RE:Saltwater fishing license - your opinions
Ron and Juro,
I agree that the only way that I would personally support it is if all the money was kept by the Mass Division of Marine Resources, perhaps some could also be given to the MassWildlife. If the money were siphoned off to the state coffers it would be a waste and a tax on the recreational fisherman. Remember the state was supposed to take down the tolls on the Mass Pike when it was paid off - Hah!!!! The details would of course have to be worked out, but it does seem like it could be worked out - if someone tried to divert the money flow I'm sure someone would sue the state.
Anyway, I also agree there should be more support for enforcement of the regulations and stricter penalties when caught. There really is a lot of coastline to cover, as well as inland resources for the EPO's that are already out there doing their job. Perhaps a few more officers could be hired to reduce the territory each covers and allow them to cover a smaller area better. Securing access is another big point that Ron brought up. I agree, it doesn't matter much to fishermen if the ocean is teaming with fish if you can't launch your boat, or fish from shore. In years past, I have felt like a criminal walking down to some beach accesses, and when you get to the fact that many areas have no parking, or you risk a ticket for being there. That is definitely a need we have in the Bay State anyway, as our population grows and open land shrinks. Plus once people shell out the bucks for the waterfront diggs the last thing they want is some fishermen spoiling their view (Caution - sweeping generalization).
I really don't see too much of a downside to a saltwater license, provided it was set up correctly. The MA DMF would receive needed funds for research and managment activities, enforcement would increase, and access may increase or at least not be lost. From my standpoint though, the biggest improvement would be to gain solid info on our harvest rates of popular gamefish, and to gain a better idea of the pressure that the resource receives. That way proactive managment decisions can be made to maintain acceptable levels of fish. Having more complete information lessens the uncertainty in setting regulations and that will benefit everyone in the long run.
As a side benefit, the recreational anglers can then go into meetings saying "you better consider us in your decision making process, as we contribute $$$$ to the region and provide $$$ to the running of your agency." In other words, we are a force to be rekoned with and we should at least be given the same status as other groups. You may even find that the recreational side brings considerably more economic impact to a greater amount of people than other competing interests.....
Interested to hear more....