Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

Building Marine Habitat by Recycling a Ship

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Onlookers watch the Kinta go under.

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it, except for substrate—the hard material on which marine organism live and grow. That’s where this guy comes in.

[I’m] Dale Shivley; I’m the program leader for the artificial reef program for Texas Parks and Wildlife

Artificial reefs provide habitat for saltwater fish as well as destinations for underwater divers. About four years ago Shively and his crew were preparing to reef a 155 foot decommissioned freighter, called the Kinta, in 75 feet of water off the coast of Corpus Christi.

Basically, what we have is a huge piece of metal that will benefit the local environment. Marine organisms will begin to grow on it; fish will be attracted to it immediately; it’s been cleaned of environmental hazards and is ready to go. [ambience]

The ship has a new purpose on the gulf floor: nurturing marine life. Brooke Shipley-Lozano, a Scientist with the GIS Lab at Parks and Wildlife explains what happens when they reef a ship.

So, the water will start coming in at the stern. And then gradually the water will fill up the ballast tanks one by one from the stern to the fore, and the rear of the ship should hit the bottom, and then eventually the bow will follow suit, and it will land perfectly upright and everyone will celebrate…

See a video that features reefing the Kinta on the Texas Parks and Wildlife YouTube channel Find a link at passporttotexas.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

You Need Mussels to Make Pearls

Friday, October 26th, 2018
Washboard Mussel

Washboard Mussel

This is Passport to Texas

Though seemingly obscure, freshwater mussels play a vital role in a multi-million dollar industry.

There are at least 300 species of freshwater mussels in North America; Texas is home to more than 50 of those.
Freshwater mussel species are commercially harvested for their shells. Pieces of which become “seed material” for making cultured pearls.

More than 99% of all pearls sold worldwide are cultured.

Most freshwater mussel shells end up in Japan, Australia and Polynesia for the cultured pearl industry. Such a pearl begins with a polished sphere of North American freshwater mussel shell that’s surgically implanted into a marine oyster. The oyster identifies the object as an irritant, and begins to cover it with layers of iridescent mother-of-pearl. After about a year, it’s made a pearl.

Fifteen mussel species in Texas are listed as threatened at the state level. Six of those 15 species are now candidate for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Learn more about Texas freshwater mussels and get involved in Texas Mussel Watch on the Texas Nature Trackers page of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Genetics and Smart Bass

Friday, October 19th, 2018
Probbly not the smartest bass in the lake.

Probably not the smartest bass in the lake.

This is Passport to Texas

Researchers discovered that catching a bass may have more to do with the genetics of the fish than the skill of the angler.
A genetics experiment conducted on largemouth bass at Heart of the Hills Research Center in Kerrville, had researchers attempting something unusual. They wanted to find out if genetics, passed down through generations, played a role in whether a fish would take a baited hook.

For the experiment, researchers placed 110 bass in a large pond. Each time they caught a fish, they marked it, and then returned to the pond.

At the end of four weeks, ten percent of the bass had been caught three or four times…while 20 percent had never been hooked. These two groups were then placed in separate ponds and allowed to breed amongst themselves. In the end, the offspring of fish that were easily caught… were much more easily caught… than were the offspring of fish that had been hard to catch.

The differences became more noticeable with each successive generation, thus proving that the likelihood of a fish being caught on rod and reel is in fact an inheritable trait.

Now you have something fascinating to tell people at the next gathering you attend.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Sport Fish Restoration Program helps make fishing better for all.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re an angler or boater, you will be interested to know that every time you purchase fishing tackle or motor boat fuel, you contribute to a trust fund that helps support quality sport fishing and boating access in Texas.

It’s the Dingell-Johnson Act. Also called the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act; it is a national program.

It began as an excise tax on rods, reels, creels, and fishing lures; the tax money was used to help fund US efforts during World War II. In 1950 it was redirected, thanks to the efforts of Congressman John Dingell of Michigan and Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado.

Texas receives a 5% maximum apportionment of all of these federal taxes, and it is matched on a 3 to 1 basis with the sale of state fishing licenses.

In Texas, a little over one-third of the funds support fisheries management. One-fifth, hatchery operations; followed by boating access, aquatic education, habitat protection, sport fishery research and public outreach.

These funds help make fishing and boating better in Texas for everyone—from urban neighborhood fishin’ lakes to…well…this show.

Sport fishing is good for the Texas economy as anglers and boaters spend billions of dollars annually for goods and services. Besides, they get to go fishing. I call that win-win.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Fishing Builds Confidence

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Colt Anderson and his fishing partner Jonathan Gray.

This is Passport to Texas

Size, strength and speed…important attributes for most high school athletes; unless, of course, the sport is fishing.

You don’t have to be the biggest kid, or tallest kid, or the most athletic kid to be a bass fisherman. It’s all about your knowledge.

Several years ago Colt Anderson was half of a high school fishing duo; Jonathan Gray was his teammate.

It’s kind of like playing golf a little bit, where you have different tools and you have to adapt to the conditions. You can never become perfect at fishing, and that’s a cool thing because you can always improve.

Another factor that makes competitive high school fishing a great sport is that young women can also participate – like Marinna Collins and Mia Sartor were the only female team at tournaments in which they participated.

It’s hard being the only girl team out there. We’re going to represent. This is my first year, so I am a little scared, but, you just have to relax. Chill. Just go with it.

Fishing is a terrific way to introduce young people to the outdoors.

Ooh. I think that’s the furthest I’ve cast yet. [giggles] That felt good. It’s really cool being in this club because you get to meet a lot of different people. And, we’re all like one big family – and that’s really good to have friends you can be really close with.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

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