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Report recommends recreational saltwater fishing license
By DAVID BENSON Staff Writer, 272-7206

Buried in the nearly 200 recommendations released Tuesday by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy is one that is

likely to rankle shore politicians and recreational fishermen nationwide: saltwater fishing licenses for all anglers in federal waters.

And while the idea of licensing offshore recreational fishing has been floated and sunk repeatedly over the years, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggested Tuesday that if states will not voluntarily pass a licensing fee, the federal government may.

This is a preliminary report and the recommendations are not final. There is a 30-day review period, and the commission is seeking input from state governors and the public. After May 21, a final report will be issued and delivered to Congress and President Bush.

The push for saltwater licenses isn't new. Former Presidents George Bush and Reagan both tried to introduce licenses during their terms in office. At those times, at least part of the money to be raised by the license was slated to close shortfalls in the U.S. Coast Guard budget.

As recently as January 2003, Gov. James E. McGreevey's administration considered a request by the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council to create a saltwater fishing license. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had threatened to bar New Jersey clams and oysters from being sold in other states because of a shortage of marine-enforcement officers.

The council saw a license as a way to double or triple its $3.5 million budget to enforce fishing regulations and conduct marine research.

Few disputed that the state's marine fisheries programs were underfunded, but public outrage kept the licenses at bay. Until now.

The commission's report on the state of the oceans is taken seriously by New Jersey officials. While some don't agree with all of the recommendations, they agree that the oceans have problems, and that each recommendation deserves serious consideration.

Bradley M. Campbell, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said the DEP has historically not supported saltwater fishing licenses. "But this is a commission that has looked at oceans thoroughly," he said Tuesday.

Campbell said the DEP didn't agree with all of the recommendations, but given the respectability of the commission, the entire 500-page report would need thoughtful consideration.

Jeff Sagnip, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton, R-3rd, said Tuesday that the congressman is hesitant to tax an enterprise if the money collected is not used to enhance that enterprise.

"A saltwater fishing license would be worth talking about, but only if the money collected was going back into the fisheries," Sagnip said.

Saxton introduced the bill to establish a Commission on Ocean Policy in May 2000. President Clinton signed the measure into law in August 2000.

"The state of the oceans is not good," Saxton said Tuesday in a news release referencing the report. "Overfishing and pollution have taken a heavy toll."

Echoing those words, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said Tuesday in a news release, "The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy report clearly documents that our oceans are in crisis and conveys an urgent need for action."

Joe Brenckle, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, said the congressman was looking specifically at the license recommendation, but since the report was just released, he needed time to gauge the effects on New Jersey.

Bill Hogarth, assistant administrator for NOAA fisheries, said Tuesday that if states decide not to implement a saltwater fishing license, the federal government may have to step in and create one.

Both Hogarth and the commission's report said licensing is necessary to build an accurate database of information concerning in-season fishing. According to the preliminary report, "the lack of in-season tracking of catches by recreational fishermen has led to the chronic overharvesting of summer flounder."

Hogarth said tracking fishermen and their catches through licenses allows for better catch data, which in turn would allow state fisheries to better manage coastal fishing.

Janet Tennyson, of the American Sportfishing Association, said the association does not seek saltwater licenses anywhere in the country, but some of its members see benefits from licensing.

"In general, it seems like a good idea," she said. "We've seen a correlation in states that have licenses with better fishery management plans."

The association is a trade group representing sport fishing and boating industries nationwide.

Tom Fote, of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, said: "I see both sides of the argument. But I see in other states, like Florida, that the licenses discriminate against nonresidents."

In Florida, residents pay about half what nonresidents pay for saltwater fishing licenses. Recreational fishing generates about $1.3 billion annually for the state, Fote said, adding that he wouldn't want to see a similar type of license in New Jersey.

"It would hurt the industry if people stop going fishing because of the license," he said.

Fote also voiced concerns similar to Saxton's about the use of money collected through a license.

He said his association could consider supporting a license "if they dedicated the funds to the fisheries and set up an advisory committee picked by our peers - not government appointees."

To make his point, Fote pointed to the $22 Atlantic HMS Angling Permit, which is required by the National Marine Fisheries Service to fish for marlin, sailfish, swordfish, tuna or shark. While part of the fee is used to cover the cost of the permit, the rest goes to the U.S. Treasury and none of the money is used to improve coastal fisheries.

The federal government already collects about $350 million annually from fishermen and water enthusiasts through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1952, better known as the Wallop-Breaux Trust Fund. Since its inception, the fund has generated more than $2 billion.

The fund is derived from fees, taxes, and duties imposed on recreational fishing equipment, non-commercial motorboat fuel, imported watercraft and fishing tackle. The funds are distributed to all 50 states and are dedicated to recreational boating and fishing programs and projects.
 

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NO SALTWARER LICENSE. NO WAY, NO HOW, NEVER! STATE OR FEDERAL NO DIFFERENCE. NO LICENSE. It's time to start writting letters again.
 

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It has always been a hot issue. Alot of good points and alot of bad ones. If one is forced down our throats the money better be dedicated to the fisheries and not the general fund. Without seeing all the facts and figures it is hard to see what would be best. A national license you could fish every state without mutiple licenses but some states might get the short end of the stick. Seems like it will be the old hot potato, subject.
 

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Better keep an eye on this one. Look at what the current administration is doing so as not to "raise" taxes. They are increaseing everything but taxes to present a certain image. They are raising registration fees. Recently, I saw that they raised the fine for driving without your registration in the car to $144 (consider this - beginning speeding ticket is $82). Police are balking in municipalities all over the state that they don't want to become tax collectors. They also are starting to enforce the riparian lease fees that have been on the books for years but never actually charged. There are many more. If McGreedy has his way, there will be a saltwater lic. and it will go into general fund. Believe it or not, he is positioning himself for another run.
 

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I dont see the big deal here, Theres been a freshwater license forever, why not have a S.W. license if it will only help increase marine law/baglimit enforcement and research? I would love to actually see wardens and Marine police actually enforcing the limits and such, they just simply dont have the dollars or manpower to do so.... if I gotta pay 20-25 bucks for a license to help them out, so be it. We all gotta do our part.
 

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Here we go again :rolleyes: :(
 

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I am not comfortable paying for a saltwater liscense.
The big problem I have is who pays?
Does my uncle who comes in for the weekend have buy one? He's there for one day possibly and if the weather goes south we dont fish that day and he's out the cash.
The only way I could possibly accept it would be if the license was for the boat. So anyone that fishes on my boat is covered. But when they talk about a freshwater license which is for each fisherman then its a pain.
As the captain of the boat its my responsiblity that everyone has a liscense. I have to make sure the boat and weather are save to fish. Then I have to have the gear and bait all ready for friends and family that may have never fished before. Now I have to make sure each one has a liscense? No way.
 

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A very hot topic! I have been in favor of a salt/tidal license for years because there is no dedicated funding for marine research. The biggest problem is "where do the funds go"? The revenues should go to a dedicated fund for the research of marine/andromadus species. I would have no problem shelling out $10-$20/ year for that..but not to the general fund. Just MHO.
 

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"Both Hogarth and the commission's report said licensing is necessary to build an accurate database of information concerning in-season fishing. According to the preliminary report, "the lack of in-season tracking of catches by recreational fishermen has led to the chronic overharvesting of summer flounder."

"Hogarth said tracking fishermen and their catches through licenses allows for better catch data, which in turn would allow state fisheries to better manage coastal fishing."




Hypocrisy at its worse. Blame the Rec's for everything.

If there is a Saltwater license I won't report not 1 catch of anything.

It's so simple who is causing the problem. 1 Commercial fisherman, can outcatch 1000 Rec's. By-catch, thats a whole other topic. It's obivous who is wasting the Oceans resources. :mad:

If you haven't joined the RFA, JCAA. Join now. This is BULL S_ _ _ !!! :mad:

[ 04-23-2004, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: johnny d ]
 

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I am in favor of a saltwater license, under the stipulation that all of the proceeds go to the preservation of the fisheries. We need some sort of extra revenues to protect our narural oceanic reources :( . But if the fund were to go to the general fund and end up helping some useless gov't program or welfare case no way :mad: .
 

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Im all for it if the money goes to the right place. This is gonna be a battle royal...LOL
 

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They can't manage the fish now. What makes you think more money will do it. The goverment gets enough of sportsman money. Vote Mc Greedy OUT.
 

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Looks like attitudes are changing.Alot of fisherman would be ok with it if they knew it went into a dedicated fund to improve fishing.
 

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If money goes to recreational fishing only, and representatives of the recreational fisherman get to say where the money goes AND have equal votes (or higher level) with commmercial fisherman, then I could OK a fishing license.

Another way might be a charge in boat registration, 1 ft-16 feet $10, 17-20 $12, 20 - 35 $15 > 35 ft $100.
:D Of course my boat is 16 feet.
 

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Originally posted by saxitilis:
They can't manage the fish now. What makes you think more money will do it. The goverment gets enough of sportsman money. Vote Mc Greedy OUT.
Federal...not state
 

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"IF" the money went to the right places and not into a general fund, then I would support it. I doubt politicians in Delaware or New Jersey are going to do the right things with the money and until proven otherwise, I say NO WAY. They get enough of our sportsman's dollars.
 

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:mad: :mad: NO NO NO NO NO
THE MONEY WILL NOT BE USED FOR YOU.
UNLESS YOU ARE GETTING A JOB FROM A RELITIVE THAT IS A POLITION.
AND AS FAR AS RESARCH IT WILL BE USED TO ONLY BACK THE TREE HUGGING LIBERAL DEMACRATS :mad: :mad:

GO AHEAD VOTE FOR IT IT WILL ONLY BE A BUCK OR TWO TO START WITCH WILL NOT EVEN COVER THE ADMINASTRATION EMPLOYEES THEN IT WILL KEEP GOING UP AND UP AND UP AND UP.
SO GO SAY ITS OK.
SAY YOUR IN FAVOR OF IT.
JUST BE CARFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR BECAUSE YOU JUST MITE GET (IT) :eek: :eek:
 

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I'm all for it, under the right circumstances.
The freshwater license money must be put to good use, I've noticed a lot of upgrades over the last few years. Trout stocking is about as good as it gets and I've noticed a lot of the WMA's are looking better each year.
If the money went to fishery studies, hiring of more conservation officers, fishermen friendly boat ramps, and fishing piers we could all make out on the deal.
I believe I read that federal money is thrown in to states with a saltwater license as well.
Twenty dollars a year for residents and a little more for out of staters.
 

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We the Salt Water fishermen and women are missing out on million,s of dollars available to N.J.
In order to qualify for these funds ,we need to know the number of salt water fishermen.The only way to get an account is with a license
This money I understand would go to a dedicated fund.
Could be used for many things that would benefit.we saltwater fishermen,Like new boat ramps etc.
I am for it
 
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