AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved changes to regulations regarding harmful or potentially harmful fish, shellfish and aquatic plants along with associated fee rules on Tuesday November 10. The changes not only impact permit holders, but there are several key changes relevant to the general public. These new regulations go into effect January 11, 2021.

One of the regulations approved by the commission directly affects anglers who may catch exotic fishes such as tilapia and grass carp. Under this new regulatory exception, anglers will no longer be required to behead or gut the fish upon possession as the only allowable kill methods. The fish must still be killed upon possession, but gill-cutting, placing the fish on ice, or killing them by any other means will also now be allowed.

The commission approved another significant regulatory exception for landowners. Landowners who wish to remove small quantities of prohibited exotic aquatic plants from along lake or riverfront shorelines, docks, or private ponds for the purposes of disposal will no longer be required to obtain an exotic species permit. The plants must be fully dried or placed in black garbage bags prior to disposal. However, any person removing prohibited exotic aquatic plants for hire will still require an exotic species permit. Anyone wishing to remove these plants must still submit a nuisance aquatic vegetation treatment proposal to the department for approval even though a permit is no longer required for private landowners. This is necessary in order to ensure aquatic vegetation is managed in a way that protects aquatic habitats. Visit the TPWD website for more information on treatment proposals and nuisance aquatic vegetation.

The regulation change also applies to landowners who need to remove small quantities of prohibited zebra mussels or applesnails from their shorelines or associated infrastructure such

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