MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) - With frustration reaching a boiling point, some local anglers and charter boat captains are calling for Alabama and Florida to go non-compliant with the federal government's fishing regulations.
"We have nothing left to lose," Pensacola-based charter boat Capt. Matt McLeod told Local 15, "Let's bring down this whole house of cards, destroy the system, and the government's Red Snapper management plan."
McLeod said he and other fishermen have been trying to work with the federal government for the past ten years, but have nothing to show for it. Fishing seasons keep getting cut shorter and shorter, and anglers are allowed to catch fewer and fewer fish.
The catalyst for the uproar has been a projected 27-day Red Snapper season, down from 180 days just a few years ago.
"27 days is just ridiculous," McLeod said, "For ten years we've been here playing this game. Let's quit playing it."
At a meeting held by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in Orange Beach on Wednesday, McLeod's proposal received a round of applause.
"I can understand their frustration and I think [non-compliance is] a real possibility," Dr. Bob Shipp, marine scientist and council member said, "I think a lot of them have reached the point they think that's the only way to go."
Dr. Shipp has been a strong proponent of extending the Red Snapper season. There's wide agreement that the Red Snapper population is booming in local waters, to the point other fish populations are dwindling because Red Snapper are eating them at an increasing rate.
Anglers have complained the federal government is using limited data and measurements that do not reflect the large local Red Snapper population.