Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

The Kraken Serves Texas as an Artificial Reef

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

This is Passport to Texas

On Jan. 20th, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Artificial Reef Program sank a 371-ft cargo vessel, named The Kraken, more than 60 miles off the coast of Galveston. Alison Baldwin is an Artificial Reef technician.

Because Texas [gulf floor] doesn’t have a lot of structure, it makes it hard to for fishermen to fish because fish really enjoy structure. So any time we put structure out here, it’s really good for fishermen and divers.

Program Leader, Dale Shively, says the Kraken, which began life in 1987 as a Japanese cargo ship, was cleaned of fuel, oil and hazardous materials before being deployed into gulf waters.

We’re at our reef site, about 65 miles out of Galveston. We’re trying to maneuver into a deep water spot that’s at least 140 feet deep.

To facilitate a controlled flood to sink the ship, Baldwin says work crews cut four large holes into the its hull.

Water will rush into the stern, and we’re hoping that the stern touches the bottom first, and all that super structure will fill with water, and it will bring the bow down nice and slow.

Everything progressed flawlessly, because of the planning and preparation that went into it beforehand.

As soon as we sink the ship, there should be fish on it in minutes—which is really exciting.

Since 1990, the artificial reef program has documented more than 200 marine fish species that make these complex, stable and durable habitats home.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV–Casting Call with Neighborhood Fishin’

Friday, March 17th, 2017
Effie Dukes at her Neighborhood Fishin' pond.

Effie Dukes at her Neighborhood Fishin’ pond.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks Wildlife’s Neighborhood Fishin’ program creates convenient and close-to-home fishing opportunities for city-dwellers by stocking urban lakes.

Our goal with the neighborhood fishin’ program is to bring the focus back to the outdoors.

Effie Dukes and her husband David took the bait. In a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV show next week, viewers wait along with them at East Metropolitan Park in Travis County for the stocking truck to arrive.

I think they’ll be coming momentarily, because they said between 9 and 9:30. Yeah, look. They’re coming with the fish.

Marcos de Jesus is a natural resource specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He says the fish they stock are big, healthy, and fun to catch. As Effie and David discovered.

What we try to do is to actually bring fishing close to home. Most people in Texas are moving into bigger and bigger towns. Having these opportunities in your backyard, basically, is what it’s all about. [Effie] Yeah! Got a big one! [David] That’s what I’m talking about.

The Neighborhood Fishin’ Program provides an outdoor experience with fishing at its core. Perhaps her successful experience means the program reeled in Effie Dukes as its newest recruit.

It’s a big catfish. And I caught it with a net. With the help of my husband. With a rod and reel that I don’t know how to use. [laughs]

Catch the segment, Casting Call, next week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV show on PBS. Check your local listings. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine – Gently Down the Stream

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Paddling in  Texas

Paddling in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

Photo-journalist, Camille Wheeler, grew up in a farming and ranching family in West Texas, and remains a country girl at heart, despite living in the Capital City since the mid-1990s.

I didn’t grow up around very much water. So, while I was a country girl, I’ve always had a fascination with rivers and streams.

Given her fascination for flowing water, she wondered why she’d never explored Austin’s Lady Bird Lake.

So, about a year ago [in January], I went out—really for the first time by myself—on a kayak, on Lady Bird Lake. And the lake was just filled with all these wintering birds. And the double crested cormorant is one of my favorite birds in the world. There were so many of them, and I could paddle up close to them and take pictures. And I was like: Why have I not been doing this?

She discovered Lady Bird Lake is in Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Paddling Trails Program, which gave her an idea for an article. She shared the idea with TPW magazine’s editor, and the agency’s nature tourism manager.

We came up with this idea of me traveling around the state as a beginner [paddler] who has medium knowledge of birds, and putting the two things together for readers.

Read about it in the March issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. On tomorrow’s show: how Camille Wheeler found the middle of nowhere in the middle of everywhere on an urban paddling trail.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Fighting the Threat of Lionfish in Texas

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
Beautiful but deadly lionfish. Image from Harte Research Institute.

Beautiful but deadly lionfish. Image from Harte Research Institute.

This is Passport to Texas

With amazing appetites and reproductive abilities, lionfish are a growing threat to native Texas marine life.

Everybody agreed lionfish was a problem, but we weren’t working together. And that’s always a challenge, because this is not going to be fixed by biologists.

Leslie Hartman, Matagorda Bay Program Leader, said during last year’s Lone Star Lionfish symposium organizations worked together to address this issue.

We brought together engineers, biologists, legal professionals, including enforcement and lawyers. We brought in oil, shrimpers…academicians. We brought in a roboticist expert. All this, because you cannot fix the lionfish issue with a single, non-existent silver bullet.

Participants developed seven parameters of need, including funding, research, and regulation—and assigned each one an approximate cost and pragmatic rating.

Using these approximate costs and the pragmatic rating, things should float to the top. [We can say] this is a really good value, and it’s really practical. So this would be something that we would rate high. All of this is to create a unified state plan. And we’re going to be able to disseminate it to the universities, and the engineers, and the regulators, and say: ‘this is what a whole bunch of experts determined as being the most appropriate way to go about this, so that it can be most effective.’

The Second Annual Lone Star Lionfish Symposium is February 15 & 16.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

The Problem with Lionfish

Monday, February 6th, 2017
Pretty but deadly to native aquatic species.

Pretty but deadly to native aquatic species.

This is Passport to Texas

The lionfish, native to the Pacific Ocean, is a common species in the aquarium trade.

But a couple of them have gotten loose

Leslie Hartman—Matagorda Bay Program Leader—says lionfish wasted no time getting busy making more of their kind.

They get to reproductive age in one year. They breed every four days. They can be found in an inch of water. They can be found in 12-hunderd feet of water. These guys are really super successful. And they’re Americanized. They’re willing to eat past the point when they’re full, until they get fat.

And what they eat are native marine species.

We’re really concerned about how many of our fish, shrimp and crabs their eating. In the Caribbean—and they’ve been there quite a number of years before us—a single Lionfish on a little coral reef, consumed 80% of that season’s young.

Because of their voracious appetites, their reproductive prowess, and the fact that they haven’t any predators…

We’re really concerned long term for the effect it’s going to have on all of our fisheries. Whether it’s the commercial shrimp and blue crab, whether it’s the recreational snapper, redfish, trout—we just know we need to be concerned.

Tomorrow Leslie Hartman tells us about what’s being done to prevent lionfish from becoming a problem in Texas.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.