The Texas Shrimp License Management Program provided authority to establish a voluntary license buyback program to remove commercial bay and bait licenses from the shrimp fishery without creating excessive social and economic disruptions within coastal communities. The voluntary buyback program is conducted through a reverse bid process. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department calculates an estimated value of any bay and bait license based on specific criteria, such as how long the license has been in the fishery and the length of the vessel. The shrimper evaluates the value of his license and submits a sale offer (bid) to the department. Each offer is then compared with the calculated value for that particular license. The shrimper's bid is accepted if it is less than the calculated value. Bids with the greatest monetary differential from the calculated value are selected to be purchased first. Funding for the buyback program was originally established through a portion of license fees, which accrue annually based on the number of shrimp handling and harvesting licenses sold. Additional funding of $1.4 million was acquired in 1997 as a 3-year federal grant to the department. Private donations of $132,000 also have been used in the buyback program. In May 2000, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted a proposal to increase the fees associated with the Saltwater Fishing Stamp by $3 per stamp, which increased the Saltwater Stamp from $7 to $10. Approximately $1.3 million are raised each year to support the buyback, based on the fee increase. The fee increase expired in August 2005. Twelve rounds of license buybacks have occurred since the implementation of the buyback program in 1996. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has purchased 1,005 bay and bait commercial shrimp licenses at a cost of approximately $5.8 million. Â© 2007 Blackwell Publishing.