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RULE §57.972General Rules

(a) There are no public waters closed to the taking and retaining of fish, except as provided in this subchapter.

(b) Game fish may be taken only by pole and line, except as provided in this subchapter.

(c) The bag and possession limits set forth in this subchapter do not apply to the possession or landing of fish lawfully raised under an offshore aquaculture permit issued under Subchapter C of this chapter (relating to Introduction of Fish, Shellfish, and Aquatic Plants).

(d) Fish caught in federal waters in compliance with a federal fishery management plan may be landed in Texas.

(e) In Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Jeff Davis, Hudspeth, Kinney, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties, the only fishes that may be used or possessed for bait while fishing are common carp, fathead minnows, gizzard and threadfin shad, sunfish (Lepomis), goldfish, golden shiners, Mexican tetra, Rio Grande cichlid, and silversides (Atherinidae family).

(f) There is no open season on porpoises, dolphins (mammals), whales, or sawfishes (Pristis pectinata and P. pristis).

(g) It is unlawful:

  (1) for any person to take or attempt to take fish by any means, or at any time or place, other than as permitted under this subchapter;

  (2) for any person to possess fish within a protected length limit or in greater numbers than as permitted under this subchapter;

  (3) for any person, while fishing on or in public waters, to have in possession fish in excess of the daily bag limit or fish within a protected length limit as established for those waters;

  (4) for any person to land by boat or person any fish within a protected length limit, or in excess of the daily bag limit or possession limit established for those fish;

  (5) for any person to use game fish or any part thereof as bait, except for processed catfish heads used as crab-trap bait by a licensed crab fisherman, provided the catfish is obtained from an aquaculture facility permitted to operate in the United States. A person who uses catfish as bait under this paragraph shall, upon the request of a department employee acting within the scope of official duties, furnish appropriate authenticating documentation, such as a bill of sale or receipt, to prove that the catfish was obtained from a legal source;

  (6) for any person to possess a finfish of any species, except broadbill swordfish, shark or king mackerel, taken from public water (salt water or fresh water) that has the head or tail removed until such person finally lands the catch on the mainland, a peninsula, or barrier island not including jetties or piers and does not transport the catch by boat;

  (7) for any person to use any vessel to harry, herd, or drive fish including but not limited to operating any vessel in a repeated circular course, for the purpose of or resulting in the concentration of fish for the purpose of taking or attempting to take fish;

  (8) for any person to release into the public waters of this state a fish with a device or substance implanted or attached that is designed, constructed or adapted to produce an audible, visual, or electronic signal used to monitor, track, follow, or in any manner aid in the location of the released fish;

  (9) for any person to knowingly take, kill, or disturb sea turtles or sea turtle eggs in or from the waters of the State of Texas;

  (10) for any person to knowingly take or possess a diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) or their eggs unless the person is authorized to do so under a permit issued under Chapter 69, Subchapter J of this title (relating to Scientific, Educational, and Zoological Permits);

  (11) for any person to take or kill shell-bearing mollusks, hermit crabs, starfish, or sea urchins from November 1 through April 30 within the following boundary: the bay and pass sides of South Padre Island from the East end of the north jetty at Brazos Santiago Pass to the West end of West Marisol drive in the town of South Padre Island, out 1,000 yards from the mean high-tide line, and bounded to the south by the centerline of the Brazos Santiago Pass;

  (12) for any person to take, kill, or possess more than 15 univalve snails (all species), to include no more than two of each of the following species: lightening whelk, horse conch, Florida fighting conch, pear whelk, banded tulip, and Florida rocksnail; or

  (13) for any person to:

    (A) purchase or use more finfish (red drum) tags during a license year than the number and type authorized by the commission, excluding duplicate tags issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, §46.006;

    (B) use the same finfish tag for the purpose of tagging more than one finfish;

    (C) use a finfish tag in the name of another person;

    (D) use a tag on a finfish for which another tag is specifically required;

    (E) catch and retain a finfish required to be tagged and fail to immediately attach and secure a tag, with the day and month of catch cut out, to the finfish at the narrowest part of the finfish tail, just ahead of the tail fin;

    (F) have in possession both a Red Drum Tag and a Duplicate Red Drum Tag issued to the same license or saltwater stamp holder; or

    (G) have in possession both an Exempt Red Drum Tag and a Duplicate Exempt Red Drum Tag issued to the same license holder.

(h) Harvest Log.

  (1) The provisions of this subsection apply to any person in possession of a license lawfully purchased by any means other than through an automated point-of-sale system.

  (2) A person who takes a red drum in excess of the maximum length limit shall complete, in ink, the harvest log on the back of the hunting or fishing license, as applicable, immediately upon kill, or, in the case of fish, upon retention.

(i) Alternative Licensing System.

  (1) The requirements of this title that require the attachment of license tags to wildlife resources do not apply to any person in lawful possession of a license that was sold by the department without tags for red drum. A properly executed wildlife resource document must accompany any red drum in excess of maximum size limits until the provisions of this title and Parks and Wildlife Code governing the possession of the particular wildlife resource cease to apply.

  (2) The provisions of this section do not exempt any person from any provision of this subchapter that requires or prescribes the use of a wildlife resource document.

Source Note: The provisions of this §57.972 adopted to be effective June 27, 2010, 35 TexReg 5564; amended to be effective May 16, 2012, 37 TexReg 3602; amended to be effective January 2, 2013, 37 TexReg 10229; amended to be effective September 1, 2013, 38 TexReg 3790; amended to be effective December 10, 2013, 38 TexReg 8912

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