Public Input Sought on $3 Saltwater Fishing Surcharge
AUSTIN, Texas â€” Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has set a series of three public meetings in August on the Texas coast to get input on a proposal to continue charging saltwater anglers $3 for a saltwater stamp surcharge. The department started charging the surcharge several years ago with the support of angler and conservation groups in order to raise money to purchase commercial fishing licenses for shrimp, crab, and finfish. Buyback program goals are to reduce commercial fishing pressure and bycatch of nontarget species, provide commercial fisherman with a financially viable exit strategy for those who wish to get out of the business, and provide sustainable and profitable fisheries for commercial fisherman who elect to remain in business. Extending the surcharge would allow the department to maintain and accelerate commercial fishing license buyback programs, which have been successful in protecting the shrimp, crab, and finfish fisheries. The $3 fee is currently set to expire on Sept. 1, 2005. The proposal to extend it will be presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Aug. 26 in Austin for adoption, but TPWD wants to get public comments first. The dates and locations for public meetings are shown below. All meetings start at 7 p.m. * Monday, Aug. 2 â€” Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Galveston County, 5115 Hwy 3, Dickinson * Tuesday, Aug. 3 â€” Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Natural Resources Center, Room 1003, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi * Wednesday, Aug. 4 â€” Victoria Electric Cooperative, 102 South Ben Jordan, Victoria People can also comment on the proposal in writing to Jerry Cooke, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. For more information, contact Bobby Miller with TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division in Dickinson at (281) 534-0110 or firstname.lastname@example.org or to Art Morris with Coastal Fisheries in Corpus Christi at (361) 825-3356 or email@example.com.