New law goes into effect to protect East Texas waters

Dean Perkins fishes at least four to five times a week on Lake Sam Rayburn. Perkins will be one of many affected by a new law set in place by Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens Tuesday. Boater and fisherman will now be required to drain their boats, kayaks, or other receptacles that might retain water before leaving or approaching the Texas water ways.

Game Warden Mike Ferguson said the regulation is to help combat the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels.

" Zebra mussels are causing a lot of different issues," Ferguson said. "They are clogging the water pipes, they are causing fishing aspects to decrease, if they wash up on the beaches they are really sharp and you could end up cutting your foot."

He added zebra mussels are now populating and more prevalent in North Central Texas. Perkins said he's not worried about the new regulation.

"You leave water in there, and it gets pretty funky in there after a while," Perkins said.

However, he is concerned about how this will affect the transfer of his fish.

"I was asking the game warden a lot of people transfer of fish in the live well from the boat ramp to the house, and he said it would be up to them," Perkins said.

"As far as catching bait fish and fish on Texas water ,you have to keep in mind to drain your livewells before you can transfer them,"  Ferguson said.

Perkins now plans to transport his fish in a cooler instead of his live well, which is another way to stay in compliance with the law, and protect the East Texas waters.

There is an exception for governmental activities and emergencies. Those violating the law could receive a Class C misdemeanor and a fine up to $500.

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