New Alligator Gar Laws Passed - 2CoolFishing
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:02 PM   #1
cwb012
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New Alligator Gar Laws Passed

The Commission also granted authority for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Executive Director to impose temporary prohibition of alligator gar fishing in specified areas to provide additional protection during spawning activity. Closures would be invoked in a selected area, limited to no more than 30 days, and occur only in areas having an active moderate flood event with water temperatures within an optimum range for alligator gar spawning.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:06 AM   #2
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We all knew it was going to happen. Once TPWD got it in their head that this was a good idea, there was not stopping it.

Ohh well.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:41 AM   #3
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My question is..how are they going to inform everyone when areas are closed. I don't have a problem with protecting the gar. But if I spend gas to pull my boat hr away just to find out it's closed--not gonna b happy
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:04 AM   #4
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I completely agree.
Anything to protect the species is a good thing, but the science behind the reasoning just wasnt there.
A knee jerk reaction to an unknown situation.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:17 PM   #5
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Stay tuned, the TBA is asking these questions and we will let you know as soon as we find out.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:51 PM   #6
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Answers from an Inland Fisheries Dept. Head.

1. How will the public know of a closure? Will there be a website we can check?

If the emergency closure is invoked in a specific area, our agency would use every means at its disposal to notify the public, including but not necessarily limited to posting the notification on the TPWD website, Facebook, Twitter, posts on fishing internet forums, news releases through the media network, and signs at public access sites within the affected areas. If anyone is familiar with the emergency fishing closures triggered during severe (3 days of air temps below freezing) freezes along the coast, the notification process would be similar.

2. Most rules go into effect Sept. 1st., will this one not be in effect until next spring or is it immediate?

The way I understand it, the alligator gar emergency rule making proposal would go into effect Sept 1, along with the other proposals. However the conditions under which it could be invoked cannot occur until Spring 2015 at the earliest, and will be dependent on specific environmental triggers, such as river flow and water temperatures. As stated before, just because the executive director has the authority doesn’t mean it will be invoked. For example, on the Trinity River, we would have to see a “moderate” flood event as defined by USGS gauges during the spring spawning temperature range for the emergency closure to be invoked. During normal or low-flow years, I would not expect to see a closure invoked at all.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:58 PM   #7
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Since the Trinity River is probably the center of the alligator gar universe, it may require protection and transplanting some of those fish to other states to regenerate their wiped-out populations.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:50 PM   #8
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Here is the law as they proposed it,
Quote:
Proposed new §57.977, concerning Spawning Event Closure, would establish a processes to allow the department to temporarily prohibit the take of alligator gar in places where they are spawning or are about to spawn. Alligator gar populations are believed to be declining throughout much of their historical range in North America, which includes the Mississippi River system as well as the coastal rivers of the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to northern Mexico. Although the specific severity of these declines is unknown, habitat alteration and over-exploitation are thought to be partially responsible. Alligator gar have been extirpated in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio and designated as a "Species of Concern" in Oklahoma and Kentucky. In addition, the Endangered Fishes Committee of the American Fisheries Society has listed the alligator gar as "Vulnerable." Observed declines in other states, vulnerability to overfishing, and increased interest in the harvest of trophy gar indicate that a conservative management approach is warranted until populations and potential threats can be fully assessed. On that basis, the Commission in 2009 adopted a daily bag limit of one alligator gar per person, which was intended to protect adult fish while allowing limited harvest, thus ensuring population stability. Since 2009, the department has conducted (and is continuing to conduct) research to determine the estimated harvest of alligator gar, quantify reproduction, understand habitat usage, and determine geographic differences in populations. Initial analysis of the research data indicate that alligator gar in Texas have the greatest chance of spawning success if the creation of preferred spawning habitat (the seasonal inundation of low-lying areas of vegetation) occurs in late spring through early summer. Since each year does not necessarily bring seasonal inundation at the optimum time, spawning success varies greatly. For example, department data for the middle Trinity River indicate that between 1980 and 2010, strong reproductive success occurred in only five years (1980, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 2007). Furthermore, in 21 of the years between 1980 and 2010, reproductive success was nonexistent or weak, and in many of these years, rainfall was low or drought conditions occurred. Because the conditions for spawning do not exist on a regular or cyclical basis, and because spawning occurs in shallow waters where numerous gar can be concentrated in one area, alligator gar are extremely vulnerable to harvest during spawning. To protect alligator gar from excessive harvest during spawning, the proposed new rule would allow the executive director of the department to prohibit the take of alligator in an affected area, which would be defined as "an area of fresh water containing environmental conditions conducive for alligator gar spawning" or "an area of fresh water where alligator gar are in the process of spawning activity." The proposed new rule would define "environmental conditions conducive for alligator gar spawning" as "the components of a hydrological state (including but not limited to water temperatures, duration and timing of flooding events, river discharge rates, and any other factors that are known to be conducive to gar reproduction) that are predictors of the likelihood of spawning activity of alligator gar." The proposed new rule would require the executive director to provide appropriate public notice when an affected area is declared and when lawful fishing for alligator may resume, and would limit the duration of a prohibition to no more than 30 days. The department believes it is important to provide the angling public with a specific maximum timespan for the effectiveness of an action under the proposed new section. The proposed new rule is necessary to manage alligator gar populations and ensure their ability to perpetuate themselves successfully.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:32 PM   #9
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Does this really just punch anybody in the gut though? I see the point made by cwb012 as valid, that would **** me off too if it boils down to a sign at local ramps is deemed sufficient, so showing up somewhere is the way you find out it's closed, but I guess also I just really don't shoot the Gators that much. When I do, after tangling with one decent sized fish I've had about enough of that nonsense for one outing. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? I tend to find more of the spotted variety and the other aquatic arrow targets more often in better numbers.
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Old 03-29-2014, 03:38 PM   #10
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This whole thing boils down to either do what TP&W did, or do nothing and let the feds declare the alligator gar an endangered species. Would anyone prefer that?
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