From Kentucky DNR on 9-13-2017
To Trophy Catfish Anglers,
KDFWR understands your frustration concerning commercial harvest of trophy catfish, and the fact that you are witnessing illegal harvest is even more disconcerting. In order to address these violations, the Department is adjusting our Conservations Officers’ assignments to increase our presence on the Ohio River.
In order to plan officers’ work strategies and schedules to target the violations, we need information from you to maximize our effectiveness in addressing this problem. Please contact the officer (listed below) located closest to the area of the Ohio River where you are witnessing commercial fishing violations to report the location of violations and to report any information you have on who is committing these violations. Any information you can provide will enhance our officers’ ability to provide surveillance and catch offenders breaking the law. Poaching is a very serious offense, and KDFWR is committed to enforcing our laws and citing offenders.
In addition to the steps above, in about a week, KDFWR will provide a research update on our Trophy catfish web page that will cover the history of this issue in terms of research, public meetings, and compromises made for regulations that were structured to reduce harvest pressure on trophy catfish in the Ohio River. When the regulations were passed and became effective in October 2014, we recognized that it would take time to assess their effect because of the time it takes for catfish to grow to trophy sizes. Enforcement issues aside, additional time is needed to properly assess if the regulatory strategies have increased the relative number of trophy catfish in the Ohio River. However, our intensified catfish research initiative is providing solid data on Ohio River catfish, and the fishes’ populations are generally in very good health.
Pay lake issues and practices are also being examined by KDFWR. I want to make it understood that the trophy catfish in pictures posted by pay lake operators/owners to entice people to fish their ponds do not all come from the Ohio River. The pay lakes receive or harvest fish from many sources outside of Kentucky. However, we recognize that the prices that pay lakes offer has increased the commercial effort and harvest of trophy catfish. Therefore, KDFWR is in the process of reviewing pay lake regulations, statutes, and fish holding processes.
Lastly, KDFWR has received a request from a catfish angler to present Ohio River catfish and fishing information to the November, KDFWR Fisheries Committee. The Committee meeting is open to the public for those who wish to attend, and any attendee may provide comments on an agenda item. Meeting agendas are posted on the KDFWR website at least one week prior to each, quarterly meeting.
Fisheries Division Director
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
#1 Sportsman's Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601
KDFWR Law Enforcement officers’ direct lines:
Paducah - Chad Parker - 270-627-2170 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Henderson - James Nason - 270-350-2650 - email@example.com
Louisville -Rick Mehlbauer - 270-617-1212- firstname.lastname@example.org
Cincinnati - Charlie Philips - 859-797-1771 - email@example.com
Ashland - Buddy Grayson - 606-356-1804 - firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also add our wildlife violation report line 1-800-25ALERT. Every call that goes through this hotline is recorded; as is the officers’ responses.
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