The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will hold an online public meeting to seek input on regulations that would close areas to saltwater fishing during severe cold weather.
TPWD ordered nearly two dozen areas along the gulf coast shut down during the big freeze event in February, including some in Cameron and Willacy counties.
Those areas were the entire harbor of Port Mansfield in Willacy County and the Brazos Santiago Pass South Jetty and Point Isabel in Cameron County.
TPWD officials are seeking input on how to better manage fishing shutdowns during future cold-weather events. In shallow areas of bays along the gulf, many gamefish species congregate in deeper water and this makes them vulnerable to fishing pressure.
The draft rules which have been proposed would allow the TPWD executive director to close thermal refuge areas to fishing during freeze events. New rules also will determine what criteria will be used to close and re-open these areas.
“A hard freeze like the one seen in February can cause surviving fish to congregate in a few deeper water areas where they become sluggish and prone to capture,” TPWD said in a statement. “In an attempt to improve the effectiveness of these closures before the next freeze event, TPWD is reviewing the thermal refuge closure areas.”
For those will be unable to attend the Zoom webinar, comments can be filed on the TPWD’s website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/
Joining the meeting
WHAT: TPWD online public zoom meeting
WHEN: Thursday at 6 p.m.
REASON: To seek public input on thermal refuges, on rules on how and when to ban fishing in certain areas during severe cold weather
HOW: Zoom URL is https://esc11.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mKWwKm9dT_aVVD2zoVT8xA