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TPWD News Release — June 28, 2005

Workshops Set on Gulf Shrimp, Oyster License Changes

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will hold four evening workshops along the coast in July to answer questions and explain details about changes required by new laws that affect Gulf of Mexico shrimp and commercial oyster licenses and fishery management.

During the 79th Texas Legislative Session, bills were passed that directed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to adopt a new fishery management approach that placed a moratorium on new commercial boat licenses for the Texas oyster and Gulf of Mexico shrimp fisheries.

Starting Sept. 1, only individuals who held a license at the end of last season (ending Aug. 31, 2005) will be allowed to purchase a Commercial Gulf Shrimp Boat License or a Commercial Oyster Boat License will be those who held that license at the end of the 2004-2005 license year (ending August 31, 2005).

Anyone who does not currently hold a Gulf shrimp or oyster license will have until Aug. 31 to purchase one.

The bills did not create new restrictions on transfers or upgrades of license between individuals or boats, only on purchases of new licenses.

At this time, there are no plans for department-sponsored buyback programs for these Gulf shrimp and oyster licenses. (A license buyback program has been used in recent years for the bay shrimp fishery, in which TPWD buys and then retires commercial fishing licenses in order to reduce fishing pressure.)

Representatives of the Texas Department of Agriculture, Shrimp Marketing Program will also attend the upcoming workshops to update attendees on the status of their marketing programs.

For directions to the workshop meetings listed below and other information, please contact Bobby Miller for upper coast information at the Dickinson Marine Lab southeast of Houston, (281) 534-0110, or contact Art Morris for lower coast information at the Corpus Christi Field Station, (361) 825-3356.