Redfish Bay State Scientific Area

Redfish Bay State Scientific Area Regulation

"Within the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, no person shall cause or allow any rooted seagrass plant to be uprooted or dug out from the bay bottom by a submerged propeller, except as may be permitted by a coastal lease issued by the Texas General Land Office or otherwise permitted under state law."

Read more about the regulation authority.

Background Information on Redfish Bay State Scientific Area

The Redfish Bay regulation went into effect on May 1, 2006 and effects all boaters who venture into the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area (RBSSA). The RBSSA is a component of both the Aransas and Corpus Christi ecosystems and is bounded by the communities of Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas and Ingleside. The area has about 50 square miles (32,000 acres) of prime fishing habitat, including 14,000 acres of submerged seagrass beds. Redfish Bay contains the northernmost extensive stands of seagrass on the Texas coast. 

In June 2000, Redfish Bay was designated a scientific area by Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWC) for the purposes of protecting and studying the native seagrasses. In three shallow and popular fishing areas, voluntary no-prop zones were marked with posts and signs visible to boaters in the area from 2000 through 2005. However, these zones were largely ineffective in reducing seagrass damage. As a result, the TPWC took the more conservative approach by making it illegal to destroy any of the five species of seagrasses found throughout RBSSA.

While this action didn't close any areas to fishing or boating, it did hold boaters responsible if they damage seagrasses with their boat propellers. This seagrass protection regulation places seagrass conservation responsibility squarely on boat operators.

Boaters can use this rule of thumb to boat responsibly in these areas: Run TO the flats, NOT THROUGH the flats.

Even though boater access is allowed throughout the RBSSA, boaters can avoid damaging seagrass by simply avoiding shallow areas. If the vessel's wake is muddy, the propeller may be cutting into the bay bottom and causing damage. It is the boater's responsibility to know the depth of the water they are running in and to avoid areas too shallow for their vessel.

 

redfish tailing in seagrass beds

Redfish tailing in submerged seagrass beds

Redfish Bay State Scientific Area Materials

Redfish Bay Signs

To help define the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, a number of signs have been placed in the water so that boaters can see the boundaries. In addition, information and boater regulations have been posted at local boat ramps. Boaters can see the boat ramp signs and read the text of the rules for boating in the area.

The text can also be downloaded Redfish Bay State Scientific Area Boat Ramp Text - downloadable

There is a large downloadable map of the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area that shows 34 cut points in the areas. There are also two tables of the latitudes and longitudes of each of those cutpoints that can be printed. One table is in degrees minutes and minutes. The other is in degrees minutes and seconds.

Brochures are available for download with more information about seagrass protection regulations and the RBSSA.