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Work Session

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
9:00 a.m.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX  78744

Chairman T. Dan Friedkin, Commission Chair
Carter Smith, Executive Director

Approval of the Previous Minutes from the Work Session held November 7, 2012

Land and Water Plan

1.      Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan – Carter Smith

Financial

2.      Financial Overview – Mike Jensen

Natural Resources Regulations

3.      2013-2014 Statewide Hunting Proclamation – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register — Shawn Gray

4.      2013-2014 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation — Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register — Ken Kurzawski, Robin Riechers, Brandi Reeder

5.      Interstate Transportation of Deer through Texas – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register — Mitch Lockwood

6.      Deer Breeder Regulation Changes – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes — Mitch Lockwood (Action Item No. 7)

7.      Sand and Gravel Permit Program Rules – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Tom Heger, Bob Sweeney (Action Item No. 6)

8.      Overview of Aquatic Invasive Species – Earl Chilton

Regulations—Rule Review

9.      Regulations Rule Review – Publish Proposed Changes to the Following Chapters Based on the Rule Review – Ann Bright

Land Conservation—Land Acquisition

10.   WITHDRAWNLand Acquisition – Anderson County – 118.5 Acres at the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area – Request Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process — Corky Kuhlman

11.    Land Acquisition – El Paso County – 600 Acres at Franklin Mountains State Park – Request Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process — Corky Kuhlmann

12.    WITHDRAWN – Land Acquisition – Nacogdoches County – Approximately 50 Acres as an Addition to the Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) – Corky Kuhlmann

13.    Land Acquisition – Hemphill County – Approximately 350 Acres as an Addition to the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area (WMA) – Corky Kuhlmann (Action Item No. 15)

14.    Land Acquisition – Yoakum County – Addition to the Yoakum Dunes Preserve – Request Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process – Corky Kuhlmann

15.    Land Acquisition – Stephens County – 250 Acres – Palo Pinto Mountains State Park – Ted Hollingsworth (Action Item No. 11)

16.    Acceptance of Land Donation – Brazoria County – Approximately 480 Acres at the Christmas Bay Coastal Preserve – Ted Hollingsworth (Action Item No. 10)

Land Conservation—Land Transfer/Sale

17.    Land Sale and Trade – Bastrop County – Sale and Trade of Small Parcels to Conform to Survey Lines at Bastrop State Park – Corky Kuhlmann (Action Item No. 16)

18.    Land Transfer – El Paso County – Approximately 8 Acres to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) at Franklin Mountain State Park – Corky Kuhlmann (Action Item No. 18)

19.    Tramway Easement, Land Trade – El Paso County – Modification of FAA Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park – Corky Kuhlmann (Action Item No. 19)

Land Conservation—Other Land Transactions

20.    Request for Deed Modification – Harris and Montgomery Counties – Authorization of Pipeline Easement at Lake Houston Wilderness Park – Ted Hollingsworth (Action Item No. 13)

Land Conservation—Other Land Matters

21.    Delegation of Easement Renewal Authority – Ted Hollingsworth (Action Item No. 12)


Work Session Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter:  Carter Smith

Work Session
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the
TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
January 23, 2013

I.      Executive Summary:  Executive Director Carter Smith 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 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan.  A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005.  In November 2009, the Commission approved a new Plan effective January 1, 2010.  The 2010 Plan is available on the TPWD web site.  Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Commission on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s goals, objectives and deliverables.

The Plan consists of the following four goals:

  1. Practice, Encourage and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  2. Increase Access To and Participation In the Outdoors
  3. Educate, Inform and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation
  4. Employ Efficient, Sustainable and Sound Business Practices

Work Session Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter:  Mike Jensen

Work Session
Financial Overview
January 23, 2013

I.      Executive Summary:  Staff will present a financial overview of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

II.     Discussion: 

  • Staff will update the Commission on revenue collected by TPWD for FY 2013 and will compare the FY 2013 budget to FY 2013 expenditures and summarize recent budget adjustments.


Work Session Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter:  Shawn Gray

Work Session
2013-2014 Statewide Hunting Proclamation
January 23, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish proposed amendments to the Statewide Hunting Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed amendments would:

Mule Deer

  • Extend mule deer season on Managed Lands Deer Permit properties by an additional two weeks in January.

Pronghorn Antelope

  • Implement an experimental buck-only harvest under the existing season length and bag limit without permit requirements in three herd units in the Panhandle.

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

  1. Exhibit A — Statewide Hunting Proclamation

Work Session Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department, or TPWD) proposes amendments to §§65.30, 65.34, and 65.40, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation.

         The proposed amendment to §65.30, concerning Pronghorn Antelope Permit, would make conforming changes necessary to accommodate the proposed amendment to §65.40, which would allow hunting of buck pronghorn antelope in certain places without a permit.

         The proposed amendment to §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDPs)—Mule Deer, would extend the period of validity of MLDPs for mule deer to the last Sunday in January. The MLDP permit program was expanded to include mule deer in 2005. Unlike the MLDP program for white-tailed deer, which allows hunting from October until February, the mule deer MLDP permit validity was conservatively established to run concurrently with the season for white-tailed deer (the first Sunday in November to the first Sunday in January).  Since its inauguration, the program has steadily grown. The number of cooperators has increased by nearly 350% and the acreage under management has nearly tripled. In recent years, the department has been approached by landowners and land managers with the idea of extending the period of validity. The department conducted a significant outreach effort over the past year and has determined that there is support for an extension of the mule deer MLDP period of validity.

         The proposed amendment to §65.40 would implement an experimental season for the take of buck pronghorn antelope without a permit in certain areas of the state. Under current rule, the take of all pronghorn antelope is by permit only. The department manages pronghorn antelope populations by the concept of the “herd unit,” because they are a species that share specific habitat as a group and do not migrate. The department surveys populations and harvest data annually to determine the percentage of each herd unit that may be harvested each year without causing depletion or waste. Permits are then issued to landowners, who distribute them to hunters at their discretion. Over the last 10-15 years, pronghorn antelope populations in portions of the northern Panhandle have increased steadily and continue to expand their range by recolonizing suitable habitat.  As a result, permit demand has increased and staff time accommodating that demand has increased accordingly. The proposed amendment would implement an experimental season in three herd units where staff is confident that buck populations can sustain additional hunting pressure. The current bag limit and season length would be retained; however, no permits would be issued for bucks, which would be harvest at the discretion of the landowner. In order to measure the impact of the experiment and to assist law enforcement personnel in identifying lawfully taken pronghorn antelope, the proposed amendment would also require hunters to obtain and attach a free tag to each buck harvested and to present each harvested buck at a check station, if the department establishes check stations. The proposed amendment is intended to reduce the amount of time spent on permit issuance by staff and to increase hunter opportunity.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, 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 enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Wolf also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the wildlife 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 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. 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 and micro-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 rule will not directly affect small businesses or micro-businesses.  The proposed amendments affect the regulation of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest mule deer and pronghorn antelope. The proposed amendments would not directly regulate any business and would not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; affect sales, profits, or market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services by small businesses or microbusinesses. Therefore, the department therefore has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (D) 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.

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. 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 42, which allows the department to issue tags for animals during each year or season; and 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 may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42 and 61.

6. Text.

         §65.30. Pronghorn Antelope Permit.

                 (a) The department shall designate the number of pronghorn antelope does to be harvested from a given tract of land, and shall issue permits to the landowner.

                 (b) In the areas designated in §65.40(b)(5) of this title (relating to Pronghorn Antelope: Open Seasons and Bag Limits), the harvest of buck pronghorn antelope shall be at the discretion of the landowner.

                 (c)[(b)] For the purposes of this section, ’tract of land’ is a parcel or parcels of land under the same ownership within a single herd unit.

         §65.34. Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDPs)—Mule Deer,

                 (a) MLDPs for mule deer may be issued only to a landowner who has a current wildlife management plan (WMP) in accordance with subsection (b) of this section that specifies a harvest quota for buck and/or antlerless mule deer. A WMP is not valid unless it is:

                         (1) consistent with Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.053 and §61.056; and

                         (2) signed by a Wildlife Division biologist or technician authorized to write wildlife management plans. A WMP is valid for one year following the date of such signature.

                 (b) MLDP issuance for mule deer shall be determined by the WMP as follows. MLDPs shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:

                         (1) deer population data for both the current year and the two immediately preceding years;

                         (2) deer harvest data from the immediately preceding two years; and

                         (3) at least three recommended habitat improvements.

                 (c) An MLDP issued under this section permits the take of antlerless and/or buck mule deer, as specified on the permit. An MLDP issued under this section is valid:

                         (1) only on the property for which it is issued (as described in the WMP);

                         (2) during the archery-only open season established by §65.42 of this title (relating to Deer); however, the lawful means of take is restricted to lawful archery equipment only; and

                         (3) from the first Saturday in November through the last[first] Sunday in January, during which time any lawful means may be used.

                 (d) There is no bag limit for antlerless deer on properties for which antlerless permits have been issued.

                 (e) There is no bag limit for buck deer on properties for which buck permits have been issued.

                 (f) If MLDP antlerless permits have been issued for a property, each antlerless deer harvested on the property must be immediately tagged with a valid MLDP antlerless permit. If MLDP buck permits have been issued for a property, each buck deer harvested on the property must be immediately tagged with a valid MLDP buck permit. If an appropriate MLDP is not attached immediately at the time of kill, the person who killed the deer shall immediately take the carcass to a location on the property where an appropriate MLDP shall be attached.

                 (g) If a landowner in possession of MLDPs does not wish to abide by the harvest quota or habitat management practices specified by the WMP, the landowner must return all MLDPs to the department no later than one day prior to the date that the permits are valid under subsection (c) of this section.

                 (h) In the event that unforeseeable developments such as floods, droughts, or other natural disasters make the attainment of recommended habitat management practices or harvest goals impractical or impossible, the department may, on a case-by-case basis, waive the requirements of this section.

                 (i) The department reserves the right to deny further issuance of MLDPs to a landowner who exceeds the harvest quota specified by the WMP or who does not otherwise abide by the WMP. A property for which the department denies further permit issuance under this subsection is ineligible to receive MLDPs for a period of three years from the date of denial.

                 (j) MLDP requests received by the department before August 15 of each year shall be approved or denied by November 1 of the same year.

         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 may be hunted, taken, or possessed, and §42.0177, which authorizes the commission to modify or eliminate the tagging requirements of §§42.018, 42.0185, or 42.020, or other similar tagging requirements in Chapter 42.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42 and 61.

         §65.40. Pronghorn Antelope: Open Seasons and Bag Limits.

                 (a) In all counties there is a general open season for pronghorn antelope for nine consecutive days beginning the Saturday nearest October 1, and the annual bag limit is one pronghorn antelope[, by permit only]. In the part of the state that is not within the boundaries of an area described in subsection (b)(5) of this section, all pronghorn antelope harvest shall be by permit only.

                 (b) Within the boundaries of an area described in paragraph (5) of this subsection:

                         (1) no permit is required to harvest a buck pronghorn antelope; however, no person may harvest a buck pronghorn antelope unless that person has obtained a free pronghorn antelope tag from the department; and

                         (2) the harvest of pronghorn antelope does shall be by department-issued permit only.

                         (3) Upon killing a buck pronghorn antelope, the person who killed the buck pronghorn antelope shall immediately and legibly complete and attach the tag required by paragraph (1) of this subsection to the buck pronghorn antelope. The tag shall remain attached until the buck pronghorn antelope reaches a final destination.

                         (4) The department may establish mandatory check stations in the areas described by paragraph (5) of this subsection. If check stations have been established, a person who kills a buck pronghorn antelope or the person’s representative must present the entire, intact head at a check station within 24 hours of take.

                         (5) Areas.

                                  (A) Area  1. That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway (U.S.) 87 and Farm to Market Road (F.M.) 281 in Hartley County; thence east along F.M. 281 to U.S. 287 in Moore County; thence north along U.S. 287 to F.M. 2014 in Sherman County; thence southwest along F.M. 2014 to South Cedar Street in the City of Stratford in Sherman County; thence northwest along South Cedar Street to U.S. 54 in Sherman County; thence southwest along U.S. 54 to Elks Road in the City of Dalhart in Dallam County; thence south along Elks Road to Ranch Road (R.R.) 297 in Dalhart, Dallam County; thence east along R. R. 297 to Rawlings Road/Robertson Road; thence south on Rawlings Road/Robertson Road to U.S. 87 in Hartley County; thence south along U.S. 87 to F.M. 281 in Hartley County.

                                  (B) Area 2. That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the intersection of  U.S. 87 and U.S. 385 in Hartley County; thence east along U.S. 87 to S. Twichell Ave. in the City of Dumas in Moore County; thence south along S. Twichell Ave. to W. 16th St.; thence eastward along W. 16th Str. to the first unnamed dirt road; thence south and then east along the unnamed dirt road to S. Dumas Ave./U.S. 87/287; thence south along S. Dumas Ave./U.S. 87/287 to State Highway (S.H.) 354; thence west along S.H. 354 to Alabama Ave. in the City of Channing in Hartley County, thence north along Alabama Ave. to E. 4th St.; thence west along E. 4th St. to U.S. 385; thence north along U.S. 385 to the intersection of U.S. 385 and U.S. 87.

                                  (C) Area 3 That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the intersection of  U.S. 70 and S.H. 171 in Gray County; thence southeast along S.H.  171 to U.S. 60 in Gray County; thence northeast along U.S. 60 to F.M. 282 in Roberts County; thence west along F.M. 282 to F.M. 283 in Roberts County; thence northwest along F.M. 283 to U.S. 70 in Roberts County; thence south along U.S. 70 in Roberts County to S.H. 171 in Gray County.

         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


Work Session Agenda Item No. 4
Presenters:  Ken Kurzawski
Robin Riechers
Brandi Reeder

Work Session
2013-2014 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation
January 23, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish proposed changes to the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations and Fee Schedule in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed amendments would:

Inland Fisheries

  • Modify existing regulation exemptions for largemouth bass on two reservoirs
  • For handfishing, add definition and list restrictions to aid in public understanding and enforceability
  • Add Canyon Lake Project #6 in Lubbock to special regulations for catfish and devices restrictions
  • As part of rule review, clarify language on pole–and–line only angling and device restrictions

Coastal Fisheries

  • Clarify definition regarding possession of fish
  • Clarify definition of fish harassment
  • Remove prohibitions concerning possession of red drum and bonus red drum tags
  • As part of the rule review process, make numerous nonsubstantive, housekeeping-type changes

Law Enforcement

  • Add provision regarding enforcement of federal regulations in state waters

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 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

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Fishing Rules

Work Session Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL
AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.971, 57.972, 57.973, 57.976, 57.981, 57.982, 57.992, and 57.996 concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations. The proposed amendments include changes occurring as a result of the department’s review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

         The proposed amendment to §57.971, concerning Definitions, would add new definitions for “crabs” and “handfishing,” eliminate a redundancy in the definition of “purse seine” and clarify the definition of “trap.” The proposed amendment would add new paragraph (9) to define “crabs” as “all species within the families Portunidae and Menippidae.” Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §78.102(1), crabs are defined as “all species within the families Portunidae and Xanthidae.” There is no universal method or system for assigning taxonomic rank to organisms. The generally accepted goal of taxonomy is to group organisms by similarities of function, structure, or genetics; however, because scientific investigations continue to reveal previously unknown information about specific organisms or groups of organisms, their taxonomic designations can be changed, even though the organisms themselves remain unchanged. Recent generally accepted taxonomic revisions have split the family Xanthidae into seven new families, one of which (Mennipidae) contains species of crabs indigenous to Texas. The proposed amendment reflects recent changes in taxonomic nomenclature with respect to crabs.

         The proposed amendment also would create new paragraph (25), which defines “handfishing” as “fishing by the use of hands only and without any other fishing devices such as gaff, pole hook, stick, trap, or spear.” The definition is a verbatim repetition of the statutory definition of handfishing in Parks and Wildlife Code, 66.115(a), with the exception of the word “stick.” The department has determined that although it’s clear from the grammatical constructions “use of hands only” and “such as…” followed by a list of gears, that the intent of the statute is to restrict handfishing solely to the use of hands, it is necessary to clarify that in addition to the statutory prescription on the use of gaffs, pole hooks, traps, or spears, sticks are also unlawful.

         The proposed amendment to paragraph (37), regarding “purse seine (net)” would remove the word “net,” which is redundant.

         The proposed amendment to paragraph (44), regarding the definition of “trap,” would clarify the current definition by appending to it a list of examples of devices (box, barrel, or pipe) the department considers to meet the criteria established by the current definition.

         The proposed amendment to §57.972, concerning General Rules, would update the taxonomic names of sawfishes, clarify an existing rule governing the use of boats to drive fish, and remove references to possession of red drum tags. As discussed in the proposed amendment to §57.971 regarding crabs, the taxonomic designations of organisms are not fixed. Similar to the case of crabs, the scientific names of sawfishes have been changed. The proposed amendment to subsection (f) reflects the change.

         Under current subsection (g)(7), it is unlawful for any person to use any vessel to harass fish. The proposed amendment would alter subsection (g)(7) by eliminating the word “harass” and replacing it with the words “harry, herd, or drive,” including a proscription on the operation of any vessel in a repeated circular course,” and making it clear that the actions described in the paragraph must be “for the purpose of or result in the artificial concentration of fish for the purpose of taking or attempting to take fish.” The proposed amendment is necessary because the department has determined that it is necessary to provide a clearer articulation of the acts or actions the department considers to constitute the use of boats to move fish for purposes of take.

         The proposed amendment to subsection (g) also eliminates paragraph (13)(G) and (I), concerning the possession and use of red drum tags. Under the current rules, a person may catch and retain only one red drum of greater than 28 inches in length, which must be tagged with the red drum tag from the person’s fishing license, and a person may exchange a used red drum tag for a bonus red drum tag and then retain another oversize red drum; however, no person may be in simultaneous possession of a red drum tag and a bonus red drum tag, or the exempt equivalents. The current rules were promulgated at a time when the department was concerned about red drum populations and needed to get firm numbers concerning their harvest. Long-term department trend data indicate that oversize red drum constitute less than 3% of the total red drum harvest; therefore, there is no longer a need to obtain highly detailed harvest information or to prohibit the simultaneous possession of a red drum tag and a bonus red drum tag.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means, and Methods, consists of several actions. The proposed amendment would alter current subsection (b) to make it a list of places where angling is restricted solely to the use of pole-and-line devices. Provisions regarding those places where the number of devices that may lawfully be employed are regulated would be relocated to proposed new subsection (c). With the exception of proposed paragraph (4), the changes are nonsubstantive. Proposed paragraph (4) would add Canyon Lake Project #6 to the list of places where angling is restricted solely to pole-and-line. Within the City of Lubbock there are a series of urban lakes, and all of the waterbodies except one (Canyon Lake Project #6) are classified as community fishing lakes (CFL), on which angling is by rule restricted solely to pole-and-line. The Canyon Lake Project #6 lake is 82 acres, which makes it larger than the 75-acre minimum for established by rule for CFLs. Under the provisions of the subchapter, CFLs have a specific set of regulations on catfish harvest and gear usage. Confusion exists among local anglers in the Lubbock area regarding the regulations in effect on Canyon Lake Project #6. The department has determined that for purposes of consistency and alleviation of angler confusion, the harvest regulations on Canyon Lake Project #6 should be the same as the other CFLs: five fish daily bag limit for channel and blue catfish (no minimum length limit), methods restricted to pole-and-line only, no more than two devices per person.

         The proposed amendment would alter current subsection (f) [redesignated as subsection (g)] by adding new paragraph (8) to govern handfishing. The Texas Legislature in 2011 enacted House Bill 2189, which amended Parks and Wildlife Code by adding §66.115, which made it lawful to “fish for catfish by use of the hands only and without any other fishing device such as a gaff, pole hook, trap, or spear.” The proposed amendment replicates the statute in rule for ease of reference and recapitulates that it is unlawful to place or use a trap for the purpose of taking catfish. The proposed amendment also would alter current subsection (f)(14) by removing the word “net” from the initial phrase “purse seine (net). Because “purse seine” is defined under §57.971 as a net, the phrase is redundant.

         The proposed amendment to §57.976, concerning Importation of Aquatic Animal Life, would retitle the section, remove the provisions concerning possession of wildlife in current subsection (a), and add provisions clarifying the legal status of aquatic animal life taken in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under federal jurisdiction. The department has determined that the provisions of current §57.976(a), which apply to the possession of resources, would be more appropriate if part of §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits. The remaining provisions, with the addition of the provisions that apply to resources brought into to state waters from the EEZ, could then be in a section renamed as “Importation of Aquatic Animal Life.” The state of Texas has management jurisdiction for fisheries resources in state waters (which extend nine nautical miles from the Texas coast), but the area from the seaward edge of state waters for a distance of 200 miles fall within federal management jurisdiction. In some cases, the bag and possession limits in state waters for certain species differ from those in federal waters for those species. It is common for state game wardens to encounter persons in state waters who possess aquatic animal life that was unlawfully taken in federal waters. At the current time, such cases cannot be filed in a state jurisdiction; however, increased caseloads in federal courts have caused federal prosecutors to become increasingly selective about which cases to prosecute. This has led to a perception that compliance with resource conservation regulations is unnecessary, which is injurious to Texas aquatic animal life because it is a shared resource. The proposed amendment would make it a violation of state law to possess aquatic animal life in Texas that was unlawfully taken in violation of federal law. The proposed amendment is necessary to encourage the angling public to comply with resource conservation regulations irrespective of jurisdiction.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits, would add a provision concerning the applicability of possession limits and import provisions from current §57.976 concerning possession of resources (covered in the discussion of the proposed amendment of §57.976). 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, the department overlooked a provision governing the endpoint of the applicability of possession limits. That provision, which states that for all wildlife resources taken for personal consumption and for which there is a possession limit, the possession limit shall not apply after the wildlife resource has reached the possessor’s permanent residence and is finally processed, would be added to §57.981 as subsection (a). The provisions being relocated from §57.976 would become new subsection (c)(4).

         The proposed amendment to §59.981 also would alter current harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Kurth Reservoir, a 726-acre reservoir located approximately five miles north of Lufkin. Current use is recreation, but the City of Lufkin has plans to supply water for mining ventures. Current harvest regulations for largemouth bass consist of a 14-inch minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag limit. Kurth currently supports a high-quality largemouth bass fishery as reflected in population sampling and in anglers’ catches. Staff believes these metrics indicate the reservoir has the potential to develop into a trophy bass fishery. A sample of registered anglers who had purchased a 2011 access permit to the reservoir were sent a questionnaire on their opinion of the overall fishery and current largemouth bass regulations. Survey respondents were very satisfied with the fishery, and 65% indicated they would like more restrictive largemouth regulations. The proposed amendment would establish a maximum length limit of 16 inches, which is intended to increase numbers of trophy-sized bass in the population by providing protection to large bass currently vulnerable to harvest (greater than 14 inches). Allowing harvest of bass 16 inches or shorter also could decrease intraspecific competition and increase growth rates. The proposed amendment also would allow one fish of 24 inches or greater to be retained alive in a live well for purposes of immediate weighing using personal scales. Bass weighing 13 pounds or more could be retained for donation to the ShareLunker Program; otherwise, fish would have to be immediately released.

         The proposed amendment to §59.981 also would alter current harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Lake Jacksonville, a 1,206-acre reservoir located approximately 20 miles south of Tyler. The current 18-inch minimum length and five-fish daily bag limit was established in September 2000, due to angler concerns about the scarcity of fish larger than the 14-inch statewide minimum length. The current regulation has been successful in restructuring the largemouth bass population and producing more fish 18 inches or longer. Recently, largemouth bass tournament angling has become increasingly popular, with Lake Jacksonville hosting at least three weekly tournaments. With the increase in tournament activity, anglers requested being allowed to be able to weigh in 14-18 inch bass. Department staff proposed a five-fish daily bag limit with no minimum length and a retention limit of two fish less than 18 inches. The proposed amendment is intended to allow bass to be weighed-in during tournaments and to facilitate the harvest of additional bass, but still provide some harvest protection for bass in the 14-to-18-inch size range. In an on-line survey designed to evaluate angler opinion on possible changes to bass regulations, 91 anglers responded to the survey with 2/3 in favor of the proposed regulation.

         The proposed amendment to §57.982, concerning Crabs and Ghost Shrimp, would remove a historical reference to the previous scientific name for ghost shrimp. The change is nonsubstantive.

         The proposed amendment to §57.992, concerning Bag, Length, and Possession Limits, would alter subsection (a) to clarify that the possession limit applies to aquatic animal life possessed or stored by any person, but does not apply to aquatic animal life that has been lawfully obtained and for which the possessor has a receipt or invoice indentifying the person the aquatic life was obtained from, the number and species, date of sale, and any other information required to be on a sales ticket or invoice. The clarification is necessary to clearly delineate the standards that apply to possession of aquatic animal life in excess of possession limits.

         The proposed amendment also eliminates the special regulations for black drum and sheepshead, which are no longer necessary because commercial and recreational regulations are now in different divisions of Chapter 57.

         The proposed amendment to §57.996, concerning Crabs and Ghost Shrimp, would remove a historical reference to the previous scientific name for ghost shrimp and reflect that ghost shrimp may not be retained for commercial purposes. The change is nonsubstantive.

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 Brandi Reeder (Law Enforcement) at (512) 389-4853 , e-mail brandi.reeder@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,; §46.0085, which authorizes the department to prescribe the form and manner of issuance of the licenses and tags authorized by Chapter 46; 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 may be hunted, taken, or possessed; §66.115, which authorizes the commission to promulgate regulations concerning handfishing; 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 46, 66, 61 and 67.

         §57.971. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms in this subchapter shall have the meanings assigned in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.

                 (1) – (8) (No change.)

                 (9) Crab—All species within the families Portunidae and Menippidae.

                 (10)[(9)] Crab line — A baited line with no hook attached.

                 (11)[(10] Daily bag limit — The quantity of a species of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully taken in one day.

                 (12)[(11)] Day — A 24-hour period of time that begins at midnight and ends at midnight.

                 (13)[(12)] Dip net — A mesh bag suspended from a frame attached to a handle.

                 (14)[(13)] Final processing — The cleaning of a dead wildlife resource for cooking or storage purposes.

                 (15)[(14)] Fish —

                         (A) Game fish — Blue catfish, blue marlin, broadbill swordfish, brown trout, channel catfish, cobia, crappie (black and white), flathead catfish, Guadalupe bass, king mackerel, largemouth bass, longbill spearfish, pickerel, red drum, rainbow trout, sailfish, sauger, sharks, smallmouth bass, snook, Spanish mackerel, spotted bass, spotted seatrout, striped bass, tarpon, tripletail, wahoo, walleye, white bass, white marlin, yellow bass, and hybrids or subspecies of the species listed in this subparagraph.

                         (B) Non-game fish — All species not listed as game fish, except endangered and threatened fish, which are defined and regulated under separate proclamations.

                 (16)[(15)] Fishing — Taking or attempting to take aquatic animal life by any means.

                 (17)[(16)] Fish length — That straight-line measurement (while the fish is lying on its side) from the tip of the snout (jaw closed) to the extreme tip of the tail when the tail is squeezed together or rotated to produce the maximum overall length.

                 (18)[(17)] Fish species names — The names of fishes are those prescribed by the American Fisheries Society in the most recent edition of "Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from The United States, Canada and Mexico."

                 (19)[(18)] Fishing guide — A person who, for compensation, accompanies, assists, or transports a person or persons engaged in fishing in the water of this state.

                 (20)[(19)] Fishing guide deck hand — A person in the employ of a fishing guide who assists in operating a boat for compensation to accompany or to transport a person or persons engaged in fishing in the water of this state.

                 (21)[(20)] Folding panel trap — A metallic or non-metallic mesh trap, the side panels hinged to fold flat when not in use, and suspended in the water by multiple lines.

                 (22)[(21)] Gaff — Any hand-held pole with a hook attached directly to the pole.

                 (23)[(22)] Gear tag — A tag constructed of material as durable as the device to which it is attached. The gear tag must be legible, contain the name and address of the person using the device, and, except for saltwater trotlines and crab traps fished under a commercial license, the date the device was set out.

                 (24)[(23)] Gig — Any hand-held shaft with single or multiple points.

                 (25) Handfishing — Fishing by the use of hands only and without any other fishing devices such as gaff, pole hook, trap, stick, or spear.

                 (26)[(24)] Headboat — A vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire. A headboat with a commercial vessel permit is considered to be operating as a headboat when it carries a passenger who pays a fee or, in the case of persons aboard fishing for or possessing coastal migratory fish or Gulf reef fish, when there are more than three persons aboard, including operator and crew.

                 (27)[(25)] Inside waters — All bays, inlets, outlets, passes, rivers, streams, and other bodies of water landward from the shoreline of the state along the Gulf of Mexico and contiguous to, or connected with, but not a part of, the Gulf of Mexico and within which the tide regularly rises and falls.

                 (28)[(26)] Jug line — A fishing line with five or less hooks tied to a free-floating device.

                 (29)[(27)] Lawful archery equipment — Longbow, recurved bow, and compound bow.

                 (30)[(28)] License year — The period of time for which an annual fishing license is valid.

                 (31)[(29)] Natural bait — A whole or cut-up portion of a fish or shellfish or a whole or cut-up portion of plant material in its natural state, provided that none of these may be altered beyond cutting into portions.

                 (32)[(30)] Paddle craft — Any non-motorized vessel.

                 (33)[(31)] Paddle-craft fishing guide — A person who, for compensation, accompanies, assists, or transports a person or persons by means of a non-motorized vessel engaged in fishing in the coastal waters of this state.

                 (34)[(32)] Permanent residence — One’s domicile. This does not include a temporary abode or dwelling such as a hunting/fishing club, or any club house, cabin, tent, or trailer house used as a hunting/fishing club, or any hotel, motel, or rooming house used during a hunting, fishing, pleasure, or business trip.

                 (35)[(33)] Pole and line — A line with hook, attached to a pole. This gear includes rod and reel.

                 (36)[(34)] Possession limit — The maximum number of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully possessed at one time.

                 (37)[(35)] Purse seine [(net)] — A net with flotation on the corkline adequate to support the net in open water without touching bottom, with a rope or wire cable strung through rings attached along the bottom edge to close the bottom of the net.

                 (38)[(36)] Sail line — A type of trotline with one end of the main line fixed on the shore, the other end of the main line attached to a wind-powered floating device or sail.

                 (39)[(37)] Sand Pump — A self-contained, hand-held, hand-operated suction device used to remove and capture Callianassid ghost shrimp (Callichirus islagrande, [formerly Callianassa islagrande]) from their burrows.

                 (40)[(38)] Seine — A section of non-metallic mesh webbing, the top edge buoyed upwards by a floatline and the bottom edge weighted.

                 (41)[(39)] Spear — Any shaft with single or multiple points, barbed or barbless, which may be propelled by any means, but does not; include arrows.

                 (42)[(40)] Spear gun — Any hand-operated device designed and used for propelling a spear, but does not include the crossbow.

                 (43)[(41)] Throwline — A fishing line with five or less hooks and with one end attached to a permanent fixture. Components of a throwline may also include swivels, snaps, rubber and rigid support structures.

                 (44)[(42)] Trap — A rigid device of various designs and dimensions used to entrap aquatic life, including a man-made device such as a box, barrel, or pipe.

                 (45)[(43)] Trawl — A bag-shaped net which is dragged along the bottom or through the water to catch aquatic life.

                 (46)[(44)] Trotline — A nonmetallic main fishing line with more than five hooks attached and with each end attached to a fixture.

                 (47)[(45)] Umbrella net — A non-metallic mesh net that is suspended horizontally in the water by multiple lines attached to a rigid frame.

                 (48)[(46)] Wildlife resources — For the purposes of this subchapter, all aquatic animal life

         §57.972. General Rules.

                 (a) – (e) (No change.)

                 (f) There is no open season on porpoises, dolphins (mammals), whales, or sawfishes (Pristis pectinata and P. pristis)[(Pristis perotteti)].

                 (g) It is unlawful:

                         (1) – (6) (No change.)

                         (7) for any person to use any vessel to harry, herd, or drive fish including but not limited to operating any vessel in a repeated circular course, for the purpose of or resulting in the artificial concentration of fish for the purpose of taking or attempting to take fish[for any person to use any vessel to harass fish];

                         (8) — (12) (No change.)

                         (13) for any person to:

                                  (A) purchase or use more finfish (red drum) tags during a license year than the number and type authorized by the commission, excluding duplicate tags issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, §46.006;

                                  (B) use the same finfish tag for the purpose of tagging more than one finfish;

                                  (C) use a finfish tag in the name of another person;

                                  (D) use a tag on a finfish for which another tag is specifically required; or

                                  (E) catch and retain a finfish required to be tagged and fail to immediately attach and secure a tag, with the day and month of catch cut out, to the finfish at the narrowest part of the finfish tail, just ahead of the tail fin[;]

                                  (F) have in possession both a Red Drum Tag and a Duplicate Red Drum Tag issued to the same license or saltwater stamp holder; or

                                  [(G) have in possession both a Red Drum Tag or a Duplicate Red Drum Tag and a Bonus Red Drum Tag issued to the same license or saltwater stamp holder;]

                                  (G)[(H)] have in possession both an Exempt Red Drum Tag and a Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag issued to the same license holder[; or]

                                  [(I) have in possession both an Exempt Red Drum Tag or a Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag and a Bonus Red Drum Tag issued to the same holder].

                 (h) – (k) (No change.)

         §57.973. Devices, Means and Methods.

                 (a) (no change.)

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

                         (1) community fishing lakes; [however, on community fishing lakes that are not within or part of a state park, no person may employ more than two pole-and-line devices at the same time;]

                         (2) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks[, and no person may employ more than two pole-and-line devices at one time on any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park];

                         (3) any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park;

                         (4) Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County);

                         (5)[(3)] Lake Pflugerville (Travis County);

                         (6)[(4)] the North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam;

                         (7)[(5)] the South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam; and

                         (8)[(6)] Wheeler Branch (Somervell County).

                 (c) No person may employ more than two pole-and-line devices at the same time on:

                         (1) any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park; and

                          (2) community fishing lakes that are not within or part of a state park.

                 (d)[(c)] It is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess fish caught in public waters of this state by any device, means, or method other than as authorized in this subchapter.

                 (e)[(d)] In salt water only, it is unlawful to fish with any device that is marked with a buoy made of a plastic bottle(s) of any color or size.

                 (f)[(e)] Aquatic life (except threatened and endangered species) not addressed in this subchapter may be taken only by hand or with the devices defined as lawful for taking fish, crabs, oysters, or shrimp in places and at times as provided by the Parks and Wildlife Commission and regulations adopted by the Parks and Wildlife Code.

                 (g)[(f)] Device restrictions. Devices legally used for taking fresh or saltwater fish or shrimp may be used to take crab as authorized by this subchapter.

                         (1) Cast net. It is unlawful to use a cast net exceeding 14 feet in diameter.

                                  (A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a cast net.

                                  (B) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken for bait purposes only.

                         (2) Crab line. It is unlawful to fish a crab line for commercial purposes that is not marked with a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length and six inches in width bearing the commercial crab fisherman’s license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to the end fixtures.

                         (3) Crab trap. It is unlawful to:

                                   (A) fish for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial crab fisherman’s license with more than 200 crab traps at one time;

                                   (B) fish for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial finfish fisherman’s license with more than 20 crab traps at one time;

                                   (C) fish for non-commercial purposes with more than six crab traps at one time;

                                   (D) fish a crab trap in the fresh waters of this state;

                                  (E) fish a crab trap that:

                                           (i) exceeds 18 cubic feet in volume;

                                          (ii) is not equipped with at least two escape vents (minimum 2-3/8 inches inside diameter) in each crab-retaining chamber, and located on the outside trap walls of each chamber; and

                                          (iii) is not equipped with a degradable panel. A trap shall be considered to have a degradable panel if one of the following methods is used in construction of the trap:

                                                   (I) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390). The trap lid must be secured so that when the twine degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

                                                   (II) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. The trap lid must be secured so that when the wire degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

                                                   (III) the trap contains at least one sidewall, not including the bottom panel, with a rectangular opening no smaller than 3 inches by 6 inches. Any obstruction placed in this opening may not be secured in any manner except:

                                                           (-a-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390) knotted only at each end and not tied or looped more than once around a single mesh bar. When the twine degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

                                                            (-b-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the wire degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

                                                           (-c-) the obstruction may be loosely hinged at the bottom of the opening by no more than two untreated steel hog rings and secured at the top of the obstruction in no more than one place by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530), sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390), or by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the twine or wire degrades, the obstruction will hinge downward and the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed;

                                  (F) fish a crab trap for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial crab fisherman’s license:

                                          (i) that is not marked with a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width attached to the crab trap;

                                          (ii) that is not marked with a white buoy bearing the commercial crab fisherman’s license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to the crab trap;

                                          (iii) that is marked with a buoy bearing a commercial crab fisherman’s license plate number other than the commercial crab fisherman’s license plate number displayed on the crab fishing boat;

                                  (G) fish a crab trap for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial finfish fisherman’s license:

                                          (i) that is not marked with a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width attached to the crab trap;

                                          (ii) that is not marked with a white buoy bearing the letter ’F’ and the commercial finfish fisherman’s license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to the crab trap;

                                          (iii) that is marked with a buoy bearing a commercial finfish fisherman’s license plate number other than the commercial finfish fisherman’s license plate number displayed on the finfish fishing boat;

                                          (H) fish a crab trap for non-commercial purposes without a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width, bearing a two-inch wide center stripe of contrasting color, attached to the crab trap;

                                          (I) fish a crab trap in public salt waters for non-commercial purposes without a valid gear tag. Gear tags must be attached within 6 inches of the buoy and are valid for 10 days after date set out;

                                          (J) fish a crab trap within 200 feet of a marked navigable channel in Aransas County; and in the water area of Aransas Bay within one-half mile of a line from Hail Point on the Lamar Peninsula, then direct to the eastern end of Goose Island, then along the southern shore of Goose Island, then along the eastern shoreline of the Live Oak Peninsula past the town of Fulton, past Nine Mile Point, past the town of Rockport to a point at the east end of Talley Island including that part of Copano Bay within 1,000 feet of the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula or possess, use or place more than three crab traps in waters north and west of Highway 146 where it crosses the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County;

                                  (K) remove crab traps from the water or remove crabs from crab traps during the period from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise;

                                  (L) place a crab trap or portion thereof closer than 100 feet from any other crab trap, except when traps are secured to a pier or dock;

                                  (M) fish a crab trap in public waters that is marked with a buoy made of a plastic bottle(s) of any color or size; or

                                  (N) use or place more than three crab traps in public waters of the San Bernard River north of a line marked by the boat access channel at Bernard Acres.

                         (4) Dip net.

                                  (A) It is unlawful to use a dip net except:

                                          (i) to aid in the landing of fish caught on other legal devices; and

                                          (ii) to take non-game fish.

                                  (B) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken for bait purposes only.

                         (5) Folding panel trap.

                                 (A) Only crabs may be taken with a folding panel trap.

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a folding panel trap with an overall surface area, including panels, exceeding 16 square feet.

                         (6) Gaff.

                                  (A) It is unlawful to use a gaff except to aid in landing fish caught by other legal devices, means or methods.

                                  (B) Fish landed with a gaff may not be below the minimum, above the maximum, or within a protected length limit.

                         (7) Gig. Only non-game fish may be taken with a gig.

                         (8) Handfishing. For use in fresh water only.

                                  (A) Only blue, channel, and flathead catfish may be taken by means of handfishing.

                                  (B) It is unlawful to intentionally place or use a trap in public waters for the purpose taking catfish by handfishing. 

                         (9)[(8)] Jugline. For use in fresh water only. Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a jugline. It is unlawful to use a jugline:

                                  (A) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within six inches of the free-floating device, are valid for 10 days after the date set out, and must include the number of the permit to sell non-game fish taken from fresh water, if applicable;

                                  (B) for commercial purposes that is not marked with an orange free-floating device;

                                   (C) for non-commercial purposes that is not marked with a white free-floating device;

                                  (D) in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County. (3) – (8) (No change.)

                          (10)[(9)] Lawful archery equipment. Only non-game fish may be taken with lawful archery equipment or crossbow.

                         (11)[(9)] (10) Minnow trap (fresh water and salt water). It is unlawful to use a minnow trap that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date it is set out.

                                          (A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a minnow trap.

                                          (B) It is unlawful to use a minnow trap that exceeds 24 inches in length or with a throat larger than one by three inches.

                         (12)[(11)]  Perch traps. For use in salt water only.

                                  (A) Perch traps may be used only for taking non-game fish.

                                  (B) It is unlawful to fish a perch trap that:

                                          (i) exceeds 18 cubic feet in volume;

                                          (ii) is not equipped with a degradable panel. A trap shall be considered to have a degradable panel if one of the following methods is used in construction of the trap:

                                                   (I) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390). The trap lid must be secured so that when the twine degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

                                                   (II) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. The trap lid must be secured so that when the wire degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

                                                   (III) the trap contains at least one sidewall, not including the bottom panel, with a rectangular opening no smaller than 3 inches by 6 inches. Any obstruction placed in this opening may not be secured in any manner except:

                                                           (-a-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390) knotted only at each end and not tied or looped more than once around a single mesh bar. When the twine degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

                                                           (-b-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the wire degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

                                                           (-c-) the obstruction may be loosely hinged at the bottom of the opening by no more than two untreated steel hog rings and secured at the top of the obstruction in no more than one place by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530), sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390), or by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the twine or wire degrades, the obstruction will hinge downward and the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed.

                                          (iii) that is not marked with a floating visible orange buoy not less than six inches in height and six inches in width. The buoy must have a gear tag attached. Gear tags are valid for 10 days after date set out.

                         (13)[(12)]  Pole and line.

                                  (A) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line. It is unlawful to take or attempt to take fish with one or more hooks attached to a line or artificial lure used in a manner to foul-hook a fish (snagging or jerking). A fish is foul-hooked when caught by a hook in an area other than the fish’s mouth.

                                  (B) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line. It is unlawful to take fish with a hand-operated device held underwater except that a spear gun and spear may be used to take non-game fish.

                                  (C) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line, except that in the Guadalupe River in Comal County from the second bridge crossing on River Road upstream to the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. Road 306, rainbow and brown trout may not be retained when taken by any method except artificial lures. Artificial lures cannot contain or have attached either whole or portions, living or dead, of organisms such as fish, crayfish, insects (grubs, larvae, or adults), or worms, or any other animal or vegetable material, or synthetic scented materials. This does not prohibit the use of artificial lures that contain components of hair or feathers. It is an offense to possess rainbow and brown trout while fishing with any other device in that part of the Guadalupe River defined in this paragraph.

                         (14)[(13)]  Purse seine [(net)].

                                  (A) Purse seines may be used only for taking menhaden, only from that portion of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of this state extending from one-half mile offshore to nine nautical miles offshore.

                                  (B) Purse seines used for taking menhaden may not be used within one mile of any jetty or pass.

                                  (C) The purse seine, not including the bag, shall not be less than three-fourths inch square mesh.

                         (15)[14)]  Sail line. For use in salt water only.

                                  (A) Non-game fish, red drum, spotted seatrout, and sharks may be taken with a sail line.

                                  (B) Line length shall not exceed 1,800 feet from the reel to the sail.

                                  (C) The sail and most shoreward float must be a highly visible orange or red color. All other floats must be yellow.

                                  (D) No float on the line may be more than 200 feet from the sail.

                                  (E) A weight of not less than one ounce shall be attached to the line not less than four feet or more than six feet shoreward of the last shoreward float.

                                  (F) Reflectors of not less than two square inches shall be affixed to the sail and floats and shall be visible from all directions for sail lines operated from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

                                  (G) There is no hook spacing requirement for sail lines.

                                  (H) No more than one sail line may be used per fisherman.

                                  (I) Sail lines may not be used by the holder of a commercial fishing license.

                                  (J) Sail lines must be attended at all times the line is fishing.

                                  (K) Sail lines may not have more than 30 hooks and no hook may be placed more than 200 feet from the sail.

                         (16)[(15)] Sand pump. It is unlawful for any person to use a sand pump:

                                  (A) that is not manually operated; or

                                  (B) for commercial purposes.

                         (17)[(18)] Seine.

                                  (A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a seine.

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a seine:

                                          (i) which is not manually operated;

                                          (ii) with mesh exceeding 1/2-inch square; or

                                          (iii) that exceeds 20 feet in length.

                                  (C) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken by seine for bait purposes only.

                         (18)[(17)] Shad trawl. For use in fresh water only.

                                  (A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a shad trawl.

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a shad trawl longer than six feet or with a mouth larger than 36 inches in diameter.

                                  (C) A shad trawl may be equipped with a funnel or throat and must be towed by boat or by hand.

                         (19)[(18)] Spear. Only non-game fish may be taken with a spear.

                         (20)[(19)] Spear gun. Only non-game fish may be taken with spear gun.

                         (21)[(21)] Throwline. For use in fresh water only.

                                  (A) Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a throwline.

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a throwline in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                                  (C) It is unlawful to use a throwline that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date it is set out.

                         (22)[(21)] Trotline.

                                 (A) Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish may be taken by trotline.

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a trotline:

                                          (i) with a mainline length exceeding 600 feet;

                                          (ii) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within three feet of the first hook at each end of the trotline and are valid for 10 days after date set out, except on saltwater trotlines, a gear tag is not required to be dated;

                                          (iii) with hook interval less than three horizontal feet;

                                          (iv) with metallic stakes; or

                                          (v) with the main fishing line and attached hooks and stagings above the water’s surface.

                                  (C) In fresh water, it is unlawful to use a trotline:

                                          (i) with more than 50 hooks;

                                          (ii) in Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Fayette County Reservoir in Fayette County, Pinkston Reservoir in Shelby County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                                  (D) In salt water:

                                          (i) it is unlawful to use a trotline:

                                                   (I) in or on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of this state;

                                                   (II) from which red drum, sharks or spotted seatrout caught on the trotline are retained or possessed;

                                                   (III) placed closer than 50 feet from any other trotline, or set within 200 feet of the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway or its tributary channels. No trotline may be fished with the main fishing line and attached hooks and stagings above the water’s surface;

                                                   (IV) baited with other than natural bait, except sail lines;

                                                   (V) with hooks other than circle-type hook with point curved in and having a gap (distance from point to shank) of no more than one-half inch, and with the diameter of the circle not less than five-eighths inch. Sail lines are excluded from the restrictions imposed by this clause; or

                                                   (VI) in Aransas County in Little Bay and the water area of Aransas Bay within one-half mile of a line from Hail Point on the Lamar Peninsula, then direct to the eastern end of Goose Island, then along the southern shore of Goose Island, then along the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula, then along the eastern shoreline of the Live Oak Peninsula past the town of Fulton, past Nine-Mile Point, past the town of Rockport to a point at the east end of Talley Island, including that part of Copano Bay within 1,000 feet of the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula.

                                          (ii) No trotline or trotline components, including lines and hooks, but excluding poles, may be left in or on coastal waters between the hours of 1:00 p.m. on Friday through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday of each week, except that attended sail lines are excluded from the restrictions imposed by this clause. Under the authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.206(b), in the event small craft advisories or higher marine weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service are in place at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, trotlines may remain in the water until 6:00 p.m. on Friday. If small craft advisories are in place at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, trotlines may remain in the water until Saturday. When small craft advisories are lifted by 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, trotlines must be removed by 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. When smallcraft advisories are lifted by 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, trotlines must be removed by 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. When small craft advisories or higher marine weather advisories are still in place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, trotlines may remain in the water through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. It is a violation to tend, bait, or harvest fish or any other aquatic life from trotlines during the period that trotline removal requirements are suspended under this provision for adverse weather conditions. For purposes of enforcement, the geographic area customarily covered by marine weather advisories will be delineated by department policy.

                                          (iii) It is unlawful to fish for commercial purposes with:

                                                   (I) more than 20 trotlines at one time;

                                                   (II) any trotline that is not marked with yellow flagging attached to stakes or with a floating yellow buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width attached to end fixtures;

                                                   (III) any trotline that is not marked with yellow flagging attached to stakes or with a yellow buoy bearing the commercial finfish fisherman’s license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to end fixtures;

                                                   (IV) any trotline that is marked with yellow flagging or with a buoy bearing a commercial finfish fisherman’s license plate number other than the commercial finfish fisherman’s license plate number displayed on the finfish fishing boat;

                                          (iv) It is unlawful to fish for non-commercial purposes with:

                                                   (I) more than 1 trotline at any time; or

                                                   (II) any trotline that is not marked with a floating yellow buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width, bearing a two-inch wide stripe of contrasting color, attached to end fixtures.

                         (23)[(22)] Umbrella net.

                                  (A) Only non-game fish may be taken with an umbrella net.

                                   (B) It is unlawful to use an umbrella net with the area within the frame exceeding 16 square feet.

         §57.976. Importation of Aquatic Animal Life[Possession of Wildlife Resource; Importation].

                 [(a) Possession of wildlife resource. A person may give, leave, receive, or possess any species of legally taken wildlife resource, or a part of the resource, that is required to have a tag or permit attached or is protected by a bag or possession limit, if the wildlife resource is accompanied by a wildlife resource document from the person who killed or caught the aquatic resource. An wildlife resource may be possessed without a WRD by the person who took the wildlife resource, provided the person is in compliance with all other applicable provisions of this subchapter and the Parks and Wildlife Code. The properly executed wildlife resource document shall accompany the wildlife resource until it reaches the possessor’s permanent residence and is finally processed. The wildlife resource document must contain the following information:]

                         [(1) the name, signature, address, and fishing license number, as required, of the person who killed or caught the wildlife resource;]

                         [(2) the name of the person receiving the wildlife resource;]

                         [(3) a description of the wildlife resource (number and type of species or parts);]

                         [(4) the date the wildlife resource was killed or caught; and]

                         [(5) the location where the wildlife resource was killed or caught (name of ranch; area; lake, bay or stream; and county).]

                 [(b) Importation.]

                         (a)(1)] No person may import into this state or possess an aquatic wildlife resource taken outside this state, unless the person possessing the aquatic wildlife resource produces upon demand by a game warden a valid fishing, or other applicable license, stamp, tag, permit, or document for the state or country in which the wildlife resource was legally taken.

                         (b)(2)] A person possessing a wildlife resource under this section must produce upon demand by a game warden a valid driver’s license or personal identification certificate.

                          (c)(3)] Any person may possess a wildlife resource killed outside this state that is listed in this state as threatened or endangered, provided the person possesses proof that the animal or bird was lawfully killed.

                        (d)  No person in this state may possess aquatic animal life taken in the Exclusive Economic Zone:

                                    (1) during a closed season provided by federal law;

                                    (2) within a protected length limit or in excess of the daily bag limit established by federal law; or

                                    (3) with any gear or device prohibited by federal law.

         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 may 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) For all wildlife resources taken for personal consumption and for which there is a possession limit, the possession limit shall not apply after the wildlife resource has reached the possessor’s permanent residence and is finally processed.

                 (b)[(a)] The possession limit does not apply to fish in the possession of or stored by a person who has an invoice or sales ticket showing the name and address of the seller, number of fish by species, date of the sale, and other information required on a sales ticket or invoice.

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

                         (1) Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit on game and non-game fish except as otherwise provided in this subchapter.

                         (2) For flounder, the possession limit is the daily bag limit.

                         (3) The bag limit for a guided fishing party is equal to the total number of persons in the boat licensed to fish or otherwise exempt from holding a license minus each fishing guide and fishing guide deckhand multiplied by the bag limit for each species harvested.

                         (4) A person may give, leave, receive, or possess any species of legally taken wildlife resource, or a part of the resource, that is required to have a tag or permit attached or is protected by a bag or possession limit, if the wildlife resource is accompanied by a wildlife resource document (WRD) from the person who took the wildlife resource, provided the person is in compliance with all other applicable provisions of this subchapter and the Parks and Wildlife Code.  The properly executed WRD document shall accompany the wildlife resource until it reaches the possessor’s permanent residence and is finally processed.  The WRD must contain the following information:

                                   (A)  the name, signature, address, and fishing license number, as required of the person who killed or caught the wildlife resource;

                                   (B)  the name of the person receiving the wildlife resource;

                                   (C)  a description of the wildlife resource (number and type of species or parts); and

                                   (D) the location where the wildlife resource was killed or caught (name of ranch; area; lake, bay or stream; and county).

                         (5)[(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)(5)

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

No limit

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

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.

                  (d)[(c)] Exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits shall be as follows:

                         (1) Freshwater species.

Figure: 31 TAC §57.981(d)(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.

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 (largemouth bass); no limit for spotted bass.

It is unlawful to retain largemouth 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), Granbury (Hood), Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, Young), and Ratcliff (Houston).

5

16

Lakes Kurth (Angelina) and [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 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), Naconiche (Nacogdoches), 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.

Lake Jacksonville (Cherokee) 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), 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), Lady Bird (Travis) Mill Creek (Van Zandt), Murvaul (Panola), Pinkston (Shelby), Timpson (Shelby), 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), 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: striped and white bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.

Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and 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.

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), Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby), and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge.

25 (in any combination)

No limit

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) Saltwater species.

Figure: 31 TAC §57.981(c)(2)

Species

Daily Bag

Minimum Length (Inches)

Special Regulation

Seatrout, spotted.

All inside waters of the Lower Laguna Madre south of marker 21.

5*

15

25**

*Special Regulation: The daily bag limit of 5 is the possession limit allowed for spotted seatrout. **Special Regulation: One spotted seatrout greater than 25 inches may be retained per day.

         §57.982. Crabs and Ghost Shrimp.

                 (a) – (b) (No change.)

                 (c) It is unlawful to:

                         (1)- (5) (No change.)

                         (6) possess more than 20 ghost shrimp (Callichiris islagrande, [formerly Callianassa islagrande]) per person.

                 (d) – (e) (No change.)

         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

         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 may 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) The possession limit applies[does not apply] to all aquatic animal life[fish] in the possession of or stored by any person, but does not apply to aquatic animal life that has been lawfully obtained and for which a person [who has] possesses an invoice or sales ticket showing the name and address of the seller or person from whom the aquatic animal life was obtained, the amount of aquatic animal life by number and species[number of fish by species], date of the sale, and any other information required on a sales ticket or invoice.

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

                         (1) Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit on game fish,[ and] non-game fish, and shellfish, except as provided in this subchapter.

                         (2) – (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.

No limit[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

No limit

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.

No limit[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

         §57.996. Crabs and Ghost Shrimp.

                 (a) Bag, possession and size limits.

                         (1) It is unlawful while fishing on public waters to have in possession crabs or ghost shrimp in excess of the daily bag limit as established for those waters.

                         (2) There are no bag, possession, or size limits on crabs or ghost shrimp except as provided in this section.

                         (3) It is unlawful to:

                                  (A) possess egg-bearing (sponge) crabs or stone crabs;

                                  (B) possess blue crabs less than five inches in width (measured across the widest point of the body from tip of spine to tip of spine) except that not more than 5.0%, by number, of undersized crabs may be possessed for bait purposes only, if placed in a separate container at the time of taking;

                                  (C) remove or possess the left claw from a stone crab (each retained claw must be at least 2-1/2 inches long as measured from the tip of the immovable claw to the first joint behind the claw);

                                  (D) fail to return immediately a stone crab to the waters where caught;

                                  (E) buy or sell a female crab that has its abdominal apron detached; or

                                  (F) possess ghost shrimp (Callichiris islagrande[, formerly Callianassa islagrande]) for commercial purposes.

                 (b) It is unlawful to place, fish, or leave a crab trap or crab trap component in the coastal waters of the state from the third Friday in February for 10 consecutive days.

                 (c) There are no places closed for the taking of crabs, except as listed within this section.

         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


Work Session Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter:  Mitch Lockwood

Work Session
Interstate Transportation of Deer through Texas
January 23, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks permission to publish proposed rules governing the interstate transport of deer through Texas by persons who are in compliance with federal rules authorizing interstate transport of captive cervids.  The proposed rules would require persons eligible to transport captive cervids under federal law to notify the department and furnish appropriate shipping and identification information prior to entering the state.

II.      Discussion:  Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.021, the Commission is authorized to regulate the possession of a game animal.  Under §61.052, the Commission is required to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to possess game animals and the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to possess game animals.  Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter L, the Commission is authorized to regulate the possession of deer held in captivity under a deer breeder’s permit.

Current regulations prohibit the possession of a live deer in this state unless that person possesses a valid permit issued by the department under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapters C, E, L, or R.

Recent federal rulemaking has created a federal Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management infrastructure that has the consequence of allowing the interstate transport of captive cervids by persons who meet federal herd-certification requirements.  The federal action, which is already in effect (77 FR 35542–35571), preempts the department’s authority to prohibit the transport of farmed cervids through the state.  However, the federal action does not preempt the state’s authority to prohibit the importation of cervids into the state.  For this reason, it is necessary for the department to amend the current rules to allow the interstate transport of captive cervids through Texas by persons who are allowed to do so under federal law.  However, because the department cannot disregard the potential threat to native and farmed deer in the state posed by deer being transported through the state from other states, the department believes it is prudent to promulgate rules that require specific actions to be undertaken by persons who desire to transport deer through Texas.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Work Session Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

INTERSTATE TRANSPORT OF DEER THROUGH TEXAS

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

 1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposed an amendment to §65.602, concerning Permit Requirement and Permit Privileges, and new §65.905, concerning Interstate Transport of Deer through Texas.

         The proposed amendment to §65.602 would create an exception to the provisions of subsection (a), which is necessary in order to prevent conflict with proposed new §65.905.

         Proposed new §65.905 would stipulate the conditions under which persons may possess white-tailed or mule deer in Texas without a permit issued by the department under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C, E, L, or R.

         The provisions of 31 TAC Chapter 65, Subchapter T govern the possession of deer under a deer breeder permit. Under that subchapter, §65.602, no person may possess a live deer in this state unless that person possesses a valid permit issued by the department under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapters C, E, L, or R. Further, also under Subchapter T, §65.611(f), no person in Texas may possess a deer acquired from an out-of-state source or import or attempt to import deer from an out-of-state source. The latter rule was promulgated in 2005 to address the threat to wild and farmed deer in Texas posed by Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). In 2010, the rule was amended to clarify that it was also intended to prevent the introduction or spread of other diseases, including bluetongue virus, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Malignant Catarrhal Fever, and Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (35 TexReg 252). The department on several occasions has refused to allow the transportation of captive cervids through Texas on the basis of protecting the state’s wild and farmed deer populations from disease.

         Recent federal rulemaking has created a federal CWD-management infrastructure that has the consequence of allowing the interstate transport of captive cervids by persons who meet federal herd-certification requirements. The federal action, which is already in effect (77 FR 35542–35571), preempts the department’s authority to close its borders to the transport of farmed cervids through the state. For this reason, it is necessary for the department to amend the current rules to allow the interstate transport of captive cervids through Texas by persons who are allowed to do so under federal law. However, because the department cannot disregard the potential threat to native and farmed deer in the state posed by deer entering the state from other states, the department believes it is prudent to promulgate rules that require specific actions to be undertaken by persons who desire to transport deer through Texas.

         Proposed new §65.905 would set forth the requirements a person would be required to meet in order to transport or possess deer in Texas without a permit issued by the department. The proposed new rule would apply only to the extent that department rules regarding the importation and/or transport through the state of white-tailed and mule deer not possessed under a permit issued by the department are preempted under the provisions of 9 CFR §81.5. It is the intent of the department to allow the entry and transport through Texas only those deer that are lawfully qualified for interstate transport under federal law and to deny entry and transport to all other deer.

         Proposed new §65.905 (1)(A)– (D) would require deer transported through Texas to be confined at all times in a sealed vehicle and would prohibit both the release of deer in Texas and the commingling of deer with any other susceptible species while in Texas. It is intuitively obvious that the optimum method of reducing the disease threat posed by deer originating from an out-of-state source (absent a prohibition on entry) is to require confinement and prohibit contact with other animals. In order to verify that deer are confined at all times, the proposed rule would require trailer and/vehicles used to confine deer to be sealed with a mechanical security seal. Such seals are common in the trucking, container, and rail freight businesses. Proposed new paragraph (1)(E) would require a person to notify the department and furnish certain information regarding dates, vehicles and trailers, cargo, seal and personnel identification, and route not less than 24 nor more than 36 hours in advance of entering the state while in possession of deer. The department considers that optimum vigilance in protecting the state’s wildlife resources is preserved when the department has certain specific prior knowledge that deer from an out-of-state source are to be transported through the state. By requiring particular information regarding the date, cargo, route, description of vehicles and trailers, cargo, seals, and on-site personnel, the department is able to quickly determine the status of any deer encountered in the act of transport.

         Proposed new paragraph (2) would require a person in possession of deer under the provisions of the subsection to possess an authorization number issued by the department at all times the person is in Texas while possession of deer without a permit. The provision is necessary to provide a method for validating that a person in fact complied with the notification requirements of paragraph (1).

         Proposed new paragraph (3) would require persons transporting deer through the state under the provisions of the section to immediately notify the department in the event that any deer escape confinement while in the state of Texas, a seal on a trailer or vehicle used to transport deer under the provisions of this section must be removed for any reason, or any condition or event occurs that causes the person in possession of deer to alter the route being taken or the schedule reported to the department under paragraph (1). The department considers that things do not always go as planned and that it is necessary to notify the department when they don’t.

2. Fiscal Note.

          Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the proposed amendment and new rule are in effect there will be no fiscal implications for the department as a result of enforcing or administering the rules. The rules will be enforced and administered by existing personnel.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Lockwood also has determined that for each of the first five years that the proposed amendment and new rule are in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the protection of native and farmed deer for enjoyment by the public.

         (B) 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 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 there will be minimal adverse economic impacts on small businesses or microbusinesses as a result of the proposed amendment and new rule, consisting of the cost of purchasing mechanical seals for tailgates and doors on trailers and vehicles used to confine deer. The department has no method for estimating how many small or microbusinesses might be affected by the proposed amendment, because the Texas border has been closed to the importation of white-tailed and mule deer for any purpose for over 10 years. However, the cost of most mechanical security seals is less than $5 per seal. Thus, the adverse economic impact to small and microbusinesses is estimated to be approximately $5 per tailgate or door.

         The department considered several alternatives to the proposed amendment and new rule that would lessen or eliminate the negative economic impacts to small and microbusinesses and still achieve the purpose of the rules. The department considered elimination of the sealed-trailer requirement. This alternative was rejected because the department must have a method of determining that a trailer or vehicle used to confine deer has not been opened while in or moving through the state. The department also considered not promulgating the rule at all. This alternative was rejected because the department has an affirmative duty to protect the wildlife resources of the state. The department also considered, in lieu of the proposed amendment, a rule that would require department personnel to escort shipments of deer to ensure that deer were not released or commingled. This alternative was rejected because the department does not have the resources to execute it, which defeats the purpose of the rule.

         (C) The proposed amendment and new rule will result in negative economic impacts to persons required to comply, namely the approximately $5 per tailgate or door for the purchase of security seals.

         (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 Texas 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, as the rules would not affect private real property.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Mitch Lockwood, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4363; e-mail: mitch.lockwood@tpwd.state.tx.us.

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendment is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.021, which prohibits the possession of a game animal except by proclamation of the commission; and §61.052, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to possess game animals and the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to possess game animals.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

6. Text.

         §65.602. Permit Requirement and Permit Privileges.

                 (a) Except as provided in §65.905 of this title (relating to Interstate Transport of Deer through Texas, no)[No] person may possess a live deer in this state unless that person possesses a valid permit issued by the department under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapters C, E, L, or R.

                 (b) (No change.)

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be a valid exercise of the agency’s authority.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on

         The amendment is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.021, which prohibits the possession of a game animal except by proclamation of the commission; and §61.052, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to possess game animals and the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to possess game animals.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

         §65.905. Interstate Transport of Deer through Texas. Only to the extent that department rules regarding the importation and/or transport through the state of white-tailed and mule deer not possessed under a permit issued by the department are preempted under the provisions of 9 CFR §81.5, this section shall apply.

                         (1) A person without a permit issued by the department may transit the state while in possession of live deer lawfully obtained in another state, provided:

                                  (A) the deer are confined at all times;

                                  (B) the deer are not released;

                                  (C) the deer are not commingled with any other susceptible species, as defined by 4 TAC §40(a)(3) while in the state of Texas;

                                  (D) the doors and/or tailgate of any trailer or vehicle used to confine the deer during transport have been secured with a numbered or otherwise uniquely identified, tamper-resistant, mechanical security seal prior to entering the state of Texas, which seal(s) shall not be removed while the vehicle or trailer is in the state of Texas; and

                                  (E) the person or the person’s representative has contacted the department by notifying the Law Enforcement Communications Center in Austin not less than 24 nor more than 36 hours in advance of entering the state while in possession of deer and provided to the department:

                                          (i) the dates and times that the person expects to enter and depart the state of Texas while in possession of deer without a permit issued by the department;

                                          (ii)  the specific points of origin and destination of each deer being transported;

                                          (iii) the species and quantity of deer being transported;

                                          (iv) the specific route the transport will follow, including the points at which the transporter will enter and depart the state of Texas;

                                          (v) a description of the make, model, and color of all vehicles and trailers to be employed in the transport, including license plate numbers;

                                          (vi) the unique identifier of the security seal(s) used on each vehicle and/or trailer used to confine deer; and

                                          (vii) the name, drivers license number, and cell phone numbers of any person accompanying the deer while the deer are in the state of Texas.

                         (2) Upon receiving the information required under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the department will issue an authorization number to the person providing the information. It is an offense for any person to possess or transport deer through the state of Texas under the provisions of this section unless the person physically possesses a department-issued authorization number that is valid for the specific act of transport being conducted.

                         (3) A person transporting deer under the provisions of this section shall immediately notify the department in the event that:

                                  (A) any deer escape confinement while in the state of Texas;

                                  (B) a seal on a trailer or vehicle used to transport deer under the provisions of this section must be removed for any reason; or

                                  (C) any condition or event occurs that causes the person in possession of deer to alter the route being taken or the schedule reported to the department under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

         This agency hereby certifies that the emergency adoption has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be a valid exercise of the agency’s authority.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Work Session Agenda Item No. 8
Presenter:  Earl Chilton

Work Session
Overview of Aquatic Invasive Species
January 23, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will provide an overview of aquatic invasive species issues including information about the distribution and impacts of the most problematic species and current resources available for management.

II.      Discussion:  TPWD is responsible for the management of fisheries resources in more than 1,000 public impoundments and 191,000 miles of rivers and streams, totaling 1.63 million acres.  These resources are used by 1.85 million anglers who have a $4.2 billion annual economic impact to the State’s economy, as well as other users such as swimmers, boaters, hunters, skiers, etc.  However, the health of Texas’ freshwater resources and the public’s ability to utilize these resources are threatened by the negative impacts from aquatic invasive species such as hydrilla, giant salvinia, water hyacinth, and zebra mussels.  These species often have significant impacts on outdoor recreation, commerce, and the environment, and they can contribute to costly maintenance and repairs to infrastructure (e.g., water intakes, water management structures, pipelines and boating access to fishable waters).


Work Session Agenda Item No. 9
Presenter:  Ann Bright

Work Session
Rule Review
January 23, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  As required by the Administrative Procedure Act, TPWD is undertaking a review of each TPWD rule under its jurisdiction.  TPWD staff will update the Commission on this process and seek permission to undertake additional actions in connection with this process.

II.      Discussion:  Section 2001.039 of the Texas Government Code requires state agencies to review each rule under its jurisdiction at least once every four years.  The review must include an assessment of whether the reasons for initially adopting a rule continue to exist.  Notice of the proposed review must be published in the Texas Register for public comment.  Following the review, rules must be readopted, adopted with changes, or repealed, based on the review.

The TPWD rule review process normally occurs over three Commission meetings.  In the first meeting, staff seeks permission to begin the rule review process and to publish notice of the rule review in the Texas Register.  In the second meeting, staff seeks permission to publish any proposed rule changes or repeals resulting from the rule review in the Texas Register for public comment.  In the third meeting, staff seeks adoption of proposed rule changes, and adoption of the completed rule review (i.e., readoption of the remaining rules).

In November, staff informed the Commission of the initiation of the review of rules in Chapter 57-Fisheries, Chapter 58-Oysters and Shrimp, and Chapter 65-Wildlife.  Staff has completed the review of those rules and is now seeking permission to publish proposed changes to Chapters 57, 58 and 65 in the Texas Register.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A — Proposed Changes to Chapters 57, 58, 65

Work Session Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit A

Chapter 57-Fisheries

Subchapter A, Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants

§57.113, Exceptions

-        Clarify that grass carp possessed as allowed by permit or regulation must be beheaded and/or gutted.

-        Clarify that grass carp may be taken from public water without a permit if the department’s management objectives have been achieved.

-        Clarify that persons removing prohibited plants from public water by any means must dispose of such plants in accordance with a TPWD-issued permit.

§57.119, Exotic Species Permit: Requirements for Permits

Clarify requirements upon discovery of escapement of harmful or potentially harmful exotic species from a facility.

§57.136, Special Provisions Regarding Water Spinach

Clarify provisions regarding buffer areas surrounding areas where water spinach is cultured, handled, packed, processed, stored, shipped or disposed of.

Subchapter C, Introduction of Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants

§57.251, Definitions

Clarify the definition of “native species.”

Subchapter D, Commercially Protected Finfish

§57.371, Applicability, Commercially Protected Finfish

Clarify the species to which the subchapter applies.

Subchapter E, Permits to Sell Nongame Fish Taken from Public Fresh Water

§57.378, Applicability, Nongame Fishes

Delete Platygobie gracilis from the list of minnows covered by the rule due to the extreme rarity of the species.

§57.380, Permit Application

Delete requirement that permit applications be notarized.

§57.381, Permit Specifications and Requirements

-        Delete requirement that the permit specify the time where permit activity is authorized and the number of game fish allowed to be taken.

-        Replace “location” with “water body” in connection with the requirements regarding where fish may be taken.

§57.382, Harvest and Sales Reports

Change the reporting deadline from December 10 to January 10.

Subchapter F, Collection of Broodfish from Texas Wasters

§57.399, Appeal

Replace the appeal process with a review panel process.

Subchapter H, Fishery Management Plans

§57.691, Fishery Management Plans

Add Oyster Fishery Management Plan and Shrimp Fishery Management Plan to the list of fishery management plans adopted by reference.

Subchapter K, Scientific Areas

§57.920, Nine Mile Hole State Scientific Area

Delete section due to the expiration of the Nine-Mile Hole scientific area designation.

Subchapter L, Aquatic Vegetation Management

§57.932, State Aquatic Vegetation Plan

-        Modify requirement to publish changes to TPWD’s vegetation management guidance document in the Texas Register for comment to apply to major modifications, but not to minor modifications such as changes of address, correction of typographical errors, addition of species or approved herbicides.

-        Add provision authorizing application of herbicides by TPWD or TPWD contractors with 24-hours notice so long as the treatment is at least two river miles or two lake miles away from an active potable water intake.

Subchapter N, Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation

(Rule review changes to Subchapter N will be addressed in connection with the Statewide Proclamation to be proposed for adoption in March 2013.)

Chapter 58-Oysters, Shrimp, Crabs and Finfish

Title

Change chapter title from “Oysters and Shrimp” to “Oysters, Shrimp, Crabs and Finfish” to more accurately reflect subjects addressed in the chapter.

Subchapter A, Statewide Oyster Fishery Proclamation

§58.22, Commercial Fishing

§57.23, Non-commercial (Recreational) Fishing

Add provisions reiterating that open seasons run from November 1 through April 30 and legal oystering hours run from sunrise to 3:30 p.m.

Chapter 65-Wildlife

Subchapter Q, Statewide Fur-Bearing Animal Proclamation

§65.375, Open Seasons; Means and Methods

Modify references to “conibear-style trap” to “body-gripping trap.”

Non-Substantive Changes

In addition to the changes listed above, throughout Chapters 57, 58, and 65, staff propose to make a number of minor changes, including but not limited to the following:  change in taxonomic references to species;  changes to eliminate or modify outdated references to department positions or programs;  changes to correct grammar and punctuation; addition of statutory language to rules where omission may result in confusion;  elimination of repetitive or unnecessary language; and updates of references to other agencies.


Work Session Agenda Item No. 11
Presenter:  Corky Kuhlmann

Work Session
Land Acquisition – El Paso County
January 23, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has been offered approximately 600 acres as an addition to Franklin Mountains State Park (Park).

II.      Discussion:  El Paso Public Service Board (PSB) has offered TPWD approximately 600 acres at a bargain sale as an addition to Franklin Mountains State Park.  The tract is located on the western side of the Park in a highly desirable area of development for the city of El Paso.  This addition would be a buffer from pending new growth and would offer additional recreational opportunities for the public.

Staff would like to begin the process of negotiating with the PSB provisions acceptable to TPWD for acquiring this tract and providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding the acquisition of approximately 600 acres of land as an addition to Franklin Mountains State Park.

Attachments — 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Work Session Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit A 

Location Map
El Paso County 


Work Session Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map
Franklin Mountains State Park 


Work Session Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit C

Site Map
Franklin Mountains SP


Work Session Agenda Item No. 14
Presenter:  Corky Kuhlmann

Work Session
Land Acquisition
Yoakum, Cochran and Terry Counties
Yoakum Dunes Preserve
January 23, 2013

 

I.       Executive Summary:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has been offered a donation to acquire additional land to be added to Yoakum Dunes Preserve (YDP).

II.          Discussion:  TPWD has been given a donation that will be matched with Federal funds for the acquisition of Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat, to be added to YDP, which was created as a safe haven for lesser prairie chickens, whose habitat beyond the preserve faces pressure from energy development and fragmentation of the land, increased conversion of native grassland to cropland and unsustainable grazing.

TPWD staff would search Yoakum, Cochran and Terry counties for land that is suitable prairie chicken habitat with a willing seller to acquire a property that can be managed in conjunction with YDP.

Staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding the acquisition of 4000-5000 acres of land as an addition to Yoakum Dunes Preserve.

Attachments — 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Work Session Agenda Item No. 14
Exhibit A

Yoakum, Cochran, and Terry Counties


Work Session Agenda Item No. 14
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map
Yoakum Dunes Preserve


Work Session Agenda Item No. 14
Exhibit C

Site Map