Public Meetings Set for Saltwater Fisheries Regulations

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TPWD Considering Potential Modifications for Hammerhead Sharks, Grouper

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Coastal Fisheries Division will host three public scoping meetings Jan. 10-11 in several communities to discuss potential changes to Texas saltwater fishing regulations relating to great hammerhead sharks, black grouper, Nassau grouper, and gag grouper.

At these meetings, TPWD will be scoping several items for consideration in the upcoming 2017 statewide hunting and fishing proclamation process. Proposed changes include increasing the great hammerhead shark minimum size limit to 99 inches; establishing a 24-inch minimum size limit and a 4 fish per day bag limit for black grouper; establishing a bag limit of catch and release only for Nassau grouper; and increasing the minimum size limit to  24 inches for gag grouper. The proposed changes would alter the current size and possession limits for those species to be consistent with federal regulations. This will reduce confusion for anglers fishing in state and federal waters and enhance compliance, administration and enforcement.

All interested parties are encouraged to attend any of the meetings listed below, learn about the proposals and provide comments. Those unable to attend one of meetings may provide comments by email to Tiffany Hooper at [email protected] or by phone (512) 389-4650.  Comments may also be submitted through the department’s Internet web site at www.tpwd.texas.gov once the proposals have been published in the Texas Register and at the formal public meetings.

After these meetings, TPWD staff will present recommendations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Jan. 25-27 meeting. Based on the commission’s feedback, staff will hold a series of formal statewide public hearings if any regulatory proposals are advanced. Hearings for all fishery- and wildlife-related proposals would be held after the January meeting and before the March 26-27 commission meeting. Final decisions about proposed regulations will be made by the commission at that meeting.

All of the following scoping meetings begin at 6 p.m.

Jan. 10, Corpus Christi: Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Natural Resources Building, Room 1003, 6300 Ocean Drive

Jan. 10, Dickinson: TPWD Dickinson Marine Lab, 1502 FM 517 East

Jan. 11, Port Isabel: , Port Isabel City Hall 305 E. Maxan

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