Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

Releasing Aquarium Fish Not Humane

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Aquarium in TV. Image: Furnish Burnish

This is Passport to Texas

How far would you travel to ensure the future of your favorite exotic aquarium fish?

We had some folks telling us that they would go as far as 50 miles to find an appropriate body of water.

Releasing pet fish into Texas waters when you no longer want them, is not a humane act. Exotic aquaria species disrupt natural ecosystems.

When we spoke, Priscilla Weeks was a research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center. At the time, her team used a TPWD grant to research why people release their fish into Texas waters.

I think there might be a stereotype where folks think that it is easy, emotionally, just to release a fish. But actually what we’re finding is folks are very attached to their pets.

According to research, whether a person gives up their fish depends on personal preference like its behavior or physical attributes.

And what we’re finding is that different individuals prefer different attributes of a fish. So, it’s not necessarily that it grows too big in my tank, because I may like a big fish.

If those attributes change, sometimes so does the owners’ interest in the animal.

Releasing a fish is not the only option when you no longer want it. Weeks says you can euthanize it, but less drastic is taking it back to the pet store.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series.

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

Don’t Dump Your Fish Tank in Texas Waters

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

What happens when well meaning citizens release the “sucker fish” (Plecostomus) from their aquarium into the wild?…they grow and multiply! Picture from Lake Dunlap, TX.

This is Passport to Texas

Remember this?

He’s gonna get out of here. He’s going to get flushed. What a smart little guy!

We love how in the Pixar animation, Finding Nemo, the aquarium fish escape into the wild. The problem is most fish in Texas aquariums aren’t from here.

Luci Cook-Hildreth is a fisheries biologist, formerly with Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Inland Fisheries Division.

Even really smart people sometimes don’t understand that a fish is not just a fish and water is not just water. They go, “I have a creek in my backyard, and I have a fish that’s too big for my tank. Well, why don’t I just set him free?” And they don’t understand that there’s a lot of biological and ecological ramifications to that decision.

When these fish thrive in Texas waters, they out-compete native fish populations.

Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to control what species of fish people own because of the Internet. Despite state laws, there seems to be a constant supply—and demand—for illegal species. For good reason.

Folks that are interested in selling illegal fish have the potential to make thousands of dollars on these fish. And we can slap a fine on them, for 200 or 300 dollars, and it’s really just the cost of doing business for these folks.

Releasing one fish into the wild might endanger many more.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

TPW TV–Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Honoree

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame 2017 Honoree: Gulf States Toyota.

This is Passport to Texas

The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to the sport. Gulf States Toyota is one such inductee.

Gulf States Toyota joined with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in a private-public partnership to create the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, and also with the Toyota ShareLunker program.

Dave Terre, Texas Parks and Wildlife chief of fish management and research, says Gulf States Toyota, has been a boon to bass fishing…and not just in Texas.

The Toyota Texas bass Classic has been huge for Texas Parks and Wildlife. It’s provided us an opportunity to engage millions of people into fishing—all across Texas, and really across the United States of America.

The Guld State’s support helped double the neighborhood fishin’ lakes in Texas, thus making fishing accessible to more families in the urban core. And its long-term involvement in the ShareLunker program, is legend.

Gulf States Toyota supported the Sharelunker program since 2009. It’s really putting us on a path to create cutting edge science. It’s allowed us to be able to track these fish through DNA.

Gulf States Toyota is in the spotlight next week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

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

TPW TV– Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

Friday, June 1st, 2018
Dr. Bobby Gene Whiteside

Dr. Bobby Gene Whiteside

This is Passport to Texas

Dr. Bobby Gene Whiteside taught at Texas State University for 33 years; for 18 years he directed the aquatic biology program there. He calls himself an outdoor oriented country boy.

My family, and then my teaching and then bass fishing was sort of the order of things.

Dr. Whiteside is the first academic inducted into the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Hall of Fame, which honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to freshwater fishing in Texas. A longtime member of the Canyon Bass Club, fellow club member, Carl Adkins, says to know Whiteside is to learn from him.

He basically teaches fishing and how to fish just like he taught species and all the other things when he was actually teaching in the University. Anybody that meets him or is around him very long picks up knowledge from him.

Roy Klein-laster, a retired aquatic biologist from Texas Parks and Wildlife, gives this professor high marks.

Educators can really be judged by the network they create. He has had students go into academia, he’s had them work for different conservation agencies, water quality agencies, Parks and Wildlife, EPA.

Dr. Bobby Gene Whiteside is in the spotlight next week on the Texas Parks and Wildlifeseries on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Humane Handling of Caught Fish

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

How to handle fish once you get them home.

This is Passport to Texas

Like to fish? Then you should know this Saturday, June second, is Free Fishing Day in Texas.

People don’t need a fishing license to fish on that first Saturday in June.

Great news, right? Former Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic training specialist, Caleb Harris, says when you reel in a fish you intend to keep, there is a humane way to dispatch your catch before it becomes dinner.

Most people say that the kindest way to care for a fish that you want to keep [for dinner] is to put it on ice as fast as possible.

The cold temperature, says Harris, causes the fish’s bodily functions to slow down…way down.

The ice will anesthetize it; it’ll be virtually painless at that cold temperature; the fish will get cold and will slowly pass. So, yeah. If you have a boat, and you have the ability to bring an ice chest, you know—catch the fish—if you intend to keep it, make sure it’s a legal size, and put it right on ice.

When you get the fish home, you’ll want to immediately filet it and either cook it up right away, or freeze it.

Find a video on how to filet fish, and a link to information on the best way to freeze fish at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti