March 26, 2007
Discussion Topic: Should Noodling Be Legal?
By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love
Handfishing for catfish is legal in some states and a misdemeanor in others. And may soon become the latter in Missouri, where the practice has been allowed on an experimental basis for the last couple years.
Here’s the latest from an Associated Press story in The Joplin Globe:
Citing renewed threats to breeding-age fish, state conservation officials are no longer issuing permits to fish for catfish by hand, a practice known as noodling. The suspension could be made permanent as soon as next month.
“They’re catching too many, so we can’t catch any,” said Howard Ramsey, of Paris, Mo., president of Noodlers Anonymous, in a reference to Missourians who prefer to keep their hands outside the water when fishing . . . .
State law allows those who fish using lines, jugs or rods and reels to catch and keep up to 20 catfish daily. Noodlers are asking the state to allow hand-fishers to keep only five fish each season — compared with the experimental limit of five each day.
What do you think? Should the state grant the noodlers’ request? Do you think noodling in general should be legal or illegal?