The order reads, “Fishing from shore, whether from ship channel, jetties, or beach is prohibited.”
Port Aransas’ order states it is not conflicting with the governor’s executive order — which specifically uses fishing as an example of an “essential service” — since public fishing is not a “service.”
“Fishing is not a service. It is an activity,” the order reads. The city calls the provision within the governor’s order a “self-limiting provision.”
The order does not prohibit fishing from boats in the water, just from the shore. It is intended to prevent tourist-driven foot traffic, mainly for activities such as beach-going and fishing.
“The Mayoral Order prohibiting fishing from certain locations open to the general public was and is an attempt to reduce fishing activity by eliminating it from public venues, the ship channel, jetties and beaches because it attracts tourists, exacerbating the danger and proliferation of the COVID-19 virus. It is an attempt to protect the citizens of our City and other innocent victims endangered by the spread of this frightening, life-threatening pandemic,” the order reads.
Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan said the city gets between two and five million visitors a year for tourist-related activities.
The city also prohibits an influx of any “recreational vehicles” not already within the city, camping on the beach, short term (less than 30 days) residencies, beach occupancy with the exception of “movement exercise” (“walking, running, biking, yoga, water sports, or other similar activity”), and closes vehicular access points at beaches, boat ramps, etc.
Violations of these provisions are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and 180 days in jail.
As of Thursday, April 16, Port Aransas says it has six confirmed cases of coronavirus with one recovery and no deaths.
Statutorily, the measure will last for seven days but can be renewed as long as a disaster declaration is in effect.
Many Texas localities have taken it upon themselves to strictly prohibit certain actions of its citizens during the developing pandemic.
Earlier this month, the City of Cleburne prohibited more than one member of a household to engage in “essential activities” at one time. Port Isabel required facemasks in public and prohibited more than two individuals in a vehicle at once.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.