Charter boats have been a part of our landscape on the coast for many years. Before Hurricane Katrina struck you could go to almost any harbor on the coast and see numerous boats. Skippers of these boats promised a great day at sea and almost always a nice catch of fish. Since Katrina our charter boat industry is in disarray.
Many of the harbors where the boats were docked were destroyed and there are fewer tourists post Katrina. Now one local skipper says federal regulations are making it even harder to survive. Tom Becker, a charter boat captain for the past 24 years, says the two red snapper limit is "hurting us bad." In the past it has been a four fish limit. Becker says better research needs to be done to see if there really is a shortage of Red Snapper in the Gulf. He believes otherwise.
We agree with Becker, before we put the local charter boat captains out of business let's make sure the research is correct. This issue not only affects charter boats but it also involves any recreational fishing in the Gulf.
If there are any hearings this year concerning Red Snapper limits or any other fishing in the sound or Gulf you need to attend these meetings and speak your piece. No doubt we need to make sure we don't deplete any fish species, but we also don't want to put an important local industry out of business.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments below.
WLOX-TV General Manager