January 26, 2019
January 9th, 2019
January 9th, 2019
November 14th, 2018
By Carlos Anchondo, The Texas Tribune
November 14, 2018
With oyster populations in Texas at historic lows, The Nature Conservancy is launching two new reef restoration projects that look to appease commercial fishermen and environmentalists alike.
Using funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, the group plans to develop 110 acres of reef in Galveston Bay and Copano Bay, near Rockport. Half of each reef will be designated as a marine sanctuary where the molluscs — which have significant economic and environmental benefits — may grow. The other half will be open for commercial fishing.
Construction of the new reefs is expected to begin this winter, with harvestable portions ready as soon as 2021.
Laura Huffman, regional director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas, said these projects show a new approach to oyster reef restoration, with the compatibility of building harvestable reefs at the same time as growing a healthy habitat.
“Protecting the ecology of these reefs is essential for protecting oysters, both as a food source and for the economy of Texas,” Huffman said. “We have to pay attention to rebuilding habitat so that we’re giving back at the same time that we’re taking.”
After years of overharvesting and widespread coastal destruction during hurricanes Ike and Harvey, the number of Texas oysters has dwindled to a fraction of their former population. The Nature Conservancy estimates that as much as 50 percent of original reefs remain in the Gulf of Mexico. And in some parts of the coast, it estimates 80 percent of reefs have been destroyed.
The trend poses a big threat to the health and resiliency of the coast. Among other things, oysters can rapidly filter contaminants out of seawater.
Then there’s the economic benefit.
Oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico provide half of all oysters eaten in the United States each year – the bulk of which come from Texas and Louisiana, according to Huffman. She said the industry is valued at $43 million each year.
A recent Nature Conservancy report describes oysters as “the ecological building blocks for the Gulf Coast.”
The new reefs will give oysters a better chance at reaching adulthood, which takes about two years, said Lance Robinson, coastal fisheries deputy director at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Robinson is working with The Nature Conservancy on both of these projects. He said building reefs provides a continual source of juvenile oysters that will populate bay systems up and down the Texas coast.
Oysters, as natural filters, then improve water quality.
“An adult oyster filters up to 50 gallons of seawater per day,” Robinson said. “With these 110 acres of reef, oysters there could treat, by volume, as much water as 19 wastewater treatment plants in the City of Houston.”
Besides the oysters’ seafood value, Robinson said their stationary reefs serve as a natural barrier against hurricanes. They also are an all-service habitat for a variety of marine life. Oysters excrete something called psuedofeces, which shrimp and crabs eat as food. That carries up the food chain, as other species come in to feed.
The unique feature of these reef projects is that they are divided into sanctuary and areas for commercial harvest, Robinson said.
By building reefs, The Nature Conservancy is replicating the shell oyster larvae need to latch onto to become adult oysters. Developing oyster larvae float in the water until they find a resting place.
“We have been taking out shell for decades, with very minimal replacement,” Robinson said. “It’s hard to find shell now, so we’re mimicking Mother Nature with materials like limestone, concrete, and river rock that provide that hard substrate.”
These projects will complement recent legislative efforts to crack down on overharvesting.
Last session, state Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande Valley, passed House Bill 51, which, in addition to a buyback program, created a stronger penalty for fishermen harvesting undersized oysters and authorized a fee. Instead of a Class C misdemeanor, a Class B would be issued for multiple violations. It also makes each individual on a boat responsible for violating the law.
Robinson said the penalty acts as a deterrent, with fishermen at risk of losing their license up to 30 days. Harvesting undersized oysters became a major problem after flooding in 2015 and 2016, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017, led to widespread oyster mortality. As demand rose, the price per sack went up, and some fishermen ignored the three-inch size required to harvest an oyster.
Oyster regulations require that any oyster under three inches be returned to its reef, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.
Huffman, the Texas regional director of The Nature Conservancy, said her organization has deep experience with these types of construction projects, pointing to a previous reef restoration at Half Moon Reef in Matagorda Bay.
“We have seen a biodiversity boom, in a good way, in that area,” Huffman said. “Recreational fishermen are going back to Half Moon Reef. It shows that you can’t just harvest. You also have to replenish. That’s exactly what these oyster reefs are trying to demonstrate. You can do both of these things simultaneously.”
Disclosure: The Nature Conservancy and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
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“Reef restoration projects aim to bolster Texas’ record-low oyster population” was first published at by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
July 1st, 2018
By Capt. David C. Dillman
galvestonbaycharterfishing.com | 832-228-8012
Summer has finally arrived here along the Texas Upper Coast. This June, the Galveston/Houston area broke record or near record high temperatures on several days. But the trout fishing in June was really good. As the heat sets in the next two months, the trout action will only get hotter!
As the doldrums of summer set in, the water temperature rises in the bay. This rise will cause trout to seek the deep water structure Galveston Bay affords them. In July, the area known as the Exxon A-Lease should be loaded up with trout. The deep water structure of shell pads near these numerous gas wells will hold the fish to this area. Any given well in this location can be productive but some wells are better then others.
The shell pads located adjacent to the ship channel will see its share of trout too. Some of the oyster reefs are marked by PVC pipe. Some reefs must located using your depth sonar. Channel markers 50-62 are popular areas to fish in July.
In August, trout will begin their annual migration north. There will still be plenty of fish in the areas mentioned earlier. Some fish will move farther up the channel, staging on the reefs from markers 66-72 and around the tip of Atkinson Island. The wells located in the middle of Trinity Bay will also see an increase in the population of trout. These wells, just as the wells in the A-Lease, provide good structure for the fish. Trinity is a big open bay that can get rough, so plan fishing the open water there according to the wind speed and your boat’s capability.
Live natural baits work best in the heat of July/August. Live croaker and shrimp are the baits of choice this time of year. Croakers should be fished on the bottom, while shrimp can be used on the bottom or under a popping cork.
Eagle Point Fishing Camp in San Leon offers easy access to all of these areas and has a great supply of live bait during this time of year. They can be reached at 281-339-1131 for updates on conditions and bait. Enjoy the heat of the summer and its hot fishing! Remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated!!
July 1st, 2018
By Kelly Groce
On June 23, CCA Galveston put on their 3rd Annual Ladies Fishing Tournament. The captain’s meeting and weigh-in was held at the beautiful Pelican Rest Marina on Offatts Bayou in Galveston.
The wind was blowing about 20 mph for the tournament which made fishing tough, but all the ladies still had a great time and some managed to bring nice fish to the weigh-in. Besides the standard weigh-in categories such as Heaviest Trout and Redfish, there was Redfish With the Most Spots, Blackjack Trout (trout closest to 21”, but not over), and Heaviest Trash Fish.
The trophies were unique since they were supposed to be used for last year’s tournament which was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey. Each trophy had a “Harvey Make-Up 2018” tag on it. CCA Galveston also had some great raffle items including fishing rods from Waterloo, reels from Concept 13 and Shimano, Engel and Game Guard coolers, Foreverlast wading gear, and more.
This tournament is not only a fun time, it raises money for the Coastal Conservation Association Galveston Chapter to allow them to continue to conserve, promote and enhance the present and future availability of our coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public.
Next year, fishing starts as soon as the captain’s meeting ends, which many anglers are excited about! Thanks again to CCA Galveston President Dr. Ken Ellis, Treasurer Karen LaRue and all the nice folks who worked hard to put this tournament together. Can’t wait to participate next year!
May 2nd, 2018
Sea Star Base Galveston, in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, will offer Texas Boaters Education classes on Saturday, May 12, 8 am – 5pm, 7509 Broadway, 5 th floor, for ages 13 years and older. Must be registered to attend.
The Texas Boaters Education class is required by Texas education law for all those born after August 31, 1993, who wishes to operate personal watercraft, including sailing vessels, of more than 14 feet, and any motor vessel with more than 15 horsepower. Approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the course includes a final exam after which certifications are awarded to passing students. In partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the hands on class will focus on nautical terminology, safety equipment, rules of the road, legal and moral responsibilities and other important marine topics. Class instructor is Captain Margaret Candler, who is certified by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
The Texas Boaters Education class will cover nautical terminology, safety equipment, rules of the road, legal and moral responsibilities and more. In addition, students will board the 111 foot training vessel, BaySmart Express, where crew will combine traditional classroom instruction with modern technology and hands-on activities during a three hour cruise through Galveston Bay.
Students should dress comfortably and bring a sack lunch. A fun and unique on the water class, space is limited and registration is required. Participants will be eligible to receive their Texas Boaters Education certificate upon successfully completing the class.
Sea Star Base Galveston is a high adventure marine and maritime destination offering aquatic aducation programs that instill lifetime leadership, teamwork skills, and independence in body, mind and spirit.
Texas Boaters Education Class is $20 per person and students may register online at www.ssbgalveston.org. For information contact Captain Margaret Candler at (409) 572-2560 x 1006 or email@example.com.
November 6th, 2017
Sea Star Base Galveston recently hosted the 9th Biennial William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup Regional Regatta Trial, “Aggie Cup”, Saturday, September 23, on Offatt’s Bayou, 7409 Broadway.
The oldest continuing qualifier for the Koch Cup, the regatta is open to any Sea Scout Crew in a Southern Region Ship, and is one of four races held in Scouting’s Southern Region. Qualifiers from the regatta will compete in the William I Koch International Sea Scout Cup to be held at Sea Star Base Galveston in 2018. Regatta Director is Skipper Dan Wilson, Commodore of Sam Houston Are Council that includes Houston and the surrounding 16 counties.
Admission to the race was open to all Southern Region and is governed by the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing 2017 – 2020, Boy Scouts of America Guide to Safe Scouting, posted Aggie Cup sailing instructions and the Official Notice of Racing, the regatta is a Sea Scouts, BSA event. Sailors compete on FJ’s, or Flying Junior, which are popularly used to teach young sailors the skills of boat handling and racing.
At the conclusion of the races, following the protest and penalty review, winners were announced as follows:
Sea Star Base Galveston is a high-adventure aquatic destination offering marine and maritime education programs that foster teamwork, skills, lifetime leadership, and independence in body, mind, and spirit. The Base offers sailing and educational programs for youth, adults, and physically challenged individuals.
November 1st, 2017
CAPTAIN FIN Slasher El Bull 6.5 – The Slasher is a must have. This fin works best in 2+1 longboards providing smooth rail-to-rail surfing and tight turns. www.captainfin.com
TRUEAMES Greenough 4-A Volan – Chuck Ames and the crew at TrueAmes make some of the best fins in the world, by hand, in California. The 10” Greenough 4-A Volan is an all around great fin for any singlefin longboard. www.trueames.com
BIRDWELL BEACH BRITCHES 311 Medium Length Boardshorts – Handmade in the USA with a lifetime guarantee. These iconic boardshorts are made with SurfNyl fabric for strength, comfort, and durability. They also feature triple lace closure with nickel plated grommets and the signature Birdwell wax pocket. www.birdwell.com
BEECH BRAND Serape Beach Towel – Beech Brand towels were created and designed for surfers. These towels have a revolutionary antimicrobial technology to help prevent the growth on a wide array of odor and stain causing bacteria, fungi, mold, mildew, algae, and is environmentally friendly. www.beechbrand.com
BRIXTON Bells Straw Hat – This wide brimmed straw hat from Brixton is key for long beach days. This hat will provide full coverage protection for the face, neck and ears. It is also lightweight. www.swell.com
PICKLE WAX REMOVER – The Pickle Wax Remover® is a unique tool used to remove the surf wax from any surfboard. It is not only green in color it is “green” for the environment. The Pickle contains 100% recycled ingredients and does not contain or use any harsh chemicals. The Pickle is reusable and can clean board after board after board. www.picklewaxremover.com
SMITH OPTICS Lowdown ChromaPop – Smith Optics’ signature sunglasses with ChromaPop color enhancing technology make beach days easier on the eyes. These lenses are impact-resistant and offer 100% UV protection. www.smithoptics.com
AQUATECH AxisGO iPhone Water Housing – AxisGO™ is the ultimate Smartphone Imaging System. Designed to protect your iPhone from the harshest weather conditions, while offering the freedom to safely capture those special moments underwater. Capture beautiful images and stunning video with ease, then share instantly with full touchscreen sensitivity. www.aquatech.net
CANVAS SURFBOARDS Purchase Longboard – The Purchase is the perfect classic noserider. Its deep dish concave in the upper third portion of the board makes for long nose rides through critical sections. It does it all. www.canvassurfboards.com
August 10th, 2016
The Galveston Bay Foundation sent us this nice thank you collage for participating in the Ladies Casting for Conservation Fishing Tournament. Our team had a great time, got 1st place heaviest stringer, and overall $35,000 was raised to help our bay. We suggest any lady anglers out there sign up for this tournament next year, it was a blast!