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Saltwater License Sound Off

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I'd have to say that I agree with most of what he's saying there. Let the Feds do their free registry thing for the next 4 years & see if it helps the management effort. If not, other alternatives may need to be explored.

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Here's the article, in case it doesn't stay available on the other site. smile.gif

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Why buy license when we can't keep fish?

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 02/16/07

 

BY JOHN GEISER

CORRESPONDENT

Some advocates of a saltwater fishing license are walking into some very sticky ground as management officials continue to tighten the regulatory noose on harvest.

 

Recreational fishermen are increasingly asking what they might expect to get for their money. Management officials can only point to the record: less of practically everything that swims inshore except ling, bergalls and conger eels. This is not a persuasive argument for a saltwater fishing license.

 

Organizations spend millions of dollars promoting dreams of an idyllic saltwater setting such as I enjoyed on Barnegat Bay with my great-grandfather catching weakfish in the 1930s. A uniformed agent boarding the boat checking for fishing licenses is not part of the dream. The American Sportfishing Association should spend anglers' money fighting a saltwater license, not supporting it. One of the wonderful things about saltwater fishing is the freedom to participate without buying a license.

Liberty - the stuff our forefathers fought for - is precious. No promises of launching ramps, research into the workings of the inner ear of the bergall, or an ocean pout in every pot are worth losing the freedom to fish without buying a license.

 

The pressure for a saltwater license is building all along the East Coast with Delaware, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts all considering it. The federal government is pushing the idea from several directions.

 

The sales campaign is all about squeezing more money out of anglers. The recreational fishing public buys a $22 highly migratory species permit, pays a 10 percent excise tax on all fishing tackle, pays a 7 percent sales tax on all bait, tackle, boats, marine equipment and supplies, buys permits to register their boats, licenses to operate their boats, and pays marine fuel taxes.

 

The big echo in the saltwater fishing license hall is "dedicated." The angler shrugs, and says, "I'm for a license as long as the money is dedicated for saltwater fishing."

 

What does dedicated mean? Is there a serious angler anywhere who truly believes that buying a license is going to put more fluke in the sea?

 

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is going to continue to strangle the winter flounder angler, restrict the fluke fisherman, cut the recreational weakfish harvest, choke the blackfish angler, throttle the porgy fisherman, and suppress the sea bass angler with or without a license.

 

Does anyone think the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the ASMFC and the National Marine Fisheries Service would change tactics because anglers bought a saltwater fishing license?

 

The "dedicated" money would create more offices with more administrators, more clerks, more law enforcement personnel, more census takers, more biologists and more laboratories. If these additions are necessary, then the general public should pay for them, if not through normal budgetary funding, then through a marine fish lottery. This is a public resource, not a recreational angling resource.

 

Some form of a lottery or innovative fishing tournament, tied to the striped bass fishery, for instance, would bring in millions of dollars while still preserving the right to fish in salt water without buying a license.

 

The supporters of the "dedicated" theory should remember that this is not an exclusive environment. No amount of license money will give anglers a greater share or more say over the marine resources than environmentalists and commercial fishermen.

 

This is not hunting or freshwater fishing where there are no commercial brant hunters, no one buys a license to kill and sell deer or harvests stocked trout for the supermarket.

 

Environmentalists who cry the loudest for preservation of the marine environment and everything in it should be the first to step up with some constructive proposals to end foreign destruction of marine resources, and forget about restricting and taxing U.S. anglers.

 

Commercial fishermen who are increasingly vocal in support of a saltwater license for anglers should think about a "product" license for themselves with the cost passed on to consumers.

 

After all, the commercial fisherman fishes for the general public. That is why he gets 60 percent of the fluke quota, and can keep 14-inch fluke.

 

A New Jersey blackfish potter buys a $100 state license, and can set out 500 pots, fish as long as he wants, and catch as many blackfish as he can. If an angler bought a $30 license, as proposed, he would still be limited to one blackfish per day from June 1 through Nov. 14.

 

The biggest hoax being generated about a saltwater fishing license is that the mandate in the Magnuson-Stevens Act is that the federal government will impose a license next year, if the states do not do it.

 

This is a fabrication, pure and simple. The bill provides for establishment of a national registry with no fee attached, though there is the possibility of a fee in 2011.

 

William Hogarth, head of NMFS, said the registry can be done through the regular NMFS budget process without cost to anglers.

 

Some recreational fishermen say a saltwater fishing license is inevitable; so anglers might as well give in now. We can imagine the fellows on Bunker Hill saying, "We might as well surrender now, the British regulars are going to beat us anyhow."

 

What the saltwater license drum beaters should do is refocus on the real problems in saltwater fishing with the resources and energy that they have, not worry about gouging anglers with another tax.

 

The ASA, for example, should forget its lofty rhetoric and help the East Coast saltwater fisherman survive. The organization did not testify on behalf of beleaguered winter flounder or blackfish anglers when their recreational opportunities were being stripped away. It did nothing to help fluke anglers, weakfish fishermen or sea bass fishermen.

 

Some of the same organizations that want to regulate and tax anglers stand idly by while foreign nations decimate the bluefin tuna stocks. They did nothing to help unorganized U.S. tuna anglers fight the destruction of a bluefin fishery that was once the mainstay of the charter boat industry in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

 

They did nothing to oppose the imposition of a highly migratory species permit of $22 a year for which recreational fishermen get absolutely nothing.

 

Recreational fishing opportunity is slipping away on all sides while the dreamers hold banquets, present awards to their followers, and variously fiddle while the East Coast saltwater recreational fishery burns. An interesting social fact regarding a saltwater fishing license is that it is frequently favored by elitists, people who have money and either seek personal advantage or a self-justified ideal.

 

Seldom has one of these people come forward to speak for the poor, the elderly or the disabled who benefit from a free fishery. They vigorously support regulations that deprive the handicapped and underprivileged of food and enjoyment, and do it in the name of conservation.

 

Their credo, apparently, is: Make them buy a license and let them eat tilapia.

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Why buy license when we can't keep fish?

Of course if you want to be assured that you're going to take home fish....go to the seafood section of your local supermarket smile.gif

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Like just about everything else this would cost money and won't do a bit of good. I, for one, am not putting my name on any kind of list and I'm not too into the idea of giving the government money to allow me to fish in the ocean. And when you think about paying to get onto the beach or for a Sandy Hook parking permit I like the idea even less.

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I have always been in favor of the idea if it would mean that there would be some sort of benefit in providing for the protection of threatened and endangered species and their habitat. The other aspect would be more effective enforcement of regulations. Watching someone thumb their nose at size and creel limits (that a majority of us respect) because they knew there was little danger of getting caught has happened way too many times in the past. Despite a "friendly" suggestion that they were violating the law (in case they were really unaware) and calls to various "enforcement" entities without a timely response (read no response) has proven to me the need for such measures.

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A large pot of money dedicated to defending the fishery we love is a nice thought. I always felt that supporting organizations like JCAA, RFA, IGFA,and NCMC was a lot like a voluntary license, and that's why I support all of them.

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The article is bogus, if you want, call me elitist and see how much I care.

 

Most of us spend hundreds of dollars a year on fishing, myself included. 20 dollars for a permit that gives you some political clout is a bargin. Look at the state of carefully managed freshwater fisheries and how many of them have improved, compared to the steady decline that I have witnessed in the past 20 years (Stripers excepted) to under regulated(don't even try to argue with this), poorly policed marine fisheries. Look at the sucess of Florida, they now have a statewide gillnet ban, does anyone know what that would do for our cod, haddock, and porgies (although a dragging or pot ban/reduction might be better for our region)? The wild west mentality of doing what you want when you just dosn't work out for anyone for very long, nor does the ingnorant, often used "theres plenty of fish out there". Alaska is one of the only places in the world (Maine lobsters too) where fisheries are doing ok in a marine environment. The reason is intense regulation of catches. You get a sustainable (based on a very conservative estimate) portion of the fish in the ocean, thats it. Then you have to stop fishing. Personally, I believe we could easily end up back in the late 80's again very fast. Or, by working to have unified voice in regulation, we could see the types of improvement that many freshwater fisheries have seen. The primary reason that marine fish have decreased is that regulators have been largely influanced by commerical fishermen, and given them whatever they want, which happened to be nearly all the groundfish in the ocean.

If we could have the kind of influance on marine regulators that we have now on freshwater regulators(who sell us those freshwater licenses), then, well,

things would be peachy

Tim

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This guy sounds like he hasnt done his homework . Call any freind you have in Fla. and ask them if fishing conditions got worse or better since they got a license. They will tell you its much better and more fish around. Why did that happen. Because florida took that money and closed the state to gillnets by buying out the permitees. I beleive they also bought out some other comercial permits. They started to build awsome fishing piers under every bridge that have lights, running water and cutting tables with daily trash pickup. They increased law enforcement numbers dramaticaly. Now some of you who dont want to be policed forget that those same officers are who police the commercials. Right now the chance of a commercial getting caught in Nj is slim. There are only 8 nj marine wardens for the whole state and delaware bay. They are suposed to police all the commercial fisheries state and federal and well over 1 million recs. If your fish are being poached how can you excpect 8 guys to stop it. If it meens getting checked a little more , remember the that commercials are going to be checked alot more. Finaly the guy doesnt even mention all the lawsuits by the antis. Most of the lawsuits they file are not based on science they are based on the lack of science. Basicaly what they say in court is that there is no evidence to suport the killing so it must be reduced. If that argument sounds familair it is becasue its word for word what the govenor said when he stopped the bear hunt this year.

We need more biologist doing studies to support that the killing we do is not damaging the species.

There is not a state fish and game in the US that wants taxpayers or enviromentsl group money. Its not that they dont need the money its the strings that will be atached to that money. If the Nj fish and wildlife starts being financed by the taxpayers then some of the taxpayers ( remember the antis are taxpayers) Will demand a position on the fish and hunting boards who make decisions. And they will get it because that is a legal argument that holds water. We In NJ should step up to the plate and be willing to pay for marine fisheries. We dont want outside groups gaining control or that $20 a year you dont want to pay now will look like a bargainn against what you are gonna end up with.

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This guy sounds like he hasnt done his homework . Call any freind you have in Fla. and ask them if fishing conditions got worse or better since they got a license. They will tell you its much better and more fish around.

 

 

I'm not disagreeing with you, but keep in mind that what happened in FL will not necessarily happen in NJ. Yes - in a perfect world every cent of the money collected goes toward improving fishing & the environment. And if that's the case, then I'm in 110%. In reality - well - let's just say "stuff happens" wink.gif . I would say that if you're going to go to bat for a license, make sure you know exactly how that money will be used or you may find yourself very disappointed.

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I just got home from Fl las tnight....I saw the peirs and all they built. would be nice to have that kinda stuff here.........I bought a 7 days license while I was there. caught fish every day.

 

its funny though i never bough ta fishing license in my life....now ive bought 2 in a couple weeks. 1 in NC the other in florida.

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I think most anglers support the idea of the Florida model. But since I fish in the Atlantic ocean which means NJ, NY, CT, RI and MA on a regular basis during the season, I'm wondering how much this is going to cost and just how much consistency there will be between state enforcement policies. The migrating fish do not recognize state and political boundaries. Neither do poachers. One of the reasons for Florida's success might have something to do with almost the entire state boundary being open ocean.

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NJ is too corrupt. Nothing will ever be done with the money they get from us.

This is not FL. No way. It will go to beach replenishment.

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