AUSTIN – The time has come for Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) to hear public comment on proposed changes to saltwater fishing regulations for 2019-2020. The agency said in a press release this week that changes are intended to streamline regulations for the entire Texas coast for spotted seatrout and modified regulations for certain species to be in line with federal rules to reduce confusion among anglers for sharks and cobia.
TPWD will be taking public comment on proposed changes, with public input to be considered before any action by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 20 public hearing.
One of the changes that the agency is considering is to extend the 5 fish bag limit for spotted seatrout to the upper coast, creating a coast-wide 5 fish bag limit.
For those who prefer a bigger catch, the agency is considering requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for sharks in state waters, except when fishing with artificial lures.
The agency is also considering increasing the minimum size limit to 40 inches total length for Cobia.
But on a more difficult item, Texas Parks and Wildlife will be considering action to close oyster restoration areas in Galveston Bay, Matagorda Bay and Copano Bay for 2 harvest seasons.
In an effort to inform the public and get as much public comment before making any moves on the regulations, the agency is taking to social media.
TPWD will host a Facebook Live Webinar with Coastal Fisheries staff at noon on February 27. The staff will present proposed fishing regulation changes and answer questions on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Facebook page.
Agency staff will be hosting several public hearings on the upper coast to receive input from stakeholders and constituents concerning the proposed regulation changes. Those hearings will be held:
–Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Nessler Civic Center 2010 5th Ave N, Texas City, TX 77590
Online: Once the proposed regulations are published in the Texas Register, comments on the changes can be provided on the TPWD public comment page until March 19.
The TPW Commission will take public comment on the proposed changes at their meeting on Wednesday, March 20 in Austin. Public testimony will normally be limited to three minutes per person.