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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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
“Make the resource first.” | “Take care of that habitat.” – John Blaha, Director of Habitat, CCA Texas. HUGE shoutout to Chris at the Speckled Truth for having John Blaha on his podcast to talk conservation, habitat, and a bunch of other fascinating topics.
Advocacy Director Shane Bonnot: “We want to reassure recreational anglers that we’ve got broodstock here to kickstart the recovery to our fisheries.”
Recognizing the extraordinary impact of the recent winter storm, the CCA Texas 2021 STAR Tournament will feature a significantly revised format. The Speckled Trout, Flounder, Sheepshead and Gafftop divisions have been removed entirely from this year’s tournament.
The 2021 STAR will feature three different Tagged Redfish Divisions utilizing a mandatory release format with bigger and better prizes than ever, including $325,000 in college scholarships for youth anglers. While the offshore categories of the tournament will continue as in past years, a soon-to-be-disclosed new category will be added for 2021.
Marine conservation began with recreational anglers, and our continued engagement has never been more important for the future of our fisheries and for marine habitat. We are excited about this year’s Tournament and will be releasing more details on all aspects of the new developments soon.
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Conservation groups partner with local, state and federal government to restore vital estuary and recreational fishing grounds.