Archive for the 'Regulations' Category

You Have to be HIP (Certified) to Hunt Ducks

Friday, July 27th, 2018
Waterfowl hunting at Guadalupe Delta WMA.

Waterfowl hunting at Guadalupe Delta WMA.

This is Passport to Texas

If you plan on hunting migratory game birds in Texas this fall, you need to be HIP – HIP certified, that is. HIP stands for Harvest Information Program.

It’s purpose is to gain information on waterfowl and migratory bird hunters nationwide. Basically a name and address and a little bit about their previous year’s hunting activity—as well as what they plan on hunting what they plan on hunting in the upcoming year.

Kevin Kraai is Waterfowl Program Coordinator. He says the HIP program helps wildlife professionals improve resource management practices as well as track various waterfowl populations throughout the country.

It’s a very useful tool in setting the future year hunting regulations and management decisions.

Being a HIP certified waterfowl hunter isn’t just a good idea—it’s the law.

Officially it is a requirement by law that every individual that plans on hunting migratory birds in the state of Texas us HIP certified. If you are not HIP certified and you are hunting migratory game birds, you are subject to game violations.

We have a link to information about becoming HIP certified at

The Wildlife and Sportfish restoration program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel…

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

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.

Crack Down on Illegal Fish Trade

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Texas Game Wardens are cracking down illegal fish trade in markets after nearly 20 area fish markets and restaurants were cited for buying illegal seafood. Image: KTRK

This is Passport to Texas

Houston has a dynamic culinary scene, where seafood is on the menu. In April, Texas Game Wardens wrapped up a two-year covert operation by issuing more than 150 citations to fish markets and restaurants in the Houston area that illegally purchased game fish from undercover officers.

Over the two year period, we approached approximately 40 businesses in the Houston area—restaurants and markets. And I think the final number was 19 purchased from us. So, about 50% purchased.

Captain Josh Koenig oversees the Game Warden’s Special Ops Criminal Investigations Division. During the two-year operation, wardens in plain clothes offered to sell more than a dozen different Texas saltwater species to seafood markets and restaurants along the upper Texas coast.

The black market fish market is definitely a global issue. The legal folks who are doing everything correct, it could put a damper on them; these illegal fish can change the market, and affect you then when you in turn go to buy fish. So, trying to slow down or stop the black market fish trade is a very high priority.

Wardens received tips from sources identifying businesses known to purchase fish under the table. They began approaching them using product seized from other cases. These covert investigations are ongoing.

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

Preventing the Spread of Zebra Mussels

Thursday, July 6th, 2017
Places where invasive zebra mussels hitch a ride.

Places where invasive zebra mussels hitch a ride.

This is Passport to Texas

Last month we discovered zebra mussels in Canyon Lake.

Every time you get a new infestation it’s discouraging – it just really is. It just gets you down. And it’s frustrating, because you know that if boaters and people who we know care about the lakes and rivers in this state, if they would just take some time, and be a little careful and make sure that they just clean, drain and dry their boat before they leave the lake every single time, that will go a long time towards preventing their spread.

Fisheries biologist Brian Van Zee says zebra mussels can clog public water intakes, and damage boats and motors left in infested waters.

You know, if boats are stored on the water in the marina, those are the ones where we’re going to have colonies of adult zebra mussels attached to them. Those are the ones that boat owners need to take the time to have that boat fully cleaned and decontaminated; have it inspected by Parks and Wildlife before you go ahead and move it to a different lake.

Once in a river basin, zebra mussels are there to stay.

But, what we can do is we can prevent them from being spread to a new river basin. If we can get the word out to these boat owners and public and transporters in the state, and let them know we’re trying to stop this spread, and prevent new infestations within new river basins – then we have a chance.

Find procedures to clean, drain and dry your boat on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and 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 where you can find additional information.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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


Additional Information:

Texas Commercial Fishing Guide [PDF]

Shrimp Regulations and Restrictions

Oyster Regulations