There are several proposed changes to Texas saltwater fishing regulations. One that will have a big impact on Galveston area fishing is a reduction in the daily bag limit for speckled trout.

In order to obtain the views of anglers and others that are affected by the changes, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be taking public comments 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.

The public hearing for the Galveston area will take place this Tuesday, February 26 at the Nessler Civic Center in Texas City. The Nessler Center is located at 2010 5th Ave. North and the meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

An earlier announcement stated that the meeting would begin at 7 p.m.; however, that changed and it is now scheduled at 6 p.m.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. Report your catch to reel.report@galvnews.com or call 409-683-5273.

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