Several readers have called in or sent notes asking about the meeting tonight at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Dickinson Lab. I mentioned in Wednesday’s column that the group is contemplating recommending changes to the size and bag limits for flounder and trout and is interested in hearing comments from the public about the need for them.
The meetings, which are scheduled all along the Texas Gulf Coast, are to gather insight in to the views of fishermen and other interested parties who would be affected by a change in the regulations.
With the exception of parts of the lower and middle Texas Coast, trout and flounder stocks appear to be healthy. For flounder, it is a change from several years ago when the fishery was shown to be in decline and new regulations were enacted to increase the numbers. After the new flounder regulations were imposed, a noticeable increase in recreational flounder catches occurred with an increase in the overall population.
Why then is the department looking at changing the regulations if the stocks are shown to be in good shape? The answer, especially for the Upper Texas Coast area, is that they are looking to strengthen the two fisheries for future generations, taking into account environmental changes. The big factor in the environment is reduced flow of freshwater into the bays.
Sources close to the TPWD indicate the lower and middle coasts are likely to see changes, while our area is under evaluation and may or may not be affected.
So, what are some of the changes being evaluated?
For trout, it would be a reduction in the bag limit from 10 per day to five. For flounder, the November special regulation, which allows only two flounder per day and prohibits taking the flat fish by gigging, could be expanded back into October and extended into December.
I plan to attend tonight’s meeting and will report on what took place in Saturday’s column.