Correction of Error – Statewide Recreational Fishing Proclamation

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Statewide Recreational Fishing Proclamation

LARGEMOUTH BASS HARVEST RULES

PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

          The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new 31 TAC §57.985, concerning Special Bag, Possession, and Length Limits. The proposed new rule would eliminate the minimum length limit and establish a maximum length limit and special provisions for the harvest of largemouth bass on nine water bodies in response to a department determination that current provisions in TAC were published in error.

         Current department publications and public information reflect the bag limit and special provisions intended by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and thus are in conflict with enforceable provisions currently in TAC; therefore, rule action is necessary at this time to ensure that the intended rule is in effect for the remainder of the license year in order to eliminate confusion and enhance compliance and enforcement. The department intends for the proposed new rule to be in effect only until the discrepancy can be corrected in 31 TAC §57.981 as part of the next annual fisheries regulations cycle.

         The proposed new section would implement a five-fish, 16-inch maximum length limit with an exemption for temporary possession of 24-inch and larger bass for submission to the ShareLunker program.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Michael Tennant, Regulations and Policy Coordinator in the Inland Fisheries Division, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Tennant also has determined that that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect:

                 (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rule will be accurate regulations.

                 (B) Under 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. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers "direct economic impact" to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. The department has determined that the proposed rule regulates an aspect of recreational license privilege that allows individual persons to pursue and harvest public wildlife resources in this state and therefore does 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.

                 (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 rule 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 rule.

                 (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 rule.

                 (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rule 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) not create a new regulation;

                         (6) not expand an existing 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 proposed rule may be submitted to Michael Tennant, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-8754; email: michael.tennant@tpwd.texas.gov or via the department website at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The new rule 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 new rule affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

6. Rule Text.

        §57.985. Largemouth Bass — Special Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

                 (a) Upon the effective date of this section, the provisions of §57.981(d)(1)(C)(iii) of this title (relating to Bag, Possession, and Length Limits) cease effect and are replaced with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.

                 (b) Bag and possession limits for largemouth bass on 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):

                          (1) Daily bag limit: 5.

                          (2) Maximum 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.

                 (c) The provisions of this section cease effect on August 31, 2022.

        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

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