Archive for the 'Saltwater' Category

Angling: Red Snapper Survey

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Red Snapper

Red Snapper

This is Passport to Texas

Sometime this summer saltwater anglers will have red snapper on the half shell sizzling on the grill.

03— It’s certainly one of the most highly sought after [fish] in the gulf – both here in Texas and in other states.

And TPW wants to know more about your catch. Jeremy Leitz [LEETZ] works in coastal fisheries at Parks and Wildlife. He says the division started a one-year pilot program in May 2014 to collect information about red snapper harvests from recreational anglers.

11—We’re going to use that information we collect directly from anglers alongside our routine creel surveys to get a better estimate of the number of red snapper that are being caught by recreational anglers. One will validate the other one.

Leitz says one person in the angling party can fill out the online survey for everyone involved.

08—It’s a quick, short, three-four question survey: date of the trip, how many fish were caught, how many people in the angling party. It will take just a few seconds to fill out.

Filling out the survey is voluntary; find it on the TPW website.

12—Our routine creel surveys typically last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A lot of these folks may not come in until later in the day. So, this reporting website will catch some of those later anglers, and so we’ll see if we’re still matching up with our creel surveys.

Data from the survey will help biologists better manage the species, and improve fishing for all. The WSFR program supports our series; its funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel.

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

Angling: Red Snapper

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Nice looking red snapper.

Nice looking red snapper.

This is Passport to Texas

Seasoned anglers may roll their eyes when I make this confession, but I have been using “redfish” and “red snapper” interchangeably. This—I know now—is wrong.

11— Red snapper is different from what people commonly refer to as redfish or red drum. So, yes. Two different species. Red snapper and red drum… of which red drum is often referred to as redfish.

Thank you, Jeremy Leitz [LEETZ], for clearing that up. Jeremy is with coastal fisheries. These species are easy to tell apart: Red drum is more streamlined and has a black dot on its tail; red snapper is chunkier and…well… redder.

08—Red snapper are typically found in deeper waters along structures such as artificial or natural reefs. While red drum are in the gulf, they’re typically more sought after in our bay systems.

I’m telling you this because Parks and Wildlife’s Coastal Fisheries division requests your help with a voluntary red snapper survey, which makes accurate identification of the species vital.

14— What we’re asking of recreational anglers is that after a fishing trip, they log onto a website to record the number of red snapper that trip harvested. Only one angler needs to report per party, but again, after you’re done with your trip, log into the website and report the number you have caught.

The survey is a pilot program that continues through May 2015. Find it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series; it’s funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel.

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

Parks: A Seaside Park’s Rebirth

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Sea Rim State Park

Sea Rim State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Sea Rim State Park in Sabine Pass is unique in the Texas park system.

07— It’s one of the most unique parks in the system, because it is the only park where the marshlands meet the Gulf of Mexico.

Ben Herman is Sea Rim’s superintendent. He says the diversity of ecosystems makes this park a standout – and an interesting place to live.

16— You have such a wide variety of ecosystems – both in the marshlands and on the surfside – that the joining of those two are pretty cool. I always joke on one side of my house I have mosquitoes and alligators and on the other side I have sharks and seaweed.

The natural world is as brutal as it is beautiful. In 2005 Hurricane Rita tore up Sea Rim, but before it could fully recover, Hurricane Ike brought destruction in 2008.

06— Which were pretty devastating blows for the park. We basically lost all of our facilities and all of our utilities.

TPWD closed the site for repairs. As recently as one year ago, when Herman joined the park, things looked bleak.

16— There was very little out here. We had to completely rebuild all of our logistics and all of our infrastructure. So now, being able to roll it back out to the residents, and everybody who wants to come up and enjoy Sea Rim, is a very proud moment for us. It was a long time coming.

The park celebrated its grand reopening June 20. How the park is nearly better than before. That’s tomorrow.

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

Angling: Value of Artificial Reefs

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Beauty of artificial reef

Beauty of artificial reef

This is Passport to Texas

An article by Melissa Gaskill in the June issue of Texas parks and Wildlife magazine, explores the value of artificial reefs. These are retired structures like oil platforms that create much-needed hard substrate in the gulf. She asks whether the reefs increase marine populations, or simply aggregate existing populations.

07— The first thing that happens when you put any kind of structure in the water is that fish species will congregate around it; they’re attracted to that.

Dale Shively is Texas Parks and Wildlife program leader for artificial reefs. He says congregating is just the beginning.

20— There also is production that goes on. Once you get that marine life growing, you’re creating an ecosystem. You’re not only bringing fish species in, but they stay there, live there, they spawn there. You can find the juveniles on there. That doesn’t mean that some of those fish species don’t migrate away at times. But they actually use it for various life stages.

Through a monitoring program, Shively says they’re attempting to quantify various fish species by relative abundance.

21— There is also a debate about how valuable are oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. There are a lot of fishermen who claim that you remove these and you’re destroying the red snapper population. There’s another school of thought that the red snapper were here originally without the oil platforms. But, there’s no doubt that the red snapper population has increased since we have more structure out there.

Read about this debate in the June issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

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

Angling: Artificial Reefs

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Diving near an artificial reef.

Diving near an artificial reef.

This is Passport to Texas

What do concrete, decommissioned ships and retired oil platforms have in common? They’re all materials used to create artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. But if you ask Dale Shively which is best material for creating this marine habitat, he says: it depends.

04— We have all of those materials in our program, and they all serve a different purpose.

Shively is Texas Parks and Wildlife program leader for artificial reefs.

27— Farther off shore, we have mainly petroleum platforms. They’re solid, stable, and durable. They’re massive structures that give a lot of area to invertebrate growth and bring in a lot of fish species. Ships that we put out are good habitat, but they’re also primarily to bring in diving opportunities. And then as you move in closer to shore, in our near shore reefs, we use a lot of concrete – bridge rubble and things like that – that are good for fishing.

The reefs create habitat for marine species, and this leads to better angling and diving opportunities.

12— What we’ve seen with the Texas Clipper project, is that economic returns for angling could be over a million dollars a year back to the local economy. Whereas diving could be several million.

Find an article on the value of artificial reefs in the June issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our Series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.