Who would have thought that limiting the number of big catfish that can be kept by anglers would be more controversial than opening a bear hunting season?
State fishery officials got grilled by lawmakers Tuesday (pardon the pun) on the state Willdife Department’s new regulation which limits catfish anglers to keeping one blue catfish 30 inches or longer per day.
Anglers can still keep 15 per day total, but only one can be 30 inches or longer. What’s wrong with that?
How many big cats does one guy need per day? Keep raping the resource and you won’t have any big fish someday.
Rep. Ben Sherrer, D-Pryor Creek, wants to repeal the rule, which would go into effect Jan. 1. Apparently, there is an influential catfisherman in his district.
More than 800 anglers in eastern Oklahoma signed a petition against the new rule, but state wildlife officials believe the petition misled some people into believing the new regulation meant they could keep only one catfish per day period.
Barry Bolton, fisheries chief for the state Wildlife Department, said big blue cats are currently being taken at a rate 16 times higher than their numbers in the lakes.
Sherrer’s resolution to repeal the new catfish regulation goes to the full house after winning passage Tuesday by the House Administrative Rules and Agency Oversight Committee.
Meanwhile, the bear hunting bills have sailed through the House and Senate. Stay tuned.