Fishing charters may be forced to charge more with new GPS requirement

Could your next charter boat trip get more costly?

Fishermen say new government rules are forcing them to buy GPS systems for their boats, and it’s likely to put strain on their businesses.

The goal of the requirement is to keep an eye on the fish caught on charter boats.

”We have to go out further to get away from the red tide, which is more fuel,” said charter captain Lewis McDonald of MacAttack Charters on Fort Myers Beach.

Now, charter boat captains are forced to pay another cost to install GPS devices on their boats to track their fishing trips.

“They need to make a dollar too,” said John Anderson of Anderson’s Bait & Tackle. “If it is an additional expense, it may increase their rate.”

NOAA said the devices will keep a better eye on managing fish stock, something research Anderson said is important.

“It could be a good thing to see where fish are coming from, where new fish and old fish are going and coming,” Anderson said.

But charter captains like McDonald don’t want to give up their fishing to get into the wrong hands.

“We worked hard to get them,” McDonald said. “You’re now telling me that you’re going to track me on your system? You’re going to know where I fish.”

But the new rules won’t stop some people who enjoy charter boat trips like Aaron Dumant.

“Those guys have bills to pay,” visitor Aaron Dumant said. “So, if they have to charge more, charge more.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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