Posted by TroyJ on March 07, 2005 at 21:56:23:
In Reply to: Hollow victory... Re: Boycott. posted by Kerry Grissett on March 07, 2005 at 01:23:38:
I agree, laws are meaningless if there is no enforcement.
We not only need more enforcement, but we need enforcement with the right attitude. I understand the complications cited by the state in getting more enforcement personnel. It's obviously easier said than done.
It's not like our game fish rank high on the list. That's a shame since recreational fishing is proving to bring in a lot of money to this state.
Allowing commercial licenses for only in state, resident family commercial fishermen would be a big step. No out of state or corporate licenses, period. That would include making sure the "helpers" prove at least 1 year Alabama residency. Some out of staters are apparently getting fish on a helpers license. Some helpers can rent a trailer, claim residency and get a commercial license. That needs to end.
I believe some of the poaching (if not most) is done by licensed out of state netters. No license, no reason to have a net in Alabama. Fewer nets would be easier to enforce.
Legislation requiring clear and visible marking, and registration for each net would be a big step. Right now it's nearly impossible to determine what is and what is not a legal net, since there are no regs requiring the net to be marked in any real sense of the term. Marked nets would be a lot easier for enforcement to keep track of. Consistent marking would also mean the public would be able to determine what is and what is not legal, so they would know what should be turned in when found. Right now, nobody knows.
The goal should be to get rid of all the nets, if not immediatly then over a time span. There has to be a way to help commercial fishermen come up with a more selective and practical way to get commercial fish without wasting game fish. If we can't figure that out, then we are simply just pretending to be 50 years ahead of where we really are.
There is apparently enough money in poached fish to make it worth the risk. We really need big teeth in the law. Other states have major penalties for poaching, improper netting, etc.. Maybe that's why folks come here to do it.
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