Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hide Alert Show Alert

Stay up-to-date on operations adjustments and temporary closure of TPWD offices, state parks, recreation facilities and water access points due to COVID-19. Please follow guidance from local authorities, Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

 

Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Presenters: Ken Kurzawski
Dakus Geeslin

Action
2020-2021 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations
Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes
May 21, 2020

I.     Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks adoption of proposed changes to the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations. The proposed amendments would:

Inland Fisheries

Coastal 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 (Commission) under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapters 61 and 67. Statutory authority to regulate commercial fisheries is delegated to the Commission under Texas 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 proposed 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 Commission Work Session meeting on January 22, 2020, the staff was authorized to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed rules appeared in the February 21, 2020 issue of the Texas Register(45 TexReg 1171).  A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

III.   Recommendation:  The staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed motion:

 “The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts §§57.973, 57.981, 57.992, 57.993, and 57.997, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 21, 2020, issue of the Texas Register (45 TexReg 1171).”

Attachment – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations

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 §§57.973, 57.981, 57.992, 57.993, and 57.997, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

        The proposed amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means and Methods would add a section of Brushy Creek (Williamson County) to the list of locations where game and non-game fishes can only be taken by pole and line and would limit anglers to the use of no more than two pole-and-line devices at the same time. The stream segment affected by the proposed amendment is from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line (approximately 50 miles). Brushy Creek Reservoir currently is subject to this regulation. A survey of anglers who use both the reservoir and creek waters determined that both waters are heavily used, and some anglers fished both in one day. The proposed amendment would standardize regulations on the reservoir and the creek downstream, which should simplify compliance and enforcement. Additionally, the cities surrounding these water bodies recently have experienced rapid population growth and restriction of harvest methods to pole and line would serve to limit the harvest of some fishes such as sunfish, which could benefit the overall fish community and the angling experience.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession and Length Limits would implement changes to harvest regulations for largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish on multiple locations.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 would modify harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Moss Lake (Cooke County), replacing the current regulation (14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag limit) with a 16-inch maximum length limit and providing an exception for temporary possession of bass 24 inches or greater for possible submission to the department’s ShareLunker program. Moss Lake is a 1,140-acre impoundment located in near Gainesville. The bass fishery at the reservoir currently consists of largemouth and spotted bass, but angler creel surveys indicate largemouth bass are the most sought-after species. While bass are relatively abundant in the reservoir, electrofishing surveys indicate that very few legal-size (14 inches) largemouth bass are present in the population. Although surveys indicate few legal-size largemouth bass, the reservoir does support some large bass, with a few exceeding eight pounds. Spotted bass are abundant, with few exceeding 14 inches in length and samples consist mostly of fish less than 12 inches in length. Spotted bass compete with largemouth bass for forage and contribute to an overabundance of bass less than 12 inches in length.  Implementation of a 16-inch maximum length limit on largemouth bass would allow anglers to harvest the abundant smaller fish that potentially could be causing fewer bass to reach larger sizes. Since some anglers have difficulty in distinguishing spotted bass from largemouth bass, opening harvest to all small bass would allow anglers to harvest both species without differentiation.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would modify harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Brushy Creek Reservoir and blue and channel catfish in the section of Brushy Creek (both in Williamson County) mentioned previously in this rulemaking. Harvest of largemouth bass in the reservoir is low. The current 18-inch minimum length limit is not benefitting the bass population and implementation of a 14-inch minimum length limit will have little impact. As noted previously in this rulemaking with respect to proposed changes to device restrictions, the standardization of regulations between the reservoir and Brushy Creek will enhance compliance and enforcement.

        Additionally, the proposed amendment would replace the current harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish for Brushy Creek Reservoir (12-inch minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit) with a five-fish daily bag limit and no minimum length limit. This type of regulation is appropriate in high-use situations, such as smaller urban water bodies, to allow anglers to harvest some fish while distributing the available harvest to as many anglers as possible. Replacing the current regulation would result in standardization of regulations and beneficial harvest reduction.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would modify harvest regulations for black and white crappie for Lake Nasworthy, which is a 1,380-acre reservoir in San Angelo (Tom Green County). The reservoir has a relatively stable water level for West Texas and abundant shoreline access. The crappie population in Lake Nasworthy has long been characterized by high abundance, slow growth, below average condition, and poor size structure. Slower growth results in fewer crappie reaching legal size, as most crappie die of natural causes before growing large enough to be harvested. The combination of these factors negates any advantages to the population structure that could be derived from the use of a minimum length limit (MLL). Understandably, anglers are dissatisfied with lack of harvestable sized fish in the reservoir and have expressed support for modifying harvest regulations to allow for some take of crappie less than 10 inches in length. An increased harvest of smaller crappie may reduce overcrowding, improve fish condition, and increase angler satisfaction.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would make changes to the harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish on Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) and the Texas waters of the Red River from the dam on Lake Texoma (Denison Dam) downstream to Shawnee Creek. Harvest regulations on Lake Texoma, a 74,686-acre reservoir that straddles the Texas/Oklahoma border, are implemented cooperatively by TPWD and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). Currently, harvest regulations for game fishes are the same on both sides on the reservoir. However, some harvest regulations on the Red River below Lake Texoma differ from those on the reservoir and from Texas statewide harvest regulations. With the goal of standardizing regulations on both sides of Lake Texoma and the waters of the Red River below the Denison Dam while maintaining angling opportunities, the proposed amendment would alter harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish Texas waters of Lake Texoma and the Red River from Denison Dam downstream to Shawnee Creek. For blue and channel catfish, the proposed amendment would eliminate the minimum length limit and allow the harvest of one blue catfish 30 inches or greater. For flathead catfish, the proposed amendment would eliminate the minimum length limit and impose a five-fish daily bag limit.

        The proposed amendment also would eliminate a time constraint on a special regulation governing the harvest of alligator gar on Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata counties). The department conducted a comprehensive study at the reservoir in 2014 to obtain the biological information necessary to make management recommendations for alligator gar. In 2015, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission implemented a bag limit of five alligator gar on the reservoir, directed staff to monitor the alligator gar population to determine any negative effects of the five-fish daily bag, and placed an expiration date on the special provision of September 1, 2020. Monitoring data from the reservoir continues to support the determination that the Falcon Reservoir alligator gar population can be sustained under the five-fish daily bag. Therefore, the proposed amendment would continue the effectiveness of the special provision.

            Finally, the proposed amendment would alter recreational harvest regulations for flounder. On the basis of pronounced downward trends in fishery independent data (bag seines, bay trawls, gill nets) which showed declines in catch-per-unit-effort (abundance), and declining commercial and recreational landings, the department has determined that measures must be implemented to protect and replenish spawning stock biomass in the fishery. Recent department fishery-independent gill net survey monitoring data for both the fall and the spring have shown decreases in catch rates of 60% or greater compared to historic long-term data trends.  Additionally, other fishery-independent data (bag seines and bay trawls) also show similar declining trends. These independent data collections target flounder at different points in the life cycle and thus provide a measure of recruitment (bag seines), sub-adults (bay trawls) and adults (gill nets).

            Lower levels of recruitment observed in fisheries-dependent bag seines may also be impacted by the warmer water temperatures experienced in the bays and gulf in more recent years.  Research into the cultivation of flounder has shown that optimal larval survival of flounder is dependent on a very narrow range of temperatures from 16° C — 20° C (60.8° F – 68.0° F) for the first three weeks after spawn (usually in November to December).  Current flounder harvest regulations consist of a 14-inch minimum length, a five-fish daily bag and possession limit for recreational take, and a 30-fish commercial daily bag and possession limit for commercial take, except for during the period from November 1-December 14, when there is a two-fish daily bag and possession limit for both recreational and commercial take. During the month of November, means of take is limited to pole-and-line only. The proposed amendment would increase the minimum length limit to 15 inches and close the season from November 1 – December 14 for both commercial and recreational harvest. At 14 inches, approximately 50% of female flounder are sexually mature. At 15 inches, over 90% of females are sexually mature. Reducing flounder harvest prior to and during the fall migration will increase escapement of adults to the Gulf and can increase the potential spawning population; and therefore, increase recruitment. Additionally, the increase in minimum size will allow more females to reach sexual maturity and spawn before being harvested. Since most of the flounder harvest is comprised of females and occurs during spawning, the proposed amendments are projected to increase spawning stock biomass.

            The proposed amendment to §57.992, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits, would alter commercial harvest regulations for flounder, for the same reasons presented earlier in this preamble in the discussion of recreational harvest regulations for flounder.

            The proposed amendment to §57.993, concerning Commercial Harvest Report, would clarify reporting requirements. The department has determined that the rule as currently worded does not make clear that certain licensees are required to report all aquatic products taken under the respective licenses, not just the portion of aquatic product that is sold subsequent to landing. The purpose of the rule is to give the department accurate harvest data on various species, which is then used to inform the department’s management decisions on those species.   Obviously, if the entirety of commercial harvest is not reported the department’s management decisions could be affected.

        The proposed amendment to §57.997 would affect provisions concerning licensing requirements for the Paddle Craft All-Water Guide License. The proposed amendment would remove existing language concerning the successful completion of the “Four Star Leader Sea Kayak” training from the British Canoe Union and “Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leading” from the American Canoe Association and replace it with “paddle craft leading course from the American Canoe Association or a department-approved organization.” The training courses referenced in the current rule no longer exist and the department seeks to use a generic reference to avoid having to engage in rulemaking each time a course is discontinued or renamed.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, 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.

        There will be adverse economic effect on certain persons required to comply with the rules as proposed. Those impacts are addressed in the analysis of impacts to small business and  microbusiness elsewhere in this preamble.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

        (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) 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, micro-businesses, or rural communities. 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 impacts to small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. 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 amendments other than those affecting the commercial take of flounder regulate various aspects of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest fisheries resources in this state and therefore do not directly affect small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required for those provisions.

        The proposed amendment to §57.992 will exert an adverse economic impact on small or micro-businesses that catch and sell flounder. Based on the last three years of reporting data, the department estimates that 25 licensees could be affected by the proposed amendment. For the purposes of this analysis, the department assumes that all entities directly affected by the proposed amendment are small or microbusinesses. The proposed amendment would affect licensees who directly target flounder for harvest and those who harvest flounder as bycatch (incidental to other harvest operations).

        The proposed amendment would increase the minimum size limit for flounder to 15 inches and close the fishery from November 1 to December 14. Currently, during the November 1-30 closure the bag limit is two fish. Department reporting data indicate that between November 1 and December 14, 2017, nine finfish fishing licensees reported 29 trips, resulting in the landing of 468 pounds of flounder with an average reported sale price of $4.66 per pound. Between November 1 and December 14, 2018, five finfish fishing licensees reported 23 trips, resulting in the landing of 964 pounds of flounder at an average reported sale price of $4.41 per pound. Between November 1 and December 14, 2019, 11 finfish fishermen reported 26 trips, resulting in the landing of 346 pounds of flounder at an average reporting price of $4.39 per pound. Using these data, the department estimates that the probable average economic impact of the proposed rule on small and micro-businesses for licensees taking flounder under a finfish fisherman’s license would be a loss of between $138.09 and $850.25 per licensee.  The average loss for the three-year period is therefore estimated at $410.22 per licensee, assuming future fishing effort, catch rates, and sales prices remain similar to historic activities.

        There will also be adverse economic impacts for licensees who land flounder as incidental catch (bycatch). The probable adverse economic impacts for these licensees would be less than those for the holders of a finfish fisherman’s license (i.e., less than $410.22) because bycatch aboard shrimp vessels is limited by law to 50 percent by weight of other catch on board, plus a recreational bag limit; thus for any trip where bycatch is landed the limit would have been limited to 2 fish per trip.

        Because licensees would be able to shift fishing effort to times outside of the proposed closed season, the department believes that the adverse economic impacts identified in this analysis could be reduced or eliminated.

        The department considered and analyzed several alternatives to the proposed rule.  The department considered: (1) a 20-fish bag limit with no closure; (2) a 15-fish bag limit with no closure; (3) a 10-fish bag limit with no closure; (4) a closure in November with no change to the bag limit; and (5) a closure in November and December with no change to the bag limit. The department also considered a prohibition on gigging as a means of commercial take. These alternatives were rejected because although they would achieve the department’s goal of increasing spawning biomass, each would either impose additional hardship on licensees or result in significant disruption to the current status quo regarding the distribution of opportunity between the commercial and recreational sectors and the various methods of take favored by anglers.

        The department has determined that the proposed amendments will not result in adverse economic impacts to rural communities.

        (C) 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.

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

        (E) 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.

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rules as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) create a new regulation (by altering harvest and reporting requirements);

                 (6) will not repeal, expand, or limit a regulation;

                 (7) neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

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.texas.gov or Dakus Geeslin (Coastal Fisheries) at (512) 389-8734, e-mail: dakus.geeslin@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5.  Statutory Authority.

        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 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.

        §57.973. Devices, Means and Methods.

                 (a) In fresh water only, it is unlawful to fish with more than 100 hooks on all devices combined.

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

                         (1) community fishing lakes;

                         (2) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks;

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

                         (4) Brushy Creek (Williamson County) from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line;

                          (5)[(4)] Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County);

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

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

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

                         (9)[(8)] 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;

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

                         (3) Brushy Creek (Williamson County) from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line;

                         (4)[(3)] Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County);

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

                         (6)[(5)] South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam.

                 (d ) – (g) (No change).

        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 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 amendments affect 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) – (G) (No change.)

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

                                          (i) (No change.)

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 15[14] inches.

                                          (iii) (No change.)

                                          (iv) The season for flounder is closed from November 1 through December 14[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) – (X) (No change.)

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

                         (1) Freshwater species.

                                  (A) — (B) (No change).

                                  (C) Bass: largemouth.

                                          (i) – (ii) (No change.)

                                          (iii) Lakes Bellwood (Smith County), Davy Crockett (Fannin County), Kurth (Angelina County), Mill Creek (Van Zandt County), Moss (Cooke), Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches County), Naconiche (Nacogdoches County), Purtis Creek State Park (Henderson and Van Zandt counties), and Raven (Walker).

                                                  (I) – (II) (No change.)

                                          (iv) Lakes Bright (Williamson County), [Brushy Creek (Williamson County),]Casa Blanca (Webb County), Cleburne State Park (Johnson County), Fairfield (Freestone County), Gilmer (Upshur County), Marine Creek Reservoir (Tarrant County), Meridian State Park (Bosque County), Pflugerville (Travis County), Rusk State Park (Cherokee County), and Welsh (Titus County).

                                                  (I) – (II) (No change.)

                                          (v) – (x)  (No change).

                                  (D) – (G) (No change).

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

                                          (i) – (v) (No change).

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

                                                  (I) (No change.)

                                                  (II) Minimum length limit: No limit [12 inches.]

                                                  (III) (No change.)

                                          (vii) Brushy Creek (Williamson County) from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line, 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) – (II) (No change.)

                                          (viii) – (x) (No change).

                                  (I) 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) (No change.)

                                                  (II) Minimum length limit: No limit [20 inches.]

                                          (ii) (No change.)

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

                                          (i) – (iii) (No change.)

                                          (iv) Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County).

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

                                                  (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                  (III) Possession limit is 50.

                                  (K) (No change.)

                                  (L) Gar, alligator.

                                          (i) Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata counties).

                                                   (I) – (III) (No change.)

                                                  [(IV) The provisions of this subparagraph expire on September 1, 2020.]

                                          (ii) – (iii) (No change.)

                                  (M) – (P) (No change).

                         (2) (No change.)

        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 amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §47.004, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules governing the issuance and use of a resident fishing guide license, including rules creating separate resident fishing guide licenses for use in saltwater and freshwater.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 47.

        §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) – (D) (No change.)

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

                                          (i) (No change.)

                                          (ii) Minimum length limit: 15[14] inches.

                                          (iii) (No change.)

                                          (iv) The season for flounder is closed from November 1 through December 14[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) – (N) (No change.)

        §57.993. Commercial Harvest Report.

                 (a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

                         (1) Applicable license — a general commercial fishermen’s license, a commercial finfish fishermen’s license, commercial shrimp boat captain’s license, commercial crab fishermen’s license, commercial oyster boat captain’s license, individual bait dealer’s license, or commercial vessel owner’s license; [and]

                         (2) Land—to bring to shore after harvest;

                         (3)[(2)] Reportable activity—[means] each instance in which an aquatic product taken under an applicable license is landed or transferred to another person[for purposes of sale or processing or holding for eventual sale].

                 (b) Except for aquatic products transferred to a licensed dealer identified[as provided] in subsection (e) of this section, it is an offense for any person who lands[takes] an aquatic product taken under an applicable license to fail to submit a complete and accurate commercial harvest report to the department by the 10th day of each month following the month in which a reportable activity occurred.

        (c) – (d) (No change.)

        (e) A report under this section is not required for aquatic products that are sold by the holder of an applicable license[licensee] to a licensed wholesale or retail fish dealer, bait dealer, or bait shrimp dealer.

        §57.997. Fishing Guide License Requirements.

                 (a) – (c) (No change.)

                 (d)  No person may be issued a Paddle Craft All-Water Guide license unless the person possesses proof that the person has successfully completed:

                         (1) – (2) (No change.)

                         [(3) the “Four Star Leader Sea Kayak” training from the British Canoe Union; or]

                         (3)[(4)a paddle craft leading course from the American Canoe Association or another department-approved course ["Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leading"].

        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