Maybe I can find a photo to go with this diatribe I am about to pour forth here, because it is a fact that you like to read books with pictures more than without!
SB 744 bill just passed the Senate floor last week and is on its way to the House committee any time for the final vote to make it become law. That law mandates that every charter sport fishing captain report every fishing trip, every fish caught, every person who fished on the boat, how many hours fished, and every location fished. This law authorizes the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to decide how that information will be recorded and how it will be reported/collected, under the penalty of a Class 2 Violation.
After expressing my deep opposition to this bill to my senator, who backed it (yes, MY senator), he asked if I and some of the other captains would travel to the Capitol and speak our concerns to the House Committee. And then he suggested I call the Lt. Colonel of the LDWF. So I did, right after I printed the bill and studied it.
The Lt. Colonel was busy and handed me off to an immediate underling, who called me back yesterday . . .
When Mr. P. called, I asked him how the LDWF intended to implement this if it became law. He didn’t know. I asked him what a Class 2 Violation was, and he didn’t know. 30 hours later, he still hasn’t told me.
If our objection to keeping these records seems to you like we are just a bunch of whiners, then consider this:
You are a welder with your own welding shop. A law is passed that says every self-employed welder must report every welding project, every customer, how long each project took, where it was delivered, and how many welding rods were used. Do you think that would fly with the self-employed welders you know?
No, no way. If you take this law and apply it to jobs that people do on a self-employment basis every day, then it does seem a wee bit intrusive, doesn’t it?
Ladies and gents, I see this law as an invasion of my privacy as a charter captain. The LDWF already has the authority to sit at the landing and ask to see anyone’s catch, and to board any boat they desire and see the catch, check for life jackets, fire extinguishers, etc. They already do random polls of ten percent of charter fishermen about all this information and extrapolate their data from there.
Yes, getting exact numbers from each charter captain would be more accurate than extrapolations, but aren’t we then doing their jobs for them? And without any compensation?
And I’m not sure that the LDWF thought this through–paperwork and water and fish slime just don’t go together very well!
As some of us see it, this law is set forth under the guise of “efforts data” that helps the LDWF better manage the fisheries, and then extends the authority to impinge on our freedoms little by little. And next thing you know, we’re like the bullfrog sittingin the pot while the fire is slowly turned up a little at a time. When the frog realizes he needs to jump, it’s too late.
I’m jumping out of the pot NOW!