Presenters: Robin Riechers

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Rule Amendment Regarding Additional Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) for Shrimp Trawls Approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service
August 21, 2008

I. Executive Summary: This item presents for adoption a proposed rule that would authorize additional types of Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) to be used by shrimpers in state waters.

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 77, the commission by rule may regulate the catching, possession, purchase, and sale of shrimp; may limit the quantity and size of shrimp that may be caught, possessed, sold, or purchased; and may prescribe the times, places, conditions, and means and manner of catching shrimp.

From time to time the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) appends the list of approved BRDs to include additional devices that it has determined can be used safely and effectively in federal waters. In a final rule published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2008, NMFS added three new BRD types to the list of BRDs approved for use in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico (73 FR 8219). The federal rules took effect March 14, 2008. In order to reduce regulatory conflict between state and federal provisions and allow shrimpers to operate in both federal and state waters without having to change gear, staff proposes to allow the BRDs approved by NMFS to also be used in state waters. The proposed amendment was published in the July 18, 2008, issue of the Texas Register (33 TexReg 5691). Staff has collected and analyzed public comment, and will provide a summary at the time of the meeting.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts a proposed amendment to 31 TAC §58.160, concerning Taking or Attempting To Take Shrimp (Shrimping)-General Rules, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 18, 2008, issue of the Texas Register (33 TexReg 5691)."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Rule