Presenter: Mike Ray

Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Offshore Aquaculture Rules
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks adoption of proposed amendments to rules related to offshore aquaculture. The proposed rules would:

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.015, the department is required to regulate the introduction and stocking of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants into the public water of the state. Under §66.015(c), the department is required to establish rules related to the issuance of permits for the introduction of fish. Under Agriculture Code, §134.005, the commission is required to adopt rules necessary to carry out its responsibilities under that chapter to regulate aquaculture.

In November of 2006, the Commission adopted new rules governing the practice of offshore aquaculture in Texas state waters. Although offshore aquaculture is being practiced elsewhere in the world, it is in its infancy in the United States in general and the Gulf of Mexico specifically. Federal legislation has been introduced that would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish procedures for the development of an offshore aquaculture industry in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is the federal jurisdiction extending from the seaward boundary of state waters (nine miles) out to 200 miles. The rules adopted by the Commission in 2006 were intended as a regulatory precaution in advance of the development of interest in offshore aquaculture in Texas waters. Proposed amendments will address concerns raised by industry representatives as to procedural and operational matters.

III. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts proposed amendments to 31 TAC §§57.251 - 57.259, concerning Offshore Aquaculture Rules (located at Exhibit A), with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the April 18, 2008, issue of the Texas Register (33 TexReg 3164)."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed amendments to Offshore Aquaculture rule