Archive for the 'Saltwater' Category

Preparing to Release the Kraken

Friday, November 11th, 2016
The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

This is Passport to Texas

The artificial reef team at Texas Parks and Wildlife works on several projects at once. Each with staggered timelines.

The whole process [for each] can take several years.

Program leader, Dale Shively says monies for mitigation from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill that came to Texas Parks and Wildlife were earmarked to establish new reefs.

One of those is an offshore, deep water ship project. We have a reef site that’s 70 miles out of Galveston in 140 feet of water that is designed for a ship. Recently, we awarded a contract on a ship that’s currently being cleaned in Brownsville, Texas. One of my staff members thought it would be fun to name it The Kraken. I, for one, didn’t know what a Kraken was. Later I found out it was a sea monster from various movies and Greek Mythology.

Far from being scary, this ship will attract marine life and help to improve recreational and commercial fishing.

So, we’re hoping to have that cleaned and ready to go later this year, if we can get all the approvals in place.

For all the latest information on the artificial reef program, log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and use the key words “artificial reef”.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Types of Artificial Reefs

Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

This is Passport to Texas

Artificial reefs created in the Gulf of Mexico provide substrate and habitat for marine life. The distance from shore factors into the kind of materials used for the reefs.

Well, in our program we look at the Gulf of Mexico as a whole.

Dale Shively is artificial reef program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife

As you get near shore, you get into shallower environments; you get into more mud-type environments. As you travel farther off shore, you get into deeper water, clearer water, more sand-type environments. The materials that we use are related to whatever water depth, and the type of water that we’re working in.

Rubble may be used near shore whereas ships and oil platforms are best in deep water.

In shallower environments, we need materials that are going to fit within a certain clearance—and that clearance is set by the coast guard and by the US Army Corps of Engineers. So, as we travel farther offshore, we’ll get into larger pieces of material such as ships and oil platforms. But, we’ll typically use pre-designed materials such as concrete pyramids, or man-made materials such as quarry rock, concrete culverts, and things like that for the shallower environments.

These reefs, near shore and farther out, attract marine life and create better fishing opportunities for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

What are Artificial Reefs?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it, except for hard substrate, which is necessary to attract marine life.

So, the little bit of hard substrate that we do have out there, we want to maintain and enhance that.

Dale Shively program leader for the artificial reef program at Texas Parks and Wildlife says they use various materials—from decommissioned ships and old oil platforms to construction rubble—to create substrate.

We don’t dump anything. We deploy materials. The materials that we use have been vetted, they are stable, complex and durable. They’re environmentally safe, and they add to the complexity of the environment that’s there.

Shively says it doesn’t take long before the artificial materials “come to life.”

The material immediately attracts marine organisms—especially fish. That’s one of the features. But, what we look for is long-term settling of organisms at that reef site. In a short period of time they will what we call ‘foul’ the material by growing on it. You’ll get barnacles, and crustaceans and other marine life. Once they settle and actually grow onto the structure that creates the basis of the food web. And from there, you develop a complex reef environment.

And that enhanced food web means better fishing for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Ask a Game Warden – Seafood Regulations

Monday, October 31st, 2016
Using fishing nets to harvest from the gulf.

Using fishing nets to harvest from the gulf.

This is Passport to Texas Ask a Game Warden

Is it okay to sell, barter or trade your fresh gulf catch? To find out, we asked Game Warden Brandi Reeder.

Whenever you have a recreational license, those products [you harvest] are for recreational purposes [only]. At the point that you conduct a sale, barter, or exchange for some sort of gain, that is now a commercial purpose. Therefore, you must be commercially licensed.

Reeder is Assistant Commander Fisheries Law Administrator. She says anglers may purchase licenses that cover commercial harvest and sale.

There are fishermen licenses, and there are dealer licenses. And so the two are a little bit different. One authorizes—obviously—the harvest. The other would authorize the purchase for sale, and the subsequent resale.

If your license is for recreational fishing only, and your cooler runneth over after a coastal fishing trip, invite folks to the house for a meal of gulf fish, or give away some of your catch. But Game Warden Reeder says that’s all you can do legally with a recreational license.

If they are such a successful fisherman—which I have known a few—and they would like to pursue a commercial market, and possibly sell, themselves, they need to do their due diligence. And, they’re always welcome to call Parks and Wildlife law enforcement offices in order to gain more insight and information.

We have a link on passporttotexas.org where you can find additional information.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

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Additional Information:

Texas Commercial Fishing Guide [PDF]

Shrimp Regulations and Restrictions

Oyster Regulations

 

Coastal Fisheries Gets Social (Media)

Friday, June 24th, 2016
Crab clutching TPWD Coastal Fisheries hat. Photo by Braden Gross.

Crab clutching TPWD Coastal Fisheries hat. Photo by Braden Gross.

This is Passport to Texas

Social media has improved Texas Parks and Wildlife’s ability to communicate with the public.

I think Social Media is just a great way to network and connect with people.

Julie Hagen is the social media specialist for the Coastal Fisheries Division.

Right now we just have a Facebook page, and we also use the Texas Parks and Wildlife main [social media] pages to also get out some pictures and different videos that we’re doing. But, our Coastal Fisheries Facebook page is a great place for people to come and ask questions; we answer all your questions. Or, just [come by] to see what other people are doing. Tell a story. Like a picture. Send us your own pictures. If you catch a nice fish and you want to show it off, send it to us—we’ll post it on the page.

Visitors to the Coastal Fisheries Facebook page enjoy behind-the-scenes photos of researchers in action.

It’s fun to see what they do. They have very different jobs; they get to go out on the water every single day—collect data. And it’s really interesting to see a different side of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Julie Hagen encourages community among Facebook fans.

I want to create a community on Facebook where people can go and respond to other people’s comments. If they ask a question and an angler knows—‘Oh, where’s the best fishing spot in Rockport?”—well, I’d love someone in the Facebook community to come along and say: “Hey, I’m from Rockport. This is where I love to fish.’ Those interactions are my favorite because sure we can give you some ideas, but there’s so much knowledge people have on their own, and having a space for them to come and share that with other people is really important to us as well.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program support our series.

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