Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves new saltwater fishing regulations

Texas anglers will have to let go of southern flounder under 15 inches come Sept. 1.

An increase in the minimum size limit from 14 to 15 inches for the species was among a few changes to saltwater fishing regulations the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved Thursday, according to a news release from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Other changes included clarifying language for commercial harvest reporting requirements and implementing a generic destruction of training courses required for a paddle craft, all-water guide license.

Anglers packed public scope meetings in December to question the need for further regulations on southern flounder, a species that has been steadily declining in population for decades along the Texas Coast.

The state has enhanced flounder regulations several times since the 1980s in efforts to protect and replenish spawning stock biomass in the founder fishery, though some anglers questioned the state’s data collection methods.

While the minimum size limit will increase, the commission decided to postpone a proposed change that would close all recreation and commercial flounder fishing from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 until 2021.

All regulation changes will go into effect Sept 1, including those for both saltwater and inland fisheries.

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