50th Anniversary: Redfish Wars, 1

Red Drum

Red Drum



This is Passport to Texas

It’s illegal to commercially fish red drum, or redfish, in Texas. In the 1970s, during routine monitoring of bays, biologists discovered a serious decline in the number of the species caught by commercial fishermen.

06- So, we started looking into it very carefully, and started implementing bag and size limits on these animals.

Paul Hammerschmidt, with coastal fisheries, says the new restrictions were just the beginning of a lengthy and involved process to help increase populations of the species.

12-The legislature actually required us to establish quotas on commercial fishing. And we were allowed to modify those quotas depending on the amount of fish that were being caught on a day-by-day basis.

Most commercial anglers cooperated with Texas Parks and Wildlife by reporting the redfish caught in their nets….

26-Annecdotally, we had heard that red drum being landed and sold to fish wholesalers were actually reported as another species. What that did, is that showed fewer and fewer redfish were being caught in a particular bay. And that impacted the formula that we used to establish the quotas. So, the fewer and fewer fish that they got, the next year the fewer and fewer fish they were allowed to catch.

This marked the beginning of what would become known as The Redfish Wars; we’ll have more tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration project supports our series…and funds the operations and management of fish hatcheries in Texas. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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