Texas is in a bit of a catch-22 on how to regulate seafood sales.
As the state’s biggest fish seller, Texas Fish and Wildlife has the biggest fish market in the nation, but it can’t regulate fish sales or even regulate seafood exports.
Under the current bill, if the fish are not caught in Texas, it’s up to the buyer to take the fish home.
The bill has some Republican support, but some lawmakers are skeptical.
Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Tex.), who has been working to pass a bill that would allow the sale and consumption of fish in Texas for at least the next decade, said he’s worried about the effect on the state economy.
“If you put a price tag on it, it doesn’t sound like a fair price to me,” he said.
“I’m hoping that the [state] legislature and the governor will come up with a compromise that will keep Texas consumers from going out and buying a lot of fish and not be worried about it.”
Schwertnner, who is also chairman of the House committee on agriculture, said the bill is a good start, but he worries about the potential impact on Texas businesses that sell seafood, especially in the Big 12 state.
“I don’t think it will be a big change for us,” Schwertners said.
“It’s really a case of not having a good relationship with the state.
We have a bad relationship with them, and we have a big problem with the fish.”
Schwertner said that while the state has the right to regulate the sale, the fish should be subject to a price on the fish.
“We have a number of different levels of regulation, and they all are very, very different,” he explained.
“Some of those are very low-cost, some are very high-cost.
And they’re not going to have a price of the fish, they’re going to just say, ‘Well, we’re going down this route.'”
Texas currently has no price for seafood, but Schwerters said that he’s hoping to see a bill approved by the state legislature.
“Hopefully we can get it passed before we go to the next legislative session, and then we can have a lot more clarity and transparency on what’s going to happen,” he added.
“But right now, the Fish and Game commission is a non-starter.”
The bill has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee, which has not yet voted on the legislation.