Texas Parks and Wildlife closes some fishing areas due to cold weather

By Advocate Staff Report
Feb. 2, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2011 at 8:02 p.m.

As the cold weather swoops into the area, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is stepping in to take care of the fish.

The state agency announced a temporary closure of certain salt water fishing areas from noon Wednesday until noon Saturday.

"We do this to protect the fish. In cold weather some species of fish have a falling off and are very susceptible to being caught. We set up some reserves for these fish and when the conditions are right we close these areas to protect them," Texas Parks and Wildlife San Antonio Bay Ecosystem Leader Norman Boyd said.

The state agency closed salt water fishing areas along parts of the Texas coast. Fishing areas in Aransas and Calhoun counties have been closed.

With the major Arctic mass bearing down on Texas, a coastal freeze event can have a huge impact on game fish populations, according to a news release issued by TPWD on Wednesday.

In addition to killing game fish in shallow waters, a hard freeze can also cause surviving fish to congregate in a few deeper areas where they become sluggish and prone to capture. Those are the areas the department may temporarily close.

"The high mortality that a freeze can cause may deplete fish stock for years," Robin Riechers, director of TPWD's Coastal Fisheries Division said in the release. "Protection of the surviving fish during the few days when they are especially vulnerable to capture would likely shorten the time period for overall recovery of coastal species, especially spotted sea trout."

Texas has about 2 million acres of bays and estuaries susceptible to freezes.

There were three major freezes during the 1980s, including one in 1989 when the temperature at Brownsville dropped to 16 degrees and an estimated 11 million fish died.



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