TWRC amends a pair of fishing proclamations during march meeting

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission held its March meeting on Wednesday, the first with Ed Carter presiding as Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The meeting was conducted in a special one-day session at TWRA's Region II Ray Bell Office Building.

The former Chief of TWRA's Boating Division, Carter assumed his new role on March 1 after being named to the position in February. He replaces Gary Myers who retired after 31 years in the position.   Among the items on this month's meeting agenda, the TWRC passed a proclamation that opened privately owned farm ponds to commercial snapping turtle harvest. Commercial fishermen will be required to obtain written permission from the pond owner as well as a Tennessee Commercial Fishing License and Commercial Turtle Permit before they can harvest turtles from private ponds.   The commercial fishermen will only be allowed to harvest common snapping turtles. Turtle traps will be the only legal gear type for commercial fishermen on a private pond. All other statewide regulations and reporting requirements will apply for turtle harvest from private ponds.   The commission also passed an amendment to the sport fishing proclamation that changed the smallmouth bass regulations on Boone and Watauga reservoirs. Currently, the minimum size limit for smallmouth bass from these reservoirs is 18 inches in length. This amendment reduced the smallmouth bass size limit to 15 inches on Boone and Watauga reservoirs only.    Both of these regulations will become effective 30 days after filing with the Tennessee Secretary of State office.   Don King, TWRA Chief of the Information and Education Division, presented information regarding a proposed weekly television show partnership between the TWRA, the Renaissance Center in Dickson and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. The program, tentatively titled Wild Side Weekly, will air four times a week on Nashville News Channel 5+.   The format of the show will allow current information about hunting and fishing to be shared with its viewing audience. The TWRA, through its various divisions will provide guests and expertise for the program.   In addition, the possibility of providing Web streaming for the TWRC monthly meetings was discussed. The cost of the project and its parameters were also discussed.   Carter presented an overview of the first draft of the Wildlife Management Institute's review of the agency. The report is approaching a final version and the agency will be provided an opportunity to comment on the report.   The next meeting of the TWRC will be April 22-23. Following the April meeting, future meetings are scheduled for May 20-21 and June 17-18. All three of the meetings will be at the Ray Bell Office Building. The public is invited to attend.