Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
RE: Comments on the Proposed Commercial Nongame Regulations
Dear Ms. Rathburn:
I support the ban on commercial collection of turtles in Texas as proposed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the April 20, 2007 issue of the Texas Register as part of the amendments to regulations governing “Commercial Nongame Permits.” I urge the adoption of the proposed regulations without changes or exceptions, including any exemptions from the ban for specific classifications of turtles such as the red-eared slider.
The increasing pressure on native Texas turtle species, in part as a result of the commercial collection of turtles for the Asian food market, put our state’s turtles at risk. As noted in the preamble for the proposed regulations, a variety of factors – including delayed sexual maturity, long lifespans, and low reproductive and survival rates – place turtle species in a very precarious situation when there is heavy commercial collection of turtles. Turtle species may be devastated before it is clear what is happening.
Therefore, the State of Texas needs to act quickly and decisively to avoid irreversible declines in our turtle populations.
I appreciate Texas Parks and Wildlife Department taking the significant step of proposing the ban on commercial collection of Texas turtles. I urge the Parks and Wildlife Commission to take the next step and approve the ban, as proposed, at its meeting on May 24.