Archive for the 'Saltwater' Category

2018 Crab Trap Removal

Monday, February 5th, 2018
Dead crab in abandoned trap, San Antonio Bay. Image  Art Morris, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Dead crab in abandoned trap, San Antonio Bay. Image
Art Morris, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

This is Passport to Texas

Commercial crab fishermen use baited wire traps to lure their prey. Sometimes traps end up missing due to storms, or they are simply discarded.

These traps continue “ghost fishing” for months or years—capturing fish and other marine creatures, including endangered species, thus taking an environmental and economic toll on gulf fisheries.

In February of 2002, Texas Parks and Wildlife conducted the first abandoned crab trap removal program. During a 10-day period in February volunteers like you, join Texas Parks and Wildlife staff and partners, in removing derelict traps.

More than 32,000 crab traps have been removed from the gulf since 2002, saving tens of thousands of marine organisms.

This year’s cleanup is February 16th through the 25th. The big cleanup “push” is Saturday, February 17 from 10 to noon. The cleanup is the only time citizens may remove these traps from gulf waters.

Texas Parks and Wildlife facilitates roughly 20 coastal sites, and provides disposal facilities, tarps, gloves, crab trap hooks and other items to help volunteers remove troublesome traps.

To volunteer for this year’s program visit the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish restoration Program supports our series.

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

Setting Your Sights on Unusual Shells

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018
Spirula shells. Photo credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm

Spirula shells. Photo credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm

This is passport to Texas

Before you can sell seashells by the seashore, you first have to find them.

I feel the best time to go shelling is in the wintertime.

Paul Hammerschmidt is a lifelong shell collector. He says winter storms churn up the Gulf bottom, sending shells onto the beach. Improve your chances of finding intact shells when you avoid crowded shoreline.

If you get a chance to go to some more isolated beaches, like down on Padres island, or something like that, where the population of humans is not quite so thick, you’ll have a much better chance of finding some really unusual shells.

Such as a sweet little shell called baby ears, or another special shell worth searching for called spirula.

And it’s a coiled, snail-like shell. But it doesn’t belong to a snail—it belongs to a little squid. And it’s inside the squid, and when the squid dies, that little thing has a lot of chambers in it with gas, and it floats and washes up on the beach. Those are very pretty, bright white, and they’re very fragile, so you have to be careful with them.

This winter, instead of heading to the slopes for skiing, go to the beach for shelling…you can still have hot cocoa when you’re done.

Saturdays through the end of February Ranger Lisa leads shell hunting, identification and collecting workshops at Galveston Island SP. Find details in the calendar section of the TPW website.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

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

Winter Shell Collecting in Texas

Monday, January 29th, 2018
Beachcombing on Galveston Island in Winter.

Beachcombing on Galveston Island in Winter.

This is passport to Texas

Nobody thinks twice about collecting shells from the beach. But I started to wonder if it’s really okay since beaches are public land.

It’s okay to collect shells. The ones that are broken and come apart, they create the sand that’s out there, but there is no law against it [collecting].

Paul Hammerschmidt, retired from coastal fisheries, is a lifelong shell collector. He says collect responsibly to avoid creating problems for the environment or marine animals.

I highly recommend that you only take shells that are from dead animals—not live animals.

How can you determine if something is still alive? In the case of the popular sand dollar, small spines cover the shells of living animals…so look for smooth, spineless shells. If, like me, you’ve never found a sand dollar on the beach—there’s good reason for it.

I think it’s because everybody wants to get a sand dollar. And, too, they’re another very fragile shell. And when the waves are strong, they’ll get broken up, and you’ll just see fragments of them. A lot of times, the best time to find a sand dollar, is after a storm—and then very early in the morning—before anybody else gets out on the beach.

More tips on when and where to go shelling tomorrow.

We record our series in Austin at the Block House. Joel Block Engineers our program.

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.

TPW TV – The Shrimping Life

Friday, January 19th, 2018
The shrimping life.

The shrimping life.

This is Passport to Texas

When it comes to seafood, shrimp is king. And the Stringo Family—from Port O’Connor—are king-makers, having shrimped Texas Bays for decades.

I was born here. That’s all I’ve ever done—you know. Matagorda Bay, mainly.

That’s Anthony Stringo. He and his 75 year old father, Jesse, appear next week on a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Anthony says his dad’s been shrimping the bays most of his life.

Fifty years I’d say. Yeah. Probably one of the oldest left out here. There might be one or two more his age left.

Texas Parks and WildlifeFisheries Biologist, Mark Fisher, also on the show, says shrimping’s changed since the Stringo family started working the bays.

Shrimping in the nineteen fifties was a very good decade. A price of shrimp was very high, fuel, fuel was cheap, labor was abundant; there was almost no government regulation back then. If you could work hard and handle it, it was all for the taking.

Anthony says shrimping’s not as freewheeling or as lucrative today.

These are the big shrimp, we ought to be getting four dollars a pound for them shrimp right there. But the markets not there because [consumers] get so much from overseas, [including] the farm raised shrimp.

Last of the Stringos airs on next week’s Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Learn to Cook Fish that Everyone Enjoys

Monday, January 1st, 2018
Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

This is Passport to Texas

If one of your resolutions for 2018 includes catching, cooking and eating more fish, we’re here to help.

Freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, something most of us lack in our Standard American Diet…the acronym for which is SAD.

In Texas, we have fishing opportunities statewide. But once you’ve caught them, then what? Some of us don’t have much experience preparing fish. So we steer clear.

However, this month’s Texas Parks and Wildlife cooking class collaboration with Central Market cooking schools, will help get you past this aversion. It’s a hands-on class that will have you preparing fish like a pro—with a citrus twist.

The menu for this class includes Fried Oyster Tacos with Citrus Salsa; Roasted Red Snapper with Citrus & Pistachios; & Blackened Redfish with Quick Cabbage & Lemon Butter. Happy New Year, right?

Classes are Tuesday, January 9 in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Plano and Southlake. Historically, fish and seafood classes tend to fill fast.

Find registration information at passporttotexas.org [click on the links above to the school closest to you].

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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