The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will hold a special meeting in Austin on Feb. 26 to discuss recent events and options involving the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery.
On Feb. 8, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted to recommend an emergency rule that could shorten the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters off the Texas coast to as little as 11 days from the planned 27 day season.
The recommendation passed by a narrow majority, over strong opposition by representatives from Texas and Louisiana, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and a representative from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
As recommended, the rule would give authority to the National Marine Fisheries Service southeast regional administrator to shorten the red snapper season in the federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters off Texas. The EEZ begins nine nautical miles from the coast and extends to 200 nautical miles. State waters extend from the coast outward nine nautical miles.
The commission meeting will take place at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26 at TPWD’s Austin headquarters. While no public comment will be taken at the meeting, TPWD has set up a web comment form to take comments online. Live audio of the meeting will be streamed online through the TPWD website. –Tom Harvey, TPWD