Spotted bass have been successfully established and fish under 18 inches are abundant; however, 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 §57.981 also would standardize harvest regulations on Texas/Louisiana shared waters. Department staff has been in contact with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff to discuss standardization of harvest regulations on the shared waters of Toledo Bend and Caddo reservoirs and the Sabine River from the Toledo Bend dam downstream to the Interstate Highway 10 bridge in Orange County.  The proposed amendments would modify harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish, and white and black crappie on all three water bodies; for largemouth and spotted bass, and white bass on Caddo; and for largemouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, and white bass on the Sabine River. Specific changes to existing harvest regulations on all three water bodies are: for blue and channel catfish: no minimum length limit and a 50-fish (in combination) daily bag, of which only five blue and/or channel catfish 20 inches or greater in length may be retained per day; for flathead catfish: an increase in the daily bag limit from five fish to 10 fish; for white and black crappie: removal of the minimum length limit; and on Toledo Bend only, a decrease in the daily bag limit from 50 to 25 and removal of the winter no-release restriction.  On the Sabine River below Toledo Bend Reservoir, current regulations would be modified to mirror harvest regulations for largemouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, and white bass that are in effect on Toledo Bend Reservoir.  On Caddo Lake, the existing daily bag limit for largemouth and spotted bass would be increased to eight, and the 14-18 inch slot length limit for largemouth bass would be modified to allow the harvest of no more than four largemouth bass 18 inches or larger.  Also, the existing 10-inch minimum length limit for white bass would be removed.  The proposed amendments are intended to maintain quality angling and make compliance and enforcement uniform in both Texas and Louisiana jurisdictions, which should reduce potential angler confusion. The department notes that adoption of the proposed amendments is contingent upon action by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; should Louisiana fail to implement the same harvest regulations, the regulations currently in effect would remain in effect.

         The proposed amendments to §57.981 and §57.992 also 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) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (C) 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.

         (D) 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.

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

         (F) 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; Jeremy Leitz (Coastal Fisheries) at (512) 389-4333, e-mail: jeremy.leitz@tpwd.state.tx.us; or Robert Goodrich (Law Enforcement) at (512) 389-4853, e-mail: robert.goodrich@tpwd.state.tx.us. Comments also may 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) (No change.)

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

                         (1) – (3) (No change.)

                         (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.)

            §57.974.  Reservoir Boundaries. Reservoir boundaries for daily bag, possession, and length limits.

  (1) – (19) (No change.)

               (20) Toledo Bend Reservoir in Newton, Sabine, and Shelby counties comprises all impounded waters of the Sabine River from the Toledo Bend Reservoir Dam upstream to the Texas/Louisiana state line[U.S. Highway 84].

         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; 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.

         §57.981. Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

                 (a) (No change.)

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

                         (1) – (3) (No change.)

                         (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 22[4] No limit[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.
Lake 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 largemouth bass 18 inches or longer may be retained. Possession limit is 10.
Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 8 (in any combination with spotted bass) 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.
Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and [Lake] Toledo Bend Reservoir (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), and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge. 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), Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge. 50 (in any combination) No Limit No more than five 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), and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge. 10 18 Possession limit is 10.
Crappie: black and white crappie, their hybrids and subspecies.
Caddo Lake (Harrison and Marion), [Lake] Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby) , and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge. 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) (No change.)

         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; 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.

         §57.992. Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

                 (a) (No change.)

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

                         (1) – (3) (No change.)

                         (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 22[4] No limit[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


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit B

SHRIMPING REGULATIONS
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) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

         (C) 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. Although most owners of a commercial shrimp boat or holders of a commercial shrimp boat captain’s license would likely be considered small or micro-businesses, the proposed rule is a clarification that does not alter any existing regulatory provision and therefore would not compel or mandate any action on the part of any entity, including small businesses or microbusinesses.  Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (D)  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.

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

         (F) 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 also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.

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; §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; and §77.007, which authorizes the commission to regulate the catching, possession, purchase, and sale of shrimp.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61, 67, and 77.

         §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 this section[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 provisions of[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


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