Saltwater fishing licenses for MA - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 01-18-2004, 08:24 PM
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Saltwater fishing licenses for MA

While making my donation to stripers forever at the Marlboro show, I was told there are approx 7000 commercial licenses in MA with only a small fraction reporting the sale of more than 10 stripers, can't remember the exact number but it was something in the order of 1500.

Therefore one has to assume that the ability to compensate (i.e."buy out") MA commercial fishermen adequately for 1500 significant commercial licenses, and to pay for better programs to monitor, enforce, educate and research the welfare of our striped friends exists within the potential revenues from a saltwater license program.

In other words, if we all paid a little there might be enough to make stripers a gamefish. I guess we don't really have any clue because we don't have a license program so we don't really know how many people are fishing. We would have a much better idea if we did have such a program. Reading the mortality numbers for the state one would have to assume it's a gigantic number of people.

If the intent of making stripers a gamefish is to look after the welfare of the species, then the missing element is the management of the fishery across the full range of states that make up the stripers habitat. It ain't gonna do any good to have a gamefish in Massachusetts that is a food fish in other states across the region.

If you believe the mortality research they say that the MA sportsman is decimating the population at a much higher rate than commercial interests in the bay state.

This is probably going to go over like a lead balloon but based on what I can gather I would be in favor of a saltwater fishing license if it could be used for:

1) Establishment of more stringent tackle restrictions, like no umbrella rigs, circle hooks only for bait, single barbless only, etc.
2) Effective enforcement of above regulations
3) Accurate gathering of saltwater fishing metrics in the state
4) Development of an interstate management program

I am a believer that the gear you use determines the rate of mortality of the species, the state does not take enforcement seriously, we could use more data about what's really going on out there and the real key to the welfare of the species is to manage them by their boundaries, not ours (states).
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Old 01-18-2004, 09:48 PM
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How naive, do you really think you would ever see one penny from a new TAX ever go back to the sportsmen? Didn`t you learn anything when your illustrious Gov. pilfered your hunting and fishing funds. I`m not gonna start bashing so let`s leave it at I am vehemently pooosed to any saltwater license.
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:53 AM
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I appreciate your perspective. I included many "ifs" most important one being the conditions on how the funds would be spent.

But if your point is that that there's no way in hell these funds would be spent that way, well that's a good point indeed. It's a sad state of affairs when you can't trust your own local government.

Putting the small government is beautiful thing aside for a second, maybe the proper approach for this is to go federal. That way you have sovereignty over all states from Maine to the Carolinas and have a uniform system that is not tainted by provincial thinking.

But there is no "system" to license federally and a general tax is surely even more vaporous than local state fund management.

Organizations are important but not empowered to enforce or regulate. Of course we should support them whole-heartedly but as a means to move controlling powers, they are not themselves in control.

So Slinger, what do you suggest?

Do we have a problem that needs to be solved by making the striped bass a gamefish?

If so, how do we solve it?
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:10 AM
josko josko is offline
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I don't think commercials are a problem, as long as they are fishing to a fixed quota. It's be mighty nice to get away from the 2 28" fish limit, say to 1 @ 36" or a tag system for the recs, since it is they that have the greatest impact on the stock.
I'd support a saltwater licence as a means of controlling and hopefully reducing the number of recreationals in this fishery, as well as increasing funds for EPO's.

On the other hand, i don[t really see what the problem is. It's supposedly a 'fully recovered stock', there seems to be no shortage of fish, and I landed more 4+' fish last years than in any three years before.
On the other hand, fish like halibut and salters are all but gone from the area. Wouldn't it make more sense to focus on restoring thise?
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:41 AM
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I think going back to the 1-36" would boost stocks. I don't think the Stripers make up much of the true commercial fisherman's catch. I'm talking people who make their livelyhood from the sea, not the guy trying to supplement his income. I truely believe that the best thing we can do is teach better catch and release. Sure fish are released but even with crushed barbs I'd have to say I killed a few last year. The recreational mortality rate is a complete unknown.
All a saltwater license would do in this state is take more money out of our pockets. We don't have enough EPO's to even cover the canal during the peak Spring run nevermind the entire coast the rest of the year.

Top down never works very well. One thing we can all do is help our fellow fisherman, (that means the spin guys too) practice better catch and release.

There is of course the possibility that the fisheries folks don't want to protect the stripers because if they were given gamefish status and no forrage was protected they would desimate the herring, SQUID, and what's left of the pogies and lobster.

Protect the food supply more importantly the environment as a whole practice sensible catch-release-take and mother nature will take care of the rest.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 01-19-2004, 07:09 AM
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Enforcement, enforcement. That is the key to all of this and quite frankly it's not going to happen. I think that a saltwater license and the funds would it generate would go to waste. Look at what happen last year the Governor took the from the sportsman and then gave it back when told he would loose federal funds. We have been through this before. This is not an easy problem to solve. Just my .02
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Old 01-19-2004, 08:11 AM
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It seems any such money and our efforts would be better spent by breaching dams and cleaning up our rivers and estuary's. Most all of our big rivers north of the Hudson once supported spawning runs of stripers. While today we tend to think only of Chesapeake Bay and the Hudson as striper spawning grounds, historically they spawned all the way up into Atlantic Canada. How many stripers did these big rivers produce, how many can they produce in the future? There is a tremendous untapped resource in these rivers. It's happening on the Kennebec and soon on the Penobscot as well.

We also have way to many rivers and estuary's that are little more than nutrient soup, where eel grass can't grow and dissolved oxygen levels ain't cutting it.
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Old 01-19-2004, 09:59 AM
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First off let me say that I don`t have the solution to these problems,only some thoughts gained from a lifetime of listening to the same old same old.
#1 tackle restrictions-Why is it that the first reaction from the haves is to restrict the people who need it the most from a chance to participate? The man who works for $7.00 an hour has just as much right to fish as the man who flies off regularly to exotic locations, maybe more cause if he dosen`t catch fish his family may not eat. Are we more deserving because of our chosen means than a kid who tries to snag a herring with a treble because he saw a big fish under the bridge?
#2 Enforcement -It` a joke there are not enough EPO`s to do anything. And it`s rather selectivly meeted out. TRhere seems to be a differant set of rules depending on which language you speak.
#3 Accurate measurements- For years there have been orginizations gathering info on all differant aspects of fishing and related subjects and yet when examined they come to naught because they don`t support the gathering partys agenda, numbers and info are regularly slanted to support the goals of the surveyors or are just ignored.
#4 interstate management_ probably the best hope of success for a solution but the toughest to pull off. just by a quick count I come up with 11 states that would have to agree on a plan to do anything, you would have a better shot at winning the lottery. Even when the bass were in danger of extinction they couldn`t agree on anything and just argued about the best way to make the most before they were gone.
Like I say I don`t purport to have any answers, just lots of past failures.
I do know this, last year when RI proposed a saltwater license the uproar was the loudest ever heard it the stste house. Even I called my Reps and they assured me that because of public outcry that it was a dead issue.
Right now with our sport under assault from all sides we need to support the Freedom to Fish bills that are being submitted in many states and it Congress, RI allready passed ours, rather than giving away one of our fundamental RIGHTS to the bureaucrats.
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Old 01-19-2004, 12:55 PM
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I can't deny those problem descriptions but would rather hear solutions.

Except one, I disagree with the whole haves verses have-nots hoopla. It doesn't cost noticeably more to use a circle hook with bait, it doesn't cost anything at all to crimp a barb, or to replace a treble with a single on a popper.

Gear restrictions are so effective in other parts of the country and the world, and it has nothing to do with money. A coke can with a kite string is within the bounds of the regulation if the chunk of squid is on a circle hook. It doesn't imply anything about having money or not.

Will a striper take that chunk o' squid? They are a lot more fun on a fly to me, but whomever tries it better hold that coke can tight.
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Old 01-19-2004, 02:26 PM
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Just for the record-

That was a pringles can I was using. Everyone in the can crowd knows pringles cans are better than coke cans (at least until they get wet) sort of a low-cost large-arbor. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was using a Coke can.

I don't have a problem with making everyone pay for a license if some good whould come out of it but I just don't trust the state.

Good thread!
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Old 01-19-2004, 08:38 PM
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Thumbs down

If Massachusetts is anything like RI, don't go for a license. It is only an excuss to get somemore of your hard earned money. They only want to put it into a General Fund to be used where the State Officals want to use it, especially to line their pockets. Ask if they are going to use it for Wildlife enforcement, or to fixup fish ways, or anyother thing that is for the betterment of the enviorment. I think you will find that the state Legislators will not promise that, or if they do they will raid the license fund for anything they wish to do with it. Massachusetts has more crooks than RI as they have more politicians than RI.They don't pay big bucks on campaigns to get elected for nothing.
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Old 01-19-2004, 08:38 PM
Old Saltfly Old Saltfly is offline
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Smile We need a new group

We need to raise the minimum to 42 inches, make Cape Cod Canal - Catch and Release only. Form a new group Herring, Menhaden, and Mackeral Forever - there would be no problem with stripers.
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:28 AM
JimW JimW is offline
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So how many SW licenses does it take to to buy a 60" Plasma TV.....

If they've got the onions to raid the homeland security fund the fish fund doesn't stand a chance.
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Old 01-20-2004, 09:52 AM
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Just a couple of more observations. Raising the mnimum, I don`t see it working. How many times have you seen people taking undersize fish allready? this would just make more scofflaws out of people who are currently adhering to the minimum size limit.
Politicians have only one intrest. MONEY, money for reelection, money in thier pockets. When it becomes more profitable for them to vote for gamefish status than it is for them to vote for the commercial intrest it will become law overnight.They have no higher moral standard, no sympathy for the resource. They have only one driving compulsion, show me the money! We don`t need another group whining about the fishing or doing research, what we need is a group of lobbyist going to pols and sticking money in thier face and buying thier votes.
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Old 01-20-2004, 10:09 AM
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With all due respect, I do see raising the minimum working. It's wrong to make the assumption that this wouldn't work because of the bad element out there. For every angler out there who is always taking short fish anyway, there are plenty who due abide by the rules. With a current limit of 28", some anglers will occasionally keep some fish for the dinner table. But if it were raised to 36", I don't see a tidal wave of these ethical fisherman suddenly keeping illegal fish. In fact, there should be even more 28-35" fish released that would have been kept with the shorter length limit.

My concerns lie chiefly with those of others who have already stated that the monies generated by the license probably would be open to picking for other uses. I'm for it, but only if the money is clearly set for enforcement, habitat, etc.
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