The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved an amendment to the commercial fishing proclamation among business at its March meeting held Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building.
TWRA Assistant Fisheries Division Chief Frank Fiss presented Proclamation 13-02. The amendment added black carp to the list of commercial fish species, modified commercial fishing hours on embayments of Kentucky Lake, and changed gillnet mesh size regulations.
On the Mississippi River, legal mesh size will be three inches or larger. On other commercially open waters, legal mesh size will be three to 4.5, and six inches and larger. The changes will be effective 30 days after filed in the secretary of state’s office.
He also reported on a recently-held Asian carp Tournament in Kentucky on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. More than 83,000 pounds of fish were removed in the two day tournament.
Chuck Yoest, TWRA Wild Hog coordinator, provided a summary of the 2012 landowner exemption program. The exemption program exists to enable property owners to control wild hogs. There were 1,114 exemptions issued in 2012 to landowners across the state.
TWRA estimates that approximately 3,800 wild hogs were taken by exemption holders in 2012. Of the wild hogs taken, 38 percent were taken through trapping, 38 percent by shooting, 18 percent by other means, and 6 percent by unknown means. TWRA has received overwhelming positive feedback regarding the exemption program, Mr. Yoest said.
TWRA Sate Ornithologist Scott Somershoe gave a report about TWRA’s participation in a multi-state project to track the movements of golden eagles. The report indicated that winter golden eagle population is higher than it was originally thought to be in the state.
The March meeting was the first under the direction of the new TFWC officers that were at the February meeting. Dr. Jeff McMillin, the new TFWC chairman, announced the eight committee assignments for the commission for the coming year. One of the committees is new which will be known as the biodiversity/multiple use committee. Commissioners Julie Schuster will serve as the chairperson while Clayton Stout will serve as the vice chairperson.
Bill Reeves, TWRA chief of Biodiversity, reported on the TWRA receiving the Teaming with Wildlife Partnership Award for its efforts with hellbenders. The award was presented earlier this month by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C. at the Rayburn House Office Building.
Joey Woodard, executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, spoke to the commission about the upcoming 2013 Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt to be held April 5-6. The format for the event has changed this year as the hunt will now be held on two days. The Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin is the new hub for the event. The Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt benefits the Foundation and various TWRA outreach programs.
The TWFC will return to its regular two-day format at its next meeting in April. The meeting will be held at the Paris Convention Center in Henry County on April 25-26.