Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to consider modifying the bag limit and slot size for spotted seatrout.
Houston, Texas – (December 15, 2023) – To boost the spawning stock biomass and aid in the recovery of the fishery, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWC) will consider a proposal to modify the bag limit and slot size for the beleaguered spotted seatrout fishery. After hearing from concerned recreational anglers at their August public hearing and receiving a briefing from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff in November, the TPWC directed staff to publish a proposal to modify the coast-wide bag and size limit on spotted trout to a 3-fish bag limit with a 15-20-inch slot size and allowance of one fish over 25-inches as part of the 3-fish bag limit.
The CCA Texas Executive Board has 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 a 15-inch – 20-inch slot. CCA Texas recommends 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.
“During their discussion with TPWD staff, it was clear that the Commission is concerned about the remnant effects of the 2021 freeze, elevated pressure on the resource, and the overall trajectory of the fishery,” stated Shane Bonnot, CCA Texas Advocacy Director. “Most notably, for the past 3 years, spring gill net catch rates in the Matagorda and San Antonio Bay Systems have experienced approximately 30% declines from the previous 10-yr mean and that alone warrants expeditious action.”
As currently written, the proposed regulation change would provide the fishery with an estimated 26.7% increase in spawning stock biomass over the lifetime of a trout (7-8yrs), with the goal of recovering the fishery from recent declines and enhancing the fishery’s readiness to face increasing pressure. TPWD will provide the public with an opportunity to view the fishery data and provide public comment on the proposal at upcoming public hearings and on their online public comment portal.
“We look forward to engaging in the public comment process prior to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting on January 25, 2024,” stated Rocky Chase, Chairman of the CCA Texas Government Affairs Committee. “We will effectively communicate this opportunity to our membership and encourage recreational anglers to participate in the coast-wide public meetings in early January.”
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.