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All Posts By

Shane Bonnot

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Temporarily Alters Laguna Madre Spotted Seatrout Regulations

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission took emergency action on March 24, 2021, moving to temporarily alter spotted seatrout regulations in response to the significant fish kill that resulted from February’s severe freeze. The daily limit for speckled trout in the Upper and Lower Laguna Madre will drop to three and the slot limit will become 17-23 inches. The geographic area (Upper and Lower Laguna Madre systems) extends south of the JFK causeway to the Texas/Mexico border, including the adjacent beachfronts from Packery Channel to the Rio Grande river. The remainder of state water regulations will remain at a five fish daily bag limit and 15-25 inch slot limit with the ability to keep one fish over 25 inches long.

The emergency rule becomes effective once filed with the Secretary of State and is valid for up to 120 days. The emergency rule can be extended 1 time for 60 days, which leads to the possibility of having an emergency rule in place for 180 days. The rule can be pulled down at any time if the need for the emergency rule no longer exists.

TPWD director of coastal fisheries Robin Riechers said the changes have the potential to increase the spawning biomass by 27 percent over a generation.

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Coastal Advocacy Adventures Podcast – Episode 43: Freeze discussion with Pat Murray

Pat and Shane discuss the impacts of the February 14-19, 2021 freeze event on Texas coastal fisheries, conservation ethics and the responsibility we have as individuals to participate in the recovery of spotted seatrout populations. Pat also provides some historical perspective from his experiences working as a fishing as a guide through freeze events in the 1980’s. Tune in to the very end to hear the latest news from Texas Parks and Wildlife regarding emergency rule changes. photo credit: John Blaha

Update on State Management of Red Snapper

All anglers need to be aware of some recent developments with the management of red snapper. On August 24, 2020 the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a temporary rule in the Federal Register: 2020 Red Snapper Private Angling Component Accountability Measure in Federal Waters Off Texas. Just two years after approving a plan to allow the Gulf states to develop their own recreational data collection systems to better manage red snapper and certifying those state programs, NOAA Fisheries intends to force the states to calibrate their data back to the flawed federal data system that caused significant turmoil in the first place.

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