Less Fed Equals More Fun

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“How much pain have cost us, the evils which have never happened!”

This lesson from life was penned by Thomas Jefferson for his granddaughter, Cornelia Jefferson Randolph. This is one axiom we would do well to commit to memory and then attach to all thoughts concerning government and its regulation.

That brings me straight to today’s highlighted story. Snapper Check Totals Show Fear Unfounded is the title and it starts like this:

Preliminary numbers from the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System, aka Snapper Check, indicate the fear that Alabama anglers would exceed the 2017 quota were unfounded.

Here’s the backstory, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has wanted to change the way in which fishing seasons are managed in order to allow for more recreational opportunities while reducing problems associated with the current standard. They created the Alabama Snapper Check program in order to monitor the harvest of red snapper and gather data regarding their desired changes.

The federal harvest numbers used for setting season dates and catch limits have been grossly overestimated in years past and that only acts to support the State’s case. Excerpt:

Since the inception of the Alabama Snapper Check program, the federally produced MRIP numbers for red snapper caught by private recreational anglers have consistently overestimated the snapper harvest, according to MRD officials. The federal survey overestimated harvest numbers by 81 percent in 2014, 68 percent in 2015 and 79 percent in 2016 compared to Snapper Check numbers.

In response, ADCNR requested a season extension this year and – lo and behold – the numbers have proven exactly what was expected by the Department. The evil never happened! Excerpt:

Although the 2017 federal season was over three times longer than the 2016 federal season (11 days), the number of fishing trips with red snapper did not increase at the same amount.

In fact, Alabama still came in under their harvest quota. Additionally, there was a huge payoff that was received by simply relaxing the season dates. Excerpt:

“We just wanted to show when you extend the season, it allows for greater access, and it reduces fishing pressure. The charter fishermen said they also noticed a reduction in the private boats out fishing.”

Bannon said the reduced fishing effort contributed to less chaos in the artificial reef areas and helped with the boat-ramp traffic jams, especially at Dauphin Island’s Billy Goat Hole.

The concept that government clings to is that the public must be tightly controlled because we cannot make good decisions on our own. Hunting and fishing regulations have, over the years, become more and more restrictive which has, as a consequence, sucked the fun out of our recreational pursuits.

This problem is exacerbated as the control centers get farther from the constituency; which is precisely why things like federal control of fish and game management needs to be eliminated.

The benefits go far beyond harvest numbers. Excerpt:

People want the season to be spread out over a longer period of time to give them some options,” he said. “During those short seasons, tensions get high. At our public access boat ramps, parking is very limited. People get frustrated with that. When you only have a couple of days to fish, you can’t even find a place to park.

“The extended season helps people make better decisions, especially based on the weather. And I think it also shows that if we get to a state management plan through Congress or the Gulf Council, we have the ability to monitor what our catch rates are throughout the season. Every week we were looking at Snapper Check numbers, and we felt the whole time we were fine; we were not going over the allocation if we use Snapper Check data.”

Once again, the public has proven that the Great Human Experiment that is America can work.

It is truly time to tell the Feds to get out of our way – we’ve got this!

That’s the view from here…

Author: Daniel D. Lamoreux

As an outdoor writer and freelance photographer, Dan's publishing credits include articles and/or photographs in more than 40 state, regional and national publications and he has authored three books. His expertise on the subject matter has been developed from over 40 years experience pursuing the outdoor sports.

3 Comments

  1. Makes a person hopeful. Getting the bureaucrats (Fed, State, County) to hear what is said is the key. They always “listen”, they seldom “hear”. Maybe we need to talk louder….obviously the State did in this case! Good for them!! Good info Dan’l.

  2. Thanks, Pard! Every now and again somebody gets it right… and I love when that happens!!

  3. Good info. Keeps getting worse along with horrible increases in permit fees. Larry

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