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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2013-02-11                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Feb. 11, 2013
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Stunned by Gulf Council Snapper Vote
AUSTIN - In a stunning move Feb. 8, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted to recommend an emergency rule that could shorten the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters off the Texas coast to as little as 11 days from the planned 27 day season.
The recommendation passed by a narrow majority, over strong opposition by representatives from Texas and Louisiana, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and a representative from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
As recommended, the rule would give the National Marine Fisheries Service southeast regional administrator authority to shorten the snapper season in federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters off Texas. State waters extend from the coast out to nine nautical miles.
"We are simply outraged by this move to penalize Texas anglers, local economies and fisheries for simply exercising our regulatory authority in Texas waters," said T. Dan Friedkin of Houston, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission chairman. "This is not a recipe for a successful collaborative approach to fisheries management. I do not intend to stand idly by while Texas anglers are penalized by such egregious federal overreach."
TPWD leaders noted the unusual circumstances surrounding the emergency rule recommendation. This included how a vote for the rule failed 9 to 8 this morning, but backers of the rule persisted with a second vote after lunch, when the measure finally passed 10 to 7.
"This recommendation is clearly directed at Texas and it strikes me as more punitive and political, rather than biological, because state regulations in Texas waters have not mirrored those set by the Gulf Council in recent years," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. "This is not a victory for red snapper, but rather a loss for Texas anglers and coastal communities."
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[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
Feb. 11, 2013
Falcon Takes Wing with Toyota ShareLunker 541
ATHENS--Falcon International Reservoir joined the Toyota ShareLunker action on Thursday, February 7, with a 13.4-pound entry into the ShareLunker program.
Isaac Denson of Monahans was fishing in two to three feet of water when the big bass hit about 11:30 a.m. The fish was 26.5 inches long and 20 inches in girth.
The fish was weighed and held for pickup at the official Toyota ShareLunker Weigh and Holding Station at Falcon State Park. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff from the A.E. Wood State Fish Hatchery in San Marcos picked the fish up and took it to San Marcos, where it is awaiting the results of DNA testing.
If the fish is pure Florida largemouth, it will be taken to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens and held for spawning; otherwise, it will be returned to the lake as quickly as possible.
The fish is the fifth entry of the season into the Toyota ShareLunker program, following entries from Lakes Austin, Fork (two entries) and Dunlap.
The largest entry of the season to date is Richard Scibek's 16.04-pounder caught from Lake Fork on February 2. The angler who catches the largest entry of the season is named Angler of the Year and receives a prize package from G. Loomis consisting of a G. Loomis GLX854C jig and worm rod, a Shimano Chronarch 200E7 casting reel and a spool of Power Pro super-braid fishing line. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, he or she also receives a lifetime fishing license.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at TFFC in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Any lake producing an entry into the program receives a share of the fingerlings, whether the fish from that lake spawns or not. Anglers who enter fish into the program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at TFFC whether their fish spawns or not.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year's season, see http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
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[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Jim Booker, (903) 670-2266 or james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Feb. 11, 2013
Get Hooked on Fly Fishing March 9 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS--Fly Fish Texas returns to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center March 9 with the goal of teaching visitors to tie a fly, cast a fly and catch a fish with it all in one day.
Show hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All Fly Fish Texas activities are free with regular paid admission to the center.
Fly Fish Texas emphasizes hands-on learning and immediate application of newly acquired skills. Visitors can collect aquatic insects from the center's streams, tie a fly to imitate one of those insects under the supervision of a skilled tier, learn to cast it from a casting instructor certified by the Federation of Fly Fishers, then use it to catch a rainbow trout, catfish or sunfish from one of TFFC's stocked ponds or streams.
Throughout the day, experienced fly-tiers will be demonstrating and teaching fly-tying in the Anglers Pavilion on a one-on-one basis. In addition, group instruction in beginning fly-tying will be offered in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center. Both are offered on a walk-up basis.
Beginning casting instruction will take place all day in the Conservation Center parking lot, again on a walk-up basis. Other sessions will teach single-hand and Spey rod casting at scheduled times.
Vendors will be displaying and selling fly-fishing gear, and seminars will brief visitors on where and how to fly-fish in Texas fresh and salt waters for a variety of species.
Featured presentations include fly-fishing the Llano River in Texas, trout fishing in Colorado, fly-fishing urban creeks in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, fly-fishing for carp, flies and tactics for spring bass and fly-fishing Texas bays for red drum and speckled seatrout.
While most activities at Fly Fish Texas are offered on a walk-up basis, others are scheduled. For a complete schedule of activities and seminars plus a video of the event, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc and click on the Fly Fish Texas link.
Food service will be available onsite, or attendees may bring a picnic.
Event sponsors include Sabine River Authority, Best Western-Royal Mountain Inn, Holiday Inn Express-Athens, Super 8-Athens, Temple Fork Outfitters, Orvis-Dallas, Cripple Creek Bar-B-Que, First State Bank, Red Hat Rentals, Wulf Outdoor Sports and Friends of TFFC.
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[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
Feb. 11, 2013
Four New Positives Found in Trans Pecos CWD Surveillance
Disease not discovered outside Containment Zone
AUSTIN - Nearly 300 tissue samples were collected from hunter harvested mule deer from the Trans Pecos ecoregion of far West Texas during the 2012-13 season for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing. Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have confirmed CWD in four of those samples. All CWD-positive deer were harvested within the CWD Containment Zone.
Of 298 deer sampled during hunting season, 107 were harvested in the Containment Zone, 93 were harvested in the adjacent High Risk Zone, 25 were harvested in the Buffer Zone, and 73 deer were harvested outside of the CWD zones. Nineteen of the samples collected from the Containment Zone were from deer harvested in the Hueco Mountains.
"The good news is that CWD has not been detected in Texas outside of the Hueco Mountains of northern El Paso and Hudspeth counties," said Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Including the two positives reported from TPWD's strategic sampling effort last summer, and the three positives reported by New Mexico Game and Fish last year, CWD has been detected in 9 of 31 deer sampled in the Hueco Mountains.
CWD is a member of the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other diseases in this group include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) in cattle, and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. CWD among cervids is a progressive, fatal disease that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness. CWD is not known to affect humans.
There is no vaccine or cure for CWD, but steps have been taken to minimize the risk of the disease spreading from beyond the area where it currently exists. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and Texas Animal Health Commission adopted rules restricting movement of deer, elk, and other susceptible species within or from the CWD Zones, and enhancing surveillance efforts.
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