Posted by Kerry Grissett on February 27, 2005 at 01:43:17:
I am so very happy that the gill net problem in Alabama has the spotlight on it now. Unfortunately, the State of Alabama appears to be in the hip pocket of the "commercial" fishermen's lobby, whatever that is, especially in favor of the gill netters.
I can not think of anything else to explain why Alabama even allows gill nets, which kill EVERYTHING caught in them, to be a "legal" means of "fishing" in this State. The State of Alabama is once again illustrating their distain and indifference for our natural resources. I am ashamed, once again..., to call my self a life long Alabamian!
A local game warden even told me that he thought the gill netters were doing us game fishermen a service since "rough" fish can devastate a spawning area. I guess he didn't think that the wholesale slaughter of ANY large fish (bass, crappie, stripe, saltwater stripe...) for ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON was a good argument against gill nets. He went on to say that, paraphrasing, the gill nets only catch the larger fish, large bass, large crappie, etc. Saying this as if it were not a bad thing. Now this is a game warden I know and consider a friend. I didn't know what to say. I think this attitude comes from the top. The Head of the DCNR, Commissioner Barnett Lawless, er.. um... Lawley has displayed his indifference for the law in the Martens incident and I doubt that we will ever find a friend in him on any issue concerning saving our fisheries. Lip service at best. Indifference as the norm. You know what they say "rolls down hill"... right... this type of attitude comes from the top down.
Look at it this way, if all of the game fish caught and killed by the VERY FEW LEGAL GILL NETS (gill nets kill EVERYTHING they catch!!!!) were ACTUALLY RELEASED as REQUIRED BY LAW, you would see a LOT of very large bass, crappie and stripe floating down the river on a regular basis.
The FACT is that these gill nets DO catch and kill a LARGE number of big bass, crappie and stripe. Where are these fish going? To the poachers... the gill netters.
The state claims that ( http://www.outdooralabama.com/news/release.cfm?ID=255 ) gill nets have had no effect on the bass (crappie???) populations, but the logical and reasonable evidence is clear to those who have witnessed the carnage these nets ensue.
It is time for the state of Alabama to outlaw gill nets.
Having said all that, I will repeat what I have been saying for a LONG TIME. We simply don't have enough game wardens in the field to effectively to the job. Until their numbers is drastically increased, and attitudes about OUR fisheries are changed from the TOP to the bottom, I doubt any changes in any game and fish laws will make much of a difference. There is a very needed attitude change from the politicians and the public in general.
Good luck and we must work for continued good fishin' in the future!
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