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Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov [SL]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Nov. 6, 2006

TPWD Unveils Slate of Possible Regulation Changes

AUSTIN, Texas — Among the possible changes in hunting and fishing regulations next year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering altering restrictions on spotted seatrout in the Lower Laguna Madre and a 16-inch maximum length limit on largemouth bass on a handful of lakes.

TPWD staff briefed the Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Wednesday, Nov. 1, on a slate of possible changes designed to increase recreational opportunity and further enhance the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

The annual regulatory review process begins each fall after resource assessments by biologists and game wardens, as well as independent recommendations received from various groups. During this scoping portion of the process, TPWD gathers public input and weighs the biological implications of each issue before presenting the commission with a set of proposed regulation changes in January. Additional discourse is sought during special public meetings in the spring, and the commission at its April 2007 meeting determines the final regulation changes.

The most dramatic change being discussed addresses coastal fisheries biologists’ concerns about declining numbers of legal-sized spotted seatrout in the Lower Laguna Madre bay ecosystem compared to historic levels. Although officials point out the seatrout populations in this bay system are on par with numbers statewide, they believe proactive steps will help ensure and enhance the future health of this world class fishery.

TPWD will be gathering public input during the next six months on a variety of strategies emphasizing possible reductions in daily bag limits to achieve management goals.

In addition to regional seatrout regulations, TPWD is considering the following potential changes.

Public comment about these issues and others of interest may be made to TPWD, Regulatory Proposals Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Road, 78744, by phoning 800-792-1112 or by visiting the Web (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/)

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