Texas Game Wardens Lead Successful Joint Operation Bahia de Aransas

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AUSTIN – Texas game wardens over the weekend wrapped up a successful six-day multiagency initiative, called Operation Bahia de Aransas, designed to increase law enforcement presence along the coastal bend region. The initiative was in response to increased commercial oyster activity in Aransas, Carlos and Mesquite bays.

Throughout the week of Feb. 13, patrols were conducted by Texas game wardens in collaboration with officers from U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine, U.S. Coast Guard, Aransas County Sheriff’s Office, and the CBP Office of Field Operations.

In all, 67 citations and 15 warnings were written for Parks and Wildlife code violations relating primarily to commercial oyster harvest including many undersized oyster cases.

“Oyster resources in Texas have declined over the last several years due to siltation from hurricanes and tropical storms, drought, flooding and high harvest pressure,” said Lance Robinson, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries Division deputy director. “A continued strong market demand for oysters has led some fishermen and dealers to resort to harvesting and buying undersize oysters. Hopefully this operation will serve as a deterrent to commercial fishermen and dealers to continue this practice.”

In addition six arrests were also made including a U.S. Marshal Service warrant that was executed from a tug boat, an arrest warrant for assault on a federal officer, and a TPWD Class B arrest for a commercial oyster violation.

“The high level of agency participation acted as a force multiplier and allowed us to expand our coverage in these areas,” said Texas game warden Major Larry Young. “This Operation was definitely a success and the officers involved have done an outstanding job providing natural resource protection and public safety".