Wednesday, 9:00 am, January 23, 2008Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
- Land and Water Plan Update
Staff: Robert Cook
- 2008-2009 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation - Permission to Publish
- Changes in Hunting and Fishing Regulations
- Hunter Education Regulations - Reduce Minimum Age
- Amendments to the Statewide Fur-bearing Animal Proclamation (Action Item No. 6)
- Lengthening of Beaver Season
- Terminology Changes
- Controlled Exotic Snake Permits and Fees (Action Item No. 8)
Staff: David Sinclair
- Deer Breeder Permit Rule Amendments - Implementation of Legislation (H.B. 1308) (Action Item No. 9)
Staff: Clayton Wolf
- Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish or Aquatic Plants Rules
- Australian Redclaw
Staff: Phil Durocher
- Off-Shore Aquaculture Permit Rules - Clarification (Action Item No. 7)
Staff: Robin Riechers
Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Robert L. Cook
Land and Water Plan Update
I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Robert L. Cook will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency's efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the Plan).
II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In November 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. The Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Robert L. Cook will update the Regulations Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan's Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Regulations Committee.
The Plan consists of 8 Goals and a total of 56 Objectives. The Goals stated in the Plan are as follows:
- Goal 1: Improve access to the outdoors.
- Goal 2: Preserve, conserve, manage, operate, and promote agency sites for recreational opportunities, biodiversity, and the cultural heritage of Texas.
- Goal 3: Assist landowners in managing their lands for sustainable wildlife habitat consistent with their goals.
- Goal 4: Increase participation in hunting, fishing, boating and outdoor recreation.
- Goal 5: Enhance the quality of hunting, fishing, boating and outdoor recreation.
- Goal 6: Improve science, data collection and information dissemination to make informed management decisions.
- Goal 7: Maintain or improve water quality and quantity to support the needs of fish, wildlife and recreation.
- Goal 8: Continuously improve TPWD business management systems, business practices and work culture.
Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Ken Kurzawski
2008-09 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Permission to Publish
I. Executive Summary: This item apprises the committee of staff's recommendations for potential changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation for the 2008-2009 seasons.
II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61. The potential changes are based upon statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The potential changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.
Attachments - 1
- Exhibit A – Summary of Proposal
Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Summary of Proposal
- Anglers would be restricted to the use of only two lines or poles to take fish in those waters designated as Community Fishing Lakes. Currently anglers can use up to 100 hooks.
- Harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Lake Nacogdoches would be changed to a 16-inch maximum length limit and 5 fish daily bag. Only fish 24 inches or larger may be temporarily retained alive in a livewell to be either donated to the ShareLunker program, retained for weighing for a state record, or immediately released (if not accepted by the program). Current harvest regulations for largemouth bass consist of a 14-21 inch slot limit and a 5-fish daily bag limit.
- On Lakes Raven and Purtis Creek, the length limit for temporarily retaining largemouth bass for weighing in these catch-and-release lakes would be increased from 21-24 inches and references to lakeside weigh stations would be removed.
- Harvest regulations for common carp on Lady Bird Lake would be changed from the current no daily bag limit and minimum length limit to limiting the daily bag to one common carp 33 inches or larger per day. Harvest of common carp less than 33 inches would remain unrestricted.
- The 14-inch minimum length limit for spotted bass on Lake Texoma would be removed and changed to the statewide limit (no length limit).
- The harvest regulation exceptions (no daily bag or minimum length limit) for red drum on Lake Nasworthy would be removed. Harvest regulations would revert to statewide limits (20-inch minimum length limit and 28-inch maximum length limit and three fish daily bag).
- The harvest regulation exceptions (20-inch minimum length limit and no maximum limit) for red drum on Lake Colorado City would be removed. Harvest regulations would revert to statewide limits (20-inch minimum length limit and 28-inch maximum length limit and three fish daily bag).
- Regulations allowing the use of bowfishing gear to harvest catfish will expire at the end of August 2008 without Commission action. Staff will update the Commission on information collected since bowfishing for catfish was legalized in September 2006 and recommend that the Commission take no action and allow the rule to expire.
- Changes in the current red snapper and shark regulations will be considered to attain greater consistency between current federal regulations and state regulations.
- The ongoing fishery for menhaden in state waters will be reviewed and the possibility of closing state waters will be scoped.
- With regard to coastal fishing guides, the department is going to scope an item within the statewide process that may not require any regulatory changes. The item will consider the creation of a Texas Saltwater Certified Guides Program. The voluntary program would establish a certification program by the department which may include safety, angler ethics and various training to promote the protection of coastal natural resources.
- A nine-day, buck-only mule deer season would be implemented in Andrews (east of U.S. Highway 385), Martin, and Gaines counties. Under current rule, there is no open season for mule deer in Andrews (east of U.S. Highway 385), Martin, or Gaines counties. Implementing a nine-day, buck-only would offer increased hunter opportunity without adversely impacting mule deer reproduction or distribution. The literature suggests that the implementation of a buck-only season will not have any measurable impact on herd productivity or expansion; however, a measurable change in the age structure of bucks is anticipated as a result of harvest pressure on a previously unhunted population.
- A 16-day, buck-only season for mule deer would be implemented in Sherman and Hansford counties. Under current rule, there is no open season for mule deer in Sherman or Hansford counties. Each county has low-density populations of mule deer in pockets of suitable habitat. The literature suggests that the implementation of a buck-only season will not have any measurable impact on herd productivity or expansion; however, a measurable change in the age structure of bucks is anticipated as a result of harvest pressure on a previously unhunted population. Implementation of the proposal is expected to result in increased hunter opportunity with no measurable effect on reproduction or distribution of mule deer populations.
- The minimum draw weight for archery equipment would be eliminated. Under current rule, the minimum draw weight for compound bows, recurved bows, and longbows is 40 pounds. If the minimum draw weight is eliminated, staff believes that bowhunting would become more accessible to younger hunters and others who might have difficulty drawing a 40-pound bow.
- Proof-of-sex requirements for deer would be simplified. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, proof of sex (i.e., the head) must accompany a harvested deer until it reaches a final destination and has been finally processed, unless the hunter has obtained a signed statement from the landowner or a taxidermist. The proposed amendment would allow department-issued, sex-specific tags (Managed Lands Deer Permit, Landowner Assisted Management Plan Permit, etc.) to function as proof-of-sex in lieu of the head or signed statements.
- Pheasant season would open later. Under current rule, pheasant season in the Panhandle opens on the first Saturday in December and runs for 30 consecutive days. In Dallam, Hartley, Moore, Oldham, Potter, and Sherman counties, the deer season runs from the Saturday before Thanksgiving for 16 consecutive days, meaning that in those counties the deer and pheasant seasons overlap. The proposal would start the pheasant season the third Saturday in December in order to allow for independent enforcement of open seasons. The proposal has no biological implications.
- Reduction in the minimum age requirement for hunter-education certification would be implemented. The current minimum age for hunter-education certification is 12, which has been in effect since 1988. Staff recommends lowering the minimum age to 9 years of age to be consistent with the minimum age standards of the department's youth hunting program and similar laws in other states.
Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Phil Durocher
Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish,Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Rules
Regarding the Status of Australian Redclaw Crayfish Culture in Texas
I. Executive Summary: Staff will brief the Commission on the risk of Australian redclaw crayfish culture in Texas. Staff will also brief the Commission concerning the advantages of a non-prohibited species list.
II. Discussion:: In August 2006, the Commission adopted amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish or Aquatic Plants rules to allow the possession, culture and sale of one species in the family Parastacidae, Australian redclaw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus. This species can be possessed, cultured and sold in Texas by individuals with valid exotic species permits. At the November 2007 Commission meeting the Commission gave the staff permission to publish rules prohibiting all species of the Parastacidae except the redclaw. After some discussion, the staff was instructed to also prohibit Australian redclaw crayfish if they are a potential threat in Texas. In response, staff has prepared an analysis to evaluate any risks of producing this species in Texas. The department currently publishes a list of prohibited fish, shellfish and aquatic plants. Any exotic species such as the Australian redclaw crayfish that is not on this list may be legally possessed in Texas. This could result in serious harm to our native aquatic resources if accidentally or intentionally released. Staff will discuss the advantages in publishing a non-prohibited fish, shellfish and aquatic plants list.
III. Recommendation:: Staff is proposing to prohibit the possession of all crayfish in the family Parastacidae including the Australian redclaw crayfish Cherax quadricacrinatus.