Gator Trapper Funding Sought
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) agreed today to try to find funding to help the state's nuisance alligator trappers stay in business.
During the first day of the FWC's three-day meeting at Ft. Myers, Commissioners considered a report from Division of Law Enforcement director Julie Jones. She said the state's 38 nuisance alligator trappers sometimes can't make a living performing their services for the state and need a subsidy to stay in business.
Currently, nuisance alligator trappers get no pay for removing alligators that get into conflicts with the human population, although trappers are allowed to sell the meat, hides and other marketable parts from nuisance gators.
FWC law enforcement Inspector Kyle Hill recently met with trappers and offered Commissioners two alternatives to relieve the financial difficulties of trappers who are unable to sell gator products at a price that covers all their costs and living expenses.
The first alternative was to pay nuisance alligator trappers an annual stipend of $6,000. The second alternative was to pay trappers a $25-per-alligator removal fee for a maximum of 157 gators, plus a maximum fuel allowance of $2,500 - not to total more than $6,425 grand total per trapper. Total cost of the proposal would be roughly $245,000 per year.
The Commission voted to pursue legislative authorization to fund the either of the alternatives with permit fees from proposed recreational alligator hunts.
Nuisance trappers remove 7,000 nuisance gators in a typical year in the interest of human safety.