TITLE 31. NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION

PART 2. TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT

CHAPTER 57. FISHERIES

SUBCHAPTER N. STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

DIVISION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

31 TAC §57.979

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new §57.979, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

The new section would increase the commercial and recreational bag limits for king mackerel from two fish per day to three fish per day. Federal action (82 FR 17387) in May of this year increased the daily bag limit for king mackerel in federal waters from two fish to three fish. The department has determined that making the daily bag limit in state waters identical to the daily bag limit in federal waters will provide additional angling opportunity to the public while preventing confusion and possible issues of compliance and enforcement without resulting in negative impacts to the resource.

Mark Lingo, Science and Policy Director, Coastal Fisheries Division, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rules.

Mr. Lingo also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the fisheries resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impacts to small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s "direct adverse economic impacts" to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers "direct economic impact "to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

The department has determined that the rules will not directly affect small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

The department has determined that because the rule as proposed does not impose a cost on regulated persons, it is not necessary to repeal or amend any existing rule.

In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.024, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS). The rule as proposed, if adopted, will neither create nor eliminate a government program; not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs; not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding; not affect the amount of any fee; create a new regulation; not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation; neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and have an insignificant positive impact on the state’s economy.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Tiffany Hopper (Coastal Fisheries) at (512) 389-4650, e-mail: Tiffany.Hopper@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

The new section is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

The proposed new rule affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

§57.979.Temporary Exception to Bag, Possession, and Length Limits for King Mackerel.

(a) The daily bag limits for king mackerel provided by §57.981(c)(5)(K)(i)(I) of this title (relating to Bag, Possession, and Length Limits and §57.992(b)(4)(H)(i)(I) of this title (relating to Bag, Possession, and Length Limits) shall cease effect upon the effective date of this section.

(b) Upon the effective date of this section, the daily bag limit for the take of king mackerel under the provisions of Division 2 of this chapter shall be 3.

(c) Upon the effective date of this section, the daily bag limit for the take of king mackerel under the provisions of Division 3 of this chapter shall be 3.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on December 4, 2017.

TRD-201704952

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: January 14, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775