Zapata holds meeting to discuss declining bass population

By: Daniela Fierro Email
By: Daniela Fierro Email

LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) -- Today the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism meet in Zapata to discuss issues related to the declining bass population in Falcon Lake.

Falcon Lake has been recognized nationally as a prime fishing location but since 2009, the number of bass has decreased and with no fish, Zapata's economy is taking a hit.

The lake, known for it's bass fishing, has seen a decline in the population in recent years.

The issue was first brought to light by local fisherman who blame the overpopulation of alligator gar. Randel Meyers works with Texas Parks and Wildlife and says the shortage of bass is due to three factors.

The purpose of the hearing was to provide a forum for experts and the public to examine what the state can do to help replenish the bass population.

In 2009, Texas parks and Wildlife changed the law to allow fishermen to catch one garfish per day and that fisherman, James Bendele, says is when things changed.

Falcon's lake is Zapata's break an butter when it comes to bring money into the community.

Chairmen of the House Committee, Ryan Guillen, says by hosting hearings like this, they hope to get back to the 2009-2010 levels.

For now, the state is doing what they can but for fishermen like Floyd Johnson, he hopes a solution will happen sooner than later.

Right now, Texas Parks and Wildlife is conducting a survey that asks fishermen about garfish and whether or not they think they're a problem.

Along with the survey, they're also doing a study on garfish and plan to have both of them complete later this year.

The alligator gar is one of the largest freshwater fish found in North America.

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