March 20, 2014
It’s obvious to Chris Blankenship, Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division, that recreational fishing surveys conducted by the federal government are unable to provide accurate data on the red snapper catch off Alabama.
That is why Blankenship has asked the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board to approve a regulation that would establish a system for anglers who catch red snapper off Alabama to report their catches to Marine Resources.
“The reporting of red snapper regulation would require people to report how many red snapper they kept after each trip during snapper season,” Blankenship said. “We want to make it as easy on the fishermen as possible to report their catches. We will have a Smartphone app similar to Game Check that will require a little less information and easier-to-input information. If you don’t have a Smartphone where you can use your app, you can use your touch-tone phone. You’ll need your boat registration number, how many people you had onboard and how many red snapper you caught and kept.”
Because of Alabama’s limited shoreline, Marine Resources will be able to use boat ramps as intercept sites for the survey as well.
“In the event somebody doesn’t have a phone to use or the battery goes dead or whatever, we’ll have drop-boxes at Boggy Point, Cotton Bayou, Fort Morgan and Billy Goat Hole on Dauphin Island,” Blankenship said. “We’ll have paper forms with a carbon copy for people to fill out their information and put it in the drop-boxes. They’ll tear off the carbon and keep it.”
Blankenship said Marine Resources is testing the system right now to make sure the bugs are worked out if the Conservation Advisory Board approves the request.