Archive for the 'Saltwater' Category

Bay Seining in Texas

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Examining marine life in sein net.

This is Passport to Texas

We call searching the Internet surfing. But, we call searching a net that’s been in the surf, seining.

Seining is dragging a long net through the water, catching small fish and aquatic animals.

Hans Haglund is superintendent at Galveston Island State Park. He says the bay waters are teaming with all kind of life. And he’s taken more than a few visitors seining in Galveston Bay.

We do it to help educate about the bay, the wetlands, the environment out here; to show people how important they are, how productive they are, what these areas do for us, why we might need to protect them and look out for them.

Abundant, healthy wetlands can help to mitigate potential flood damage, as well as serve as nurseries for marine life. Haglund describes visitor reactions to what they catch in their seine nets.

Oh, I never know that was out there, and I never knew you could get so much in a little area. Even people that have been using the bay a lot – a lot of fishermen – don’t realize how productive these areas are.

Some of the more unusual fish Haglund says they see include the pipe fish and lizard fish.

Summer’s here, and Galveston Island State Park offers a great coastal getaway. Learn more at texasstateparks.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series…and works to increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

TPW Magazine: Texas Surfing Championships

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Surf’s up in Corpus Christi. Image from http://www.visitcorpuschristitx.org

This is Passport to Texas

While you won’t find world-class waves along Texas’ 367 miles of coastline, you will find a legion of surfing enthusiasts engaging the sport with almost cult-like fanaticism.

And in the May issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine writer, Dave Brown, introduces readers to competitive surfers, in his article: Epic Texas Challenge — Texas Surfing Championships.

Brown puts readers in the middle of the action at the Texas Gulf Surfing Association State Surfing Championships, held each spring at Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi.

In the article, we meet surfers, including nine-year-old Keagan Sohls who won the state champion titles in both the Menehune and Micro-Grom divisions. And longtime surfer, Brett Hopkins, who is a grandfather.

Brown writes: There weren’t many surfers in Texas before 1960, but by 1965 that changed. Perhaps due to the Beach Boys romanticizing the sport.

Whet your appetite for surfing with Dave Brown’s article: Epic Texas Challenge — Texas Surfing Championships in the May issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

That’s our show…. brought to you in part by Ram trucks: built to serve.

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

Sargassum: Not Pretty, but Useful

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
Sargassum on Texas Beach, Image © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Sargassum on Texas Beach, Image © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

This is Passport to Texas

The arrival of brown colored algae, called sargassum, to Texas beaches is nearly as predictable as the return of the swallows to Capistrano, but not as welcome.

It shows up on the beach, late spring through early summer, and it can be a nuisance to your average partygoer.

Paul Hammerschmidt, formerly with Coastal Fisheries, says tons of sargassum wash up on the Texas coast from the North Atlantic, hindering beachgoer access to the water. Yet, sargassum is far from being a mere nuisance. It provides habitat for other living things.

There are many animals that only live in the sargassum weed in the Sargasso Sea. It also is a nursery area for a whole lot of game fish like Mahi Mahi, Marlin, Sailfish, that type of thing.

On shore, Hammerschmidt says beachcombers discover shells and sea beans in the slimy tangle, as well as live animals. Cities and counties that obtain permits may move the seaweed to help rebuild sand dunes. If you get a hankering to bring home some Sargassum, it does make a good garden fertilizer – with one caveat.

One thing you really do have to do is rinse the saltwater off of it. You don’t want that saltwater in your garden; that’s just not healthy for your garden.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

So Much Sargassum

Monday, March 19th, 2018
Image of Kemp's Ridley resting on Sargassum © Joseph Scarola

Image of Kemp’s Ridley resting on Sargassum © Joseph Scarola

This is Passport to Texas

Every spring and summer, visitors to the coast encounter piles of brown, wet, slimy vegetation on Texas beaches.

It’s a brown algae called sargassum.

Paul Hammerschmidt, formerly with Coastal Fisheries, says sargassum may accumulate on tide lines for miles.

It belongs to a whole group of plants that belong to the sargassum group. Most of those plants are attached to hard substrate – rocks, shells – that kind of thing. These particular species don’t attach to anything; they’re floating. They have little tiny gas bladders that help the plant float. So, periodically that breaks away and ends up on the Texas beach.

Sargassum originates in the Sargasso Sea, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.

…in a big floating gyre; a gyre is a big eddy. And this particular sea has no shoreline at all – no land shoreline. It’s surrounded by four different ocean currents that keep that seaweed trapped in this one particular area.

Yet, tons of sargassum escape and end up on Texas shores.

Changes in the currents; winds and storms can occur in the area, and section of it actually break off and get into the main currents. Those main currents will bring them into the gulf and eventually onto the beaches.

Tomorrow: the value of sargassum.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

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.