In a long-awaited decision, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved regulations yesterday banning shrimping from Dec. 1 to July 15 in areas off the state’s southern coast, with the aim of restoring beleaguered shrimp populations and the likely side effect of helping endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. The rules will also restrict offshore fishing and require fishers to use devices that reduce bycatch. But enviros criticized the commission and Texas Gov. George W. Bush for weakening a proposed plan that would have closed some shrimping grounds year-round. According to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, public comment had been running 10 to 1 in favor of the year-round closure.

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