AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is now accepting public comment on proposed changes to saltwater fishing regulations for 2019-2020. These 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 the following proposed changes to the 2019-2020 Statewide Recreational Fishing Proclamation, with input to be considered before any action by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 20 public hearing:
- Extending the 5 fish bag limit for spotted seatrout to the upper coast, creating a coast-wide 5 fish bag limit.
- Requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for sharks in state waters, except when fishing with artificial lures.
- Increasing the minimum size limit to 40 inches total length for Cobia.
- Closing oyster restoration areas in Galveston Bay, Matagorda Bay and Copano Bay for 2 harvest seasons.
The public is encouraged to provide comment on the proposed regulation changes. Opportunities to provide comments for or against these proposals include:
- Facebook Live Webinar: TPWD Coastal Fisheries staff will present proposed fishing regulation changes and answer questions in a Facebook Live webinar at noon Feb. 27 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Facebook page.
- Public hearings: TPWD staff will be hosting several public hearings on the upper coast to receive input from stakeholders and constituents concerning the proposed regulation changes.
- Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Nessler Civic Center 2010 5th Ave N, Texas City, TX 77590
- Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Port Arthur Civic Center 3401 Cultural Center Dr; Port Arthur, TX 77642
- Monday, March 4 at 6 p.m. at The San Jacinto River Authority 1577 Dam Site Rd, Conroe, TX 77304
- 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.
- Email: Tiffany Hopper, firstname.lastname@example.org
- In person: 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.