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Media Contact: Aaron Reed, 512-389-8046 [AR]

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

TPWD News Release — April 23, 2009

TPWD to Add Catch and Release Water Body Records to Angler Recognition Program

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will expand its Angler Recognition Program with a public water body Catch and Release record category for 39 saltwater and freshwater fish species beginning June 1. Currently the only catch and release records accepted by the department are for state records.

The records will be determined by total length. As with state records, the only fish that will be recognized for water body records are those that meet the minimum qualifications for a freshwater or saltwater Big Fish award. Some 22 saltwater species and 17 freshwater fish species are now listed in the Big Fish award program.

"By adding a public water body category, we are allowing more anglers — especially kids — to obtain a record without having to locate certified scales," said TPWD Angler Recognition Program Coordinator Joedy Gray. "We’ve also long wanted to expand this program in a way that does not require an angler to kill a fish to be recognized for an achievement. This does that."

To qualify, an angler must submit a photograph of the fish next to a tape measure, as well as a photo of the angler with the fish and a signed application.

If the angler has a portable, certified scale, he or she can possibly get as many as five certificates: state record for weight, state record for total length, water body record for weight, water body record for total length and a Big Fish award.

Current state and water body records, as well as rules and application forms, may be found on the TPWD Web site.

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