The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the regulations on the possession and sale of gizzard and threadfin shad collected from public waters, which would require persons who collect or possess shad in excess of certain limits to obtain a permit.
TPWD currently issues permits for the sale of nongame fishes taken from public waters, which includes gizzard and threadfin shad sold as live, frozen, or prepared bait. Some permittees also collect live shad from public reservoirs for sale or as part of management services provided to private pond owners to increase the abundance of prey fishes in a pond and improve the growth and size of fish such as largemouth bass.
Shad are also collected by private landowners to stock as prey in their private lakes. These persons are currently not required to obtain a permit because no sale is involved, but the proposed changes would require persons who use containers exceeding 82 quarts in volume for collection and possession of shad from public fresh waters to obtain a $60 permit to possess or sell nongame fish.
A permit would continue to be required if the shad collected are sold or exchanged for anything of value regardless of the container size used, but no permit would be required if the shad are used only as bait on the waterbody where they were collected, or if a licensed fishing guide possesses and furnishes the shad as bait to customers as part of the guide’s services.
Collection of shad, especially threadfin shad, has resulted in substantial quantities being harvested from some reservoirs in the state, according to Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries Director of Information and Regulations. Although the impacts on fishes in the reservoirs where these activities occur appear to be minimal at this time, requiring a permit for activities that can result in substantial harvest will allow the department to more fully monitor these activities to ensure their sustainability.
The department is also proposing additional minor changes to the permits such as providing for up to eight persons to be named on a permit as assistants and incorporating procedures into the permit requirements for reducing the spread of invasive aquatic species such as zebra mussels.
Proposed rules are available for review in the Dec. 23, 2016 issue of the Texas Register http://www.sos.texas.gov/texreg/pdf/backview/1223/1223prop.pdf.
Public comment may be made online at http://tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/; by phone or e-mail to Ken Kurzawski (512) 389-4591, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or in person during the TPWD Commission meeting on Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. at 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744.