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TPWD News Release — March 13, 2018

TPWD Sets Public Meetings to Gather Input on Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit Application

AUSTIN- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is seeking public input on a proposed plan that, if approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), would allow the state to manage the recreational red snapper season in federal waters during 2018 and 2019. TPWD projects state waters to remain open 365 days a year.

The proposed plan, detailed in an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application submitted by TPWD in February, seeks authority for the state to establish opening and closure of the red snapper fishery in federal waters off the Texas coast. The application also suggests consolidating all recreational anglers – private recreational anglers who fish from their own vessels and private recreational anglers who fish from for-hire vessels – into one sector. If combined, TPWD projects a 104-day recreational red snapper season in federal waters. Until two years ago, all recreational anglers were treated as one sector for the purpose of managing the Gulf red snapper fishery.

NMFS has offered an alternate scenario that suggests there is a reduction in the allotted poundage quota for the charter for-hire segment to calculate the length of the proposed season. Under the scenario of a reduced allotted poundage, TPWD projects that the red snapper season for all recreational anglers in federal waters would be 64 days.

NMFS has also suggested that the for-hire sector remain within its current management structure set by the federal government. Currently, the for-hire sector across the Gulf of Mexico receives its own fishing season independent of the private recreational angler season. Regardless of the two scenarios presented, if the for-hire sector is removed from the current EFP plan and remains under its current management structure then its fishing season would be 51 days. The projected number of fishing days for the private recreational angler sector is 82 days in both scenarios when managed independently from the for-hire sector.

Additional details on the EFP application, and opportunity for public comment are available on the TPWD website comment portal. The public is also invited to comment during a series of upcoming public meetings where details of the EFP application will be presented.

PUBLIC MEETINGS
Date Times Location
March 27, 2018 7:00 p.m. Hilton Hotel - Clear Lake
Atlantis Room
3000 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058
March 27, 2018 7:00 p.m. Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Natural Resources Building, Room 1003
6300 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
March 27, 2018 7:00 p.m. Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center
309 E Railroad Avenue
Port Isabel, TX 78578

TPWD Coastal Fisheries staff will be presenting a Facebook live webinar and responding to questions and comments on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Facebook page on Wednesday, March 28 at noon.

The public comment period is open until April 2, 2018.

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