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Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Ken Kurzawski

Action
2015-2016 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation
March 26, 2015

I.       Executive Summary:  This item seeks adoption of proposed changes to the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations. The proposed amendments and new section would:

Inland Fisheries

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.

At the Work Session meeting on January 21, 2015, staff was authorized to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed rules appeared in the February 20, 2015 issue of the Texas Register (40 TexReg 787).  A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

III.       RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts §§57.974, 57.981, and 57.992, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 20, 2015, issue of the Texas Register (40 TexReg 787).”

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Fishing Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.974, 57.981, and 57.992, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

         The proposed amendment to §57.974, concerning Reservoir Boundaries, would clarify the reservoir boundary of Falcon International Reservoir. The proposed amendments to §57.981 and §57.992 would create an exception to the statewide bag limit for alligator gar on Falcon International Reservoir; therefore, it is necessary to specify the exact geographic extent to which the exception would apply. The proposed amendment would establish the boundary of Falcon International Reservoir as “all impounded waters of the Rio Grande from the Falcon Dam upstream to the Zapata/Webb County line.”

         The proposed amendments to §57.981 and §57.992 concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits (for recreational fishing and commercial fishing, respectively), include a change to eliminate the tabular format embedded within the current rule and replace it with the standard structural format typical of other regulations, adjusted to eliminate redundancies. Currently, subsections(c)(5)(d) of §57.981 and subsection (b)(4) of §57.992 refer to graphics. The graphics consist of tables specifying seasons and bag limits.  The proposed amendments move these regulations from graphics/tables to a standard text format.  This change is intended to eliminate problematic aspects associated with the production and submission of graphics. Except as noted below, the provisions shown as being added by this change are nonsubstantive.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981(d)(1), concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits, within the Statewide Recreational Fishing Proclamation, would modify harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Braunig and Calaveras reservoirs in Bexar County. Currently, harvest regulations for largemouth bass include an exception to the statewide size and bag limits for Braunig and Calaveras reservoirs. Current harvest regulations for largemouth bass on these reservoirs consist of an 18-inch minimum length and five fish daily bag limit. By eliminating the exception for these two reservoirs, the length limit would be changed to the statewide 14-inch minimum limit. The current regulations were implemented in 1995, and the reservoirs were managed for trophy bass. In the 1990s, the bass populations began to exhibit reproduction problems, and bass stocking and habitat improvement was implemented to improve the populations. Despite the regulation change, habitat improvement projects, and stocking, the largemouth bass populations and fisheries at both reservoirs have not improved.  Since 1999, few bass 18 inches and larger have been collected in department electrofishing samples. In recent surveys of anglers, only 4-5 % of angling effort was expended for bass at both reservoirs, and angler catch rates were poor. The 18-inch limit did not improve angling in the reservoirs and the proposed change is expected to have minimal impact on the bass populations or angling in either reservoir.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981(d) would also modify harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Lake Nasworthy in Tom Green County. Current harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Lake Nasworthy consist of the statewide standard of 14-inch minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag limit. The proposed change would add Lake Nasworthy to lakes and reservoirs listed in §57.981(d)(C)(vii) for which there is a 14- to 18-inch slot limit (no harvest between 14 and 18 inches). Largemouth bass in Lake Nasworthy have had a history of slow growth. The relatively stable water levels have resulted in stable and abundant bass recruitment. Since at least 2004 bass age and growth data has consistently shown a bottleneck at approximately 12-14 inches. Angling activity at the reservoir consists of bank anglers and anglers who do not find one species more desirable than others. Local staff made presentations to three San Angelo bass clubs in 2013-2014 about the bass growth problems and potential regulation changes, and the bass anglers support making a regulation change. They also expressed willingness to harvest fish under 14 inches if it would help the overall population.  Respondents in an online opinion survey were receptive to potential changes (68% supported a 14-18 inch slot length limit). The proposed regulation would allow harvest of fish in the bottleneck size range, which could alleviate the intraspecific competition that is restricting growth. The regulation would also protect more of the larger bass (14-18 inches) while allowing some harvest and retention of bass for tournament weigh-ins. Size structure of the bass population would become more balanced with more fish over 14 inches.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would affect harvest regulations for smallmouth bass on O.H. Ivie Reservoir in Coleman, Concho, and Runnels counties. Current harvest regulations for smallmouth bass include an exception to the statewide size and bag limits for O.H. Ivie Reservoir and two other water bodies consisting of an 18-inch minimum length and three-fish daily bag limit. By eliminating O.H. Ivie Reservoir from this exception (contained in proposed §57.981(d)(1)(D)(i)),  the limits on O.H. Ivie would be changed to the statewide 14-inch minimum limit and five-fish daily bag. O. H. Ivie Reservoir was stocked with smallmouth bass once after its impoundment in 1990 and a small population has been present since then. Smallmouth bass are encountered sporadically in fish population surveys and anglers do not specifically target the species. Because abundance of smallmouth bass is low and the fishery is minimal, the 18-inch limit on smallmouth bass has not been effective. O. H. Ivie bass anglers have expressed the desire to retain incidentally-caught smallmouth bass for tournament weigh-ins, but they rarely catch any smallmouth bass over 18 inches. Changing the regulation to the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit would allow more incidentally-caught smallmouth bass to be entered into fishing tournaments, increasing angler satisfaction with little to no impact on the overall fisheries at the reservoir.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 would also modify harvest regulations for alligator gar for Falcon International Reservoir. An exception to the current daily bag limit of one alligator gar as specified in §57.981(c)(5)(I), would be added as §57.981(d)(1)(N) to allow a recreational daily bag limit of five alligator gar for Falcon International Reservoir. The increased bag limit would be in effect in all impounded waters of the Rio Grande from the Falcon Dam upstream to the Zapata/Webb County line. Anglers and stakeholders have expressed interest in management of alligator gar in recent years. In response, TPWD conducted a comprehensive study in 2014 to obtain biological information necessary to make management recommendations for the species at this locale. Most (88%) anglers who target the species reside within 1.5 hours of the reservoir. The fishery is primarily harvest oriented, and harvesting a trophy-size alligator gar was not a highly important motivation. Most anglers (gar and non-gar anglers) desire an increase in the daily bag limit. A simulation model was used to assess the potential impact of harvest rate on the sustainability of the population and trophy-size fish. Harvest rate is currently estimated to be 1% or less, based the estimated gar harvest on Falcon Lake and in comparison with harvest data from nearby Choke Canyon Reservoir.  A substantial buffer exists between the current harvest rate and the harvest rate at which overfishing might occur (7%). An increase in the daily bag limit poses minimal risk to population sustainability and trophy fish abundance and would allow anglers to harvest more alligator gar. The proposed amendment also creates a five-year limit to evaluate the effect of the provision.

         Also, the proposed amendment to §57.981 alters subsection (c)(5)(I)(iv) to clarify that in addition the prohibition on the “take” of alligator gar during May from Lake Texoma from the U.S. 377 bridge (Willis Bridge) upstream to the I.H. 35 bridge, no person “shall fish for or seek to take” alligator gar in that area.

         The proposed amendment to §57.992 would modify harvest regulations for alligator gar for Falcon International Reservoir. An exception to the current daily bag limit of one alligator gar as specified in §57.992(b)(4)(G)(i)(II), would be added as §57.992(b)(4)(G)(i)(I)  to allow a commercial daily bag limit of five alligator gar for Falcon International Reservoir, for the same reasons contained in the discussion of the proposed amendment to §57.981.

         In addition to the formatting changes discussed elsewhere in this preamble, the proposed amendment to §57.992 concerning commercial bag, possession, and length limits alters subsection (b)(4)(F) to clarify that in addition the prohibition on the “take” of alligator gar during May from Lake Texoma from the U.S. 377 bridge (Willis Bridge) upstream to the I.H. 35 bridge, no person “shall fish for or seek to take” alligator gar in that area.

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.

         There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (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 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 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.

3. 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.texas.gov; Jeremy Leitz (Coastal Fisheries) at (512) 389-4333, e-mail: jeremy.leitz@tpwd.texas.gov; or Brandi Reeder (Law Enforcement) at (512) 389-4853, e-mail brandi.reeder@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

4.  Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §47.004 and §47.005, which authorize the commission to adopt rules governing the issuance and use of resident and nonresident fishing guide licenses; Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be 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 amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 47, 61, and 67.

6. Rule Text.

         §57.974. Reservoir Boundaries. Reservoir boundaries for daily bag, possession, and length limits.

                 (1) – (4) (No change.)

                 (5) Falcon International Reservoir in Starr and Zapata counties comprises all impounded waters of the Rio Grande from the Falcon Dam upstream to the Zapata/Webb County line.

                 (6)[(5)] Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County comprises all impounded waters within the Texas Municipal Power Agency property boundaries.

                 (7)[(6)] Inks Lake in Burnet and Llano counties comprises all impounded waters of the Colorado River from the Roy Inks dam (Inks Lake dam) upstream to the Lake Buchanan dam.

                 (8)[(7)] Lake Conroe in Montgomery and Walker counties comprises all impounded waters of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River from the Lake Conroe dam upstream to F.M. Road 1790 bridge.

                 (9)[(8)] Lake Georgetown in Williamson County comprises all impounded waters of the North Fork of the San Gabriel River from the Lake Georgetown dam upstream to U.S. Highway 183 bridge.

                 (10)[(9)] Lake Limestone in Leon, Limestone, and Robertson counties comprises all impounded waters of the Navasota River from the Lake Limestone dam upstream to the Fort Parker State Park Lake dam.

                 (11)[(10)] Lake Livingston in Leon, Houston, Madison, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties comprises all impounded waters of the Trinity River from the Lake Livingston dam upstream to the lock and dam near State Highway 7.

                 (12)[(11)] Lake Lyndon B. Johnson in Burnet and Llano counties comprises all impounded waters of the Colorado River from the Alvin Wirtz Dam (Lake Lyndon B. Johnson dam) upstream to the Roy Inks dam (Inks Lake dam) including the Llano River upstream to the State Highway 16 bridge and Sandy Creek upstream to the State Highway 71 bridge.

                 (13)[(12)] Lake Marble Falls in Burnet County comprises all impounded waters of the Colorado River from the Max Starcke dam (Lake Marble Falls dam) upstream to the Alvin Wirtz dam (Lake Lyndon B. Johnson dam).

                 (14)[(13)] Lake Murvaul in Panola County comprises all impounded waters of Murvaul Creek Bayou upstream from the Lake Murvaul dam and Murvaul Creek Bayou downstream from the dam to the Farm to Market Road 1970 bridge.

                 (15)[(14)] Lake O’the Pines in Camp, Marion, Morris, and Upshur Counties comprises all impounded waters of Big Cypress Creek from Ferrell’s Bridge dam (the Lake O’the Pines dam) upstream to the U.S. Highway 259 bridge.

                 (16)[(15)] Lake Palestine in Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson, Smith, and Van Zandt counties comprises all impounded waters of the Neches River from the Blackburn Crossing dam (the Lake Palestine dam) upstream to F.M. Road 279 bridge including Kickapoo and Flat Creeks in Henderson County.

                 (17)[(16)] Lake Pat Mayse in Lamar County comprises all impounded waters of Sanders Creek from Pat Mayse Lake Dam upstream to County Road 35610.

                 (18)[(17)] Lake Somerville in Burleson, Lee, Milam, and Washington Counties comprises all impounded waters of Yegua, East Yegua, and Middle Yegua Creeks upstream from the Lake Somerville dam.

                 (19)[(18)] Lake Travis in Burnet and Travis Counties comprises all impounded waters of the Colorado River from the Mansfield dam (Lake Travis dam) upstream to the Max Starcke dam (Lake Marble Falls dam) including the Pedernales River upstream to the Hammetts Crossing-Hamilton Pool Road bridge.

                 (20)[(19)] Purtis Creek State Park Lake in Henderson and Van Zandt Counties comprises all waters within the Purtis Creek State Park boundaries.

                 (21)[(20)] Toledo Bend Reservoir in Newton, Sabine, and Shelby counties comprises all impounded waters of the Sabine River from the Toledo Bend Reservoir Dam upstream to the Texas/Louisiana state line.

         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 take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

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

         §57.981. Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

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

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

                          (1) – (4) (No change.)

                         (5) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the statewide daily bag and length limits shall be as follows.

                                  (A) Amberjack, greater.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 34 inches.

                                          (iii) Maximum length limit: No limit.

                                  (B) Bass:

                                          (i) The daily bag limit for largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, and Guadalupe is 5, in any combination.

                                          (ii) Guadalupe and spotted.

                                                   (I) No minimum length limit.

                                                   (II) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iii) Largemouth and smallmouth.

                                                   (I) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                                   (II) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) Striped (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.            

                                          (v) White.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 25.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

                                                  (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (C) Catfish:

                                          (i) channel and blue (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) flathead.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iii) gafftopsail.

                                                   (I) No daily bag limit.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (D) Cobia.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 2.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 37 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (E) Crappie, black and white (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 25.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (F) Drum, black.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) One black drum over 52 inches may be retained per day as part of the five-fish bag limit.

                                  (G) Drum, red.       

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 3.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 20 inches.

                                          (iii) Maximum length limit: 28 inches.

                                          (iv) 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.

                                  (H) Flounder: all species (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) During November, lawful means are restricted to pole-and-line only and the bag and possession limit for flounder is two. For the first 14 days in December, the bag and possession limit is two, and flounder may be taken by any legal means.

                                  (I) Gar, alligator.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) During May, no person shall fish for, take, or seek to 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 I.H. 35 bridge.

                                  (J) Grouper.

                                          (i) Gag.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 2.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 22 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Goliath. The take of Goliath grouper is prohibited.

                                  (K) Mackerel.

                                          (i) King.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 2.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 27 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Spanish.            

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 15.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (L) Marlin.

                                          (i) Blue.           

                                                   (I) No daily bag limit.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 131 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) White.

                                                   (I) No daily bag limit.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 86 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (M) Mullet: all species (including hybrids, and subspecies).

                                          (i) No daily bag limit.

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) From October through January, no mullet more than 12 inches in length may be taken from public waters or possessed on board a vessel.

                                  (N) Sailfish.

                                          (i) No daily bag limit.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 84 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (O) Saugeye.  

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 3.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (P) Seatrout, spotted.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit:

                                                   (I) for all waters south of F.M. 457 in Matagorda County: 5;

                                                   (II) for all waters north of F.M. 457 in Matagorda County: 10.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 15 inches.

                                          (iii) Maximum length limit: 25 inches.

                                          (iv) Only one spotted seatrout greater than 25 inches may be retained per day. A spotted seatrout retained under this subclause counts as part of the daily bag and possession limit.

                                  (Q) Shark: all species (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                          (i) all species other than Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead and the species listed in item (ii)(IV) of this subparagraph:

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 64 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead:

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 24 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                                   (IV) 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:

                                                           (-a-) Atlantic angel;

                                                           (-b-) Basking;

                                                           (-c-) Bigeye sand tiger;

                                                           (-d-) Bigeye sixgill;

                                                           (-e-) Bigeye thresher;

                                                           (-f-) Bignose;

                                                           (-g-) Caribbean reef;

                                                           (-h-) Caribbean sharpnose;

                                                           (-i-) Dusky;

                                                           (-j-) Galapagos;

                                                           (-k-) Longfin mako;        

                                                           (-l-) Narrowtooth;

                                                           (-m-) Night;

                                                           (-n-) Sandbar;

                                                           (-o-) Sand tiger;

                                                           (-p-) Sevengill;

                                                           (-q-) Silky;

                                                           (-r-) Sixgill;

                                                           (-s-) Smalltail;

                                                           (-t-) Whale; and

                                                           (-u-) White.

                                  (R) Sheepshead.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 15 inches.

                                           (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (S) Snapper.

                                          (i) Lane.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: None.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 8 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Red.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 4.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 15 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                                   (IV) 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.

                                          (iii) Vermilion.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: None.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (T) Snook.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 24 inches.

                                          (iii) Maximum length limit: 28 inches.

                                  (U) Tarpon.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                           (ii) Minimum length limit: 85 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (V) Triggerfish, gray.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 20.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 16 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (W) Tripletail.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 3.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 17 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (X) Trout (rainbow and brown trout, including their hybrids and subspecies).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                           (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (Y) Walleye.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) Two walleye of less than 16 inches may be retained per day.

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

                         (1) Freshwater species.

                                  (A) Bass: largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, and Guadalupe
(including their hybrids and subspecies). In all waters in the Lost Maples State Natural Area (Bandera County):

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 0.

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) All angling is limited to catch and release only.

                                  (B) Bass: largemouth and spotted.

                                          (i) Lake Alan Henry (Garza County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5 largemouth or spotted bass in any combination.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of
less than 18 inches in length.

                                          (ii) Caddo Lake (Marion and Harrison counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 8 (in any combination with spotted bass).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 — 18 inch slot limit
(largemouth bass); no limit for spotted bass.

                                                   (III) 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.

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

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 8 (in any combination with spotted
bass).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 inches (largemouth
bass); no limit for spotted bass. Possession limit is 10.

                                  (C) Bass: largemouth.

                                          (i) Conroe (Montgomery and Walker counties), Granbury (Hood County), Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, and Young counties), and Ratcliff (Houston County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 16 inches.  

                                          (ii) Lakes Kurth (Angelina County), and Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.  

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 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.

                                          (iii) Lakes Bellwood (Smith County), Bright (Williamson County), Brushy Creek (Williamson County), Bryan (Brazos County), Casa Blanca (Webb County), Cleburne State Park (Johnson County), Cooper (Delta and Hopkins counties), Fairfield (Freestone County), Gilmer (Upshur County), Marine Creek Reservoir (Tarrant County), Meridian State Park (Bosque County), Naconiche (Nacogdoches County), Old Mount Pleasant City (Titus County), Pflugerville (Travis County), Rusk State Park (Cherokee County), and Welsh (Titus County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.  

                                          (iv) Buck Lake (Kimble County), Lake Kyle (Hays County), and Nelson Park Lake (Taylor County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 0.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) Catch and release only.

                                          (v) Lake Jacksonville (Cherokee County) and O.H. Ivie Reservoir (Coleman, Concho, and Runnels counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III)  It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of
less than 18 inches in length.

                                          (vi) Purtis Creek State Park Lake (Henderson and Van Zandt counties) and Raven (Walker County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 0.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) 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.

                                          (vii) Lakes Bridgeport (Jack and Wise counties), Burke-Crenshaw (Harris County), Davy Crockett (Fannin County), Georgetown (Williamson County), Grapevine (Denton and Tarrant counties), Madisonville (Madison County), Nasworthy (Tom Green), San Augustine City (San Augustine County), and Sweetwater (Nolan County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 — 18 inch
slot limit.

                                                   (III) It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass
between 14 and 18 inches in length.

                                          (viii) Lakes Athens (Henderson County), Bastrop (Bastrop County), Buescher State Park (Bastrop County), Houston County (Houston County), Joe Pool (Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant counties), Lady Bird (Travis County), Mill Creek (Van Zandt County), Murvaul (Panola County), Pinkston (Shelby County), Timpson (Shelby County), Walter E. Long (Travis County), and Wheeler Branch (Somervell County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 — 21 inch
slot limit.

                                                   (III)  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.

                                          (ix) Lakes Fayette County (Fayette County), Gibbons Creek Reservoir (Grimes County), and Monticello (Titus County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 — 24 inch
slot limit.

                                                   (III) 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.

                                          (x) Lake Fork (Wood Rains and Hopkins counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 16 — 24 inch
slot limit.

                                                   (III) 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.

                                  (D) Bass: smallmouth.

                                          (i) Devil’s River (Val Verde County) from State Highway 163 bridge crossing near Juno downstream to Dolan Falls and Wheeler Branch (Somervell County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 3.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

                                          (ii) Lake Meredith (Hutchinson, Moore, and Potter counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 3.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 12 — 15 inch slot limit

                                                   (III) It is unlawful to retain smallmouth bass
between 12 and 15 inches in length.

                                  (E) Bass: striped and white bass their hybrids and subspecies.

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

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) No more than 2 striped bass 30 inches or
greater in length may be retained each day.

                                          (ii) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 10 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) 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.

                                          (iii) Red River (Grayson County) from Denison Dam downstream to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any
combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) 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.

                                          (iv) Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto counties) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. 3278 bridge.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 2 (in any combination).

                                                   (II)Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

                                  (F) Bass: white. Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties), Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties), and Toledo Bend (Newton Sabine and Shelby counties) and Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 25.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: No limit.  

                                  (G) Carp: common. Lady Bird Lake (Travis County).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: No limit.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                          (iii) It is unlawful to retain more than one common
carp of 33 inches or longer per day.

                                  (H) Catfish: blue. Lakes Lewisville (Denton County), Richland-Chambers (Freestone and Navarro counties), and Waco (McLennan County).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination with channel catfish).

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 30-45-inch slot limit.

                                          (iii) 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.

                                  (I) Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids and subspecies.

                                          (i) Lake Kyle (Hays County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 0.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) Catch and release and only.

                                          (ii) Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 50 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.  

                                          (iii) Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto counties) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. 3278 bridge.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 10 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.

                                                   (III) No more than 2 channel or blue catfish 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

                                          (iv) Lakes Kirby (Taylor County) and Palestine (Cherokee,
Anderson, Henderson, and Smith counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 50 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) No more than five catfish 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

                                                   (IV) Possession limit is 50.

                                          (v) Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties) and Toledo Bend (Newton Sabine and Shelby counties) and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 50 (in any combination)

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                   (III) No more than five catfish 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
                                                  (IV) Possession limit is 50.

                                          (vi) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 15 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.

                                                   (III) No more than one blue catfish 30 inches or
greater in length may be retained each day.

                                          (vii) Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County), North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam, and South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.  

                                          (viii) Community fishing lakes.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.  

                                          (ix) Bellwood (Smith County), Dixieland (Cameron County), and Tankersley (Titus County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 12 inches.  

                                  (J) Catfish: flathead.

                                          (i) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) and the Red River (Grayson County) from Denison Dam to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson County).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 20 inches.  

                                          (ii) Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties) and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby) and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 10.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.

                                                   (III) Possession limit: 10.

                                  (K) Crappie: black and white crappie their hybrids and subspecies.

                                          (i) Caddo Lake (Harrison and Marion counties), Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton Sabine and Shelby counties), and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

                                                   (II)Minimum length limit: No limit.  

                                          (ii) Lake Fork (Wood, Rains, and Hopkins counties) and Lake O’ The Pines (Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, and Upshur counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

                                                   (III) From December 1 through the last day in February there is no minimum length limit. All crappie caught during this period must be retained.

                                          (iii) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 37 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

                                                   (III) Possession limit is 50.

                                  (L) Drum, red. Lakes Braunig and Calaveras (Bexar County), Coleto Creek Reservoir (Goliad and Victoria counties), and Fairfield (Freestone County).

                                          (I) Daily bag limit: 3.

                                          (II) Minimum length limit: 20.

                                          (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (M) Gar, alligator. Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata counties).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) The provisions of this subparagraph expire on September 1, 2020.

                                  (N) Shad gizzard and threadfin. Trinity River below Lake Livingston (Polk and San Jacinto counties).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 500 (in any combination).

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) Possession limit: 1000 (in any combination).

                                  (O) Sunfish: all species. Lake Kyle (Hays County).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 0.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                          (iii) Catch and release and only.

                                  (P) Trout: rainbow and brown trout (including hybrids and subspecies).      

                                          (i) Guadalupe River (Comal County) from the second bridge crossing on the River Road upstream to the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. 306.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 18 inches.  

                                          (ii) Guadalupe River (Comal County) from the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. 306 upstream to 800 yards below the Canyon Lake dam.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 12 — 18 inch
slot limit.

                                                   (III) It is unlawful to retain trout between 12 and 18 inches in length. No more than one trout 18 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.

                                  (Q) Walleye. Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 5.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 18.  

                         (2) Saltwater species. There are no exceptions to the provisions established in subsection (c)(5) of this section.

         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 take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be 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) (No change.)

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

                         (1) – (3) (No change.)

                         (4) The statewide daily bag and length limits for commercial fishing shall be as follows.

                                  (A) Amberjack, greater.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                          (ii) Minimum length: 34 inches.

                                          (iii) Maximum length limit: No limit.

                                  (B) Catfish.

                                          (i) channel and blue (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Gaffstopsail.

                                                   (I) No daily bag limit.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (C) Cobia.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 2.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 37 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (D) Drum, black.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: None.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                          (iii) Maximum length limit: 30 inches.

                                  (E) Flounder: all species (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 30. Possession limit is equal to the daily bag limit.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) During November, lawful means are restricted to pole-and-line only and the bag and possession limit for flounder is two. For the first 14 days in December, the bag and possession limit is two, and flounder may be taken by any legal means.

                                  (F) Gar, alligator.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit:

                                                   (I) On Falcon International Reservoir:  5.

                                                   (II) Remainder of the state: 1.

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (iv) During May, no person shall fish for, take, or seek to 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 I.H. 35 bridge.

                                  (G) Grouper.

                                          (i) Gag.

                                                    (i) Daily bag limit: 2.

                                                   (ii) Minimum length limit: 22 inches.

                                                   (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Goliath. The take of Goliath grouper is prohibited.

                                  (H) Mackerel.

                                          (i) King.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 2.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 27 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Spanish.            

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 15.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 14 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (I) Mullet: all species (including hybrids, and subspecies).

                                          (i) No daily bag limit.

                                          (ii) No minimum length limit.

                                          (iii) From October through January, no mullet more than 12 inches in length may be taken from public waters or possessed on board a vessel.

                                  (J) Shark: all species (including hybrids and subspecies).

                                          (i) all species other than Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead sharks and the species listed in item (ii)(IV) of this subparagraph:

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 64 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead sharks:

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 1.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 24 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                                   (IV) 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:

                                                           (-a-) Atlantic angel;

                                                           (-b-) Basking;

                                                           (-c-) Bigeye sand tiger;

                                                           (-d-) Bigeye sixgill;

                                                           (-e-) Bigeye thresher;

                                                           (-f-) Bignose;

                                                           (-g-) Caribbean reef;

                                                           (-h-) Caribbean sharpnose;

                                                           (-i-) Dusky;

                                                           (-j-) Galapagos;

                                                           (-k-) Longfin mako;        

                                                           (-l-) Narrowtooth;

                                                           (-m-) Night;

                                                           (-n-) Sandbar;

                                                           (-o-) Sand tiger;

                                                           (-p-) Sevengill;

                                                           (-q-) Silky;

                                                           (-r-) Sixgill;

                                                           (-s-) Smalltail;

                                                           (-t-) Whale; and

                                                           (-u-) White.

                                  (K) Sheepshead.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: No limit.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 15 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (L) Snapper.

                                          (i) Lane.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: None.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 8 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                          (ii) Red.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: 4.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 15 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                                   (IV) 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.

                                          (iii) Vermilion.

                                                   (I) Daily bag limit: None.

                                                   (II) Minimum length limit: 10 inches.

                                                   (III) No maximum length limit.

                                  (M) Triggerfish, gray.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 20.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 16 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

                                  (N) Tripletail.

                                          (i) Daily bag limit: 3.

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 17 inches.

                                          (iii) No maximum length limit.

         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