Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves proposal to modify the bag limit and slot size for Spotted Seatrout.
Houston, Texas – (January 26, 2024) – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWC) approved changes to Spotted Seatrout regulations, modifying the daily bag limit from 5 fish to 3 fish and tightening the slot limit from 15-25 inches to 15-20 inches. The daily allowance threshold for one oversized fish as part of the three-fish-bag was also changed from 25 inches to 30 inches.
TPWD estimates these changes can result in a 27% increase in spawning stock biomass over the course of a generation of Spotted Seatrout (seven years). Barring influences that impact juvenile recruitment or adult mortality events – such as winter freeze events – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff anticipate the benefits will be magnified the longer that they are in effect.
TPWD received 2,851 comments on the proposed regulation changes. 36% (1,021) were completely supportive of the published proposal, 38% (1,072) supported and objected to aspects of the proposal, and 25% (714) were completely opposed to any change.
Prior to the TPWC meeting, the CCA Texas Executive Board voted to support the TPWD proposal to reduce the bag limit to a daily possession of 3-fish and to modify the slot limit to 15-20 inches. CCA Texas recommended no allowance for oversized fish to be retained as a part of the 3-fish bag until a tag system for fish 25-inches or greater can be implemented by TPWD.
TPWD will soon publish a new proposal and solicit public comment on the development of a tag system for oversized Spotted Seatrout, which will be considered for adoption at the TPWC meeting on March 28, 2024.
“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is to be commended for enacting these regulation changes with a sense of urgency before the 2024 Spotted Seatrout spawning season. The fishery will reap the benefits from their expeditious action,” stated Shane Bonnot, CCA Texas Advocacy Director. “We look forward to the upcoming discussion on the creation of a tagging system for oversized Spotted Seatrout and believe it will promote conservation while allowing recreational anglers an opportunity to keep their personal “trophy” fish.”
“TPWD resource data clearly showed that the averaged coast-wide catch effort is well below the previous 10-year mean,” stated Rocky Chase, Chairman of the CCA Texas Government Affairs Committee. “This decision by the Parks and Wildlife Commission displays management with a vision for the future, and the next generation of anglers owe them a debt of gratitude for their actions.”
Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) is a non-profit marine conservation organization comprised of tens of thousands of recreational anglers and coastal outdoor enthusiasts. Founded in 1977, CCA started in the great state of Texas and has grown to include state chapters along the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Seaboard and Pacific Coast. The stated purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on the conservation of marine resources. The objective of CCA is to conserve, promote and enhance the present and future availability of these coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public.