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A Salt Water Fishing License
A Different Opinion

by Rocco DeTeso

ne of the most intelligent persons I have ever met was a fellow who agreed with most all of my opinions on everything. The most ignorant, uninformed lout I have ever met was an unwashed Neanderthal type.

This guy didn't see one thing my way. In fact he told me that he was perfectly capable of forming his own opinions especially about issues he had first hand knowledge about. I know, however, his opinions lack validity, because my first hand knowledge is based on carefully manipulated, although suspect, scientific research. So I want you all to know this other guy is a real jerk and a trouble maker, don't listen to a thing he has to say. For if you do, the rest of us will know you are also an unwashed brute possessing a low IQ just like him. If you have attended any meetings on the Massachusetts Recreational Salt Water fishing license this may have familiar ring to it, read on.

To me it is amusing to observe the maneuverings of people with a vested interest in promoting a specific agenda. Especially people in "the public service" sector. It seems that if you disagree or are critical of the path they wish to lead you and your money down, you are given a specific, if not unflattering, label. Once labeled, no one is to take your opinions seriously, least of all other "public servants" or God forbid, the public. This tactic seems to be one of the favorites of the many used by "public servants" to deflect criticism, especially well deserved criticism. Criticism which will certainly cause them embarrassment or subject the activities of these "public servants" to public scrutiny.

To disagree with someone else's ideas just to be disagreeable is one thing, to disagree in order to promote or protect one's own self interest is another. To disagree with an idea by showing a person the folly in their idea or to take someone else's idea and build upon it demonstrates something completely different. For you see, the wisest person I ever met was a person who could disagree with someone else ideas but understand the essence of the idea. Then take that essence and formulate a different approach ultimately achieving results that all could live and agree with. To me, people who possess this ability demonstrate more than a degree of wisdom.

Take the case for a recreational salt water fishing license in Massachusetts. I personally do not agree that one is wanted or needed by recreational salt water anglers at all. However I do agree that the Sportfishing Program within the Massachusetts Division of Marine fisheries deserves the support of resident saltwater anglers. The reason or essence of why a license issue was raised by the DMF was to provide money and obtain reasonable recreational fishing statistics. These funds and statistics are necessary to support the Sportfisheries Program and give a credible voice to all Massachusetts recreational saltwater anglers. However a license and it's purported "benefits" hold no real incentives for recreational saltwater anglers. It may actually cause significant harm to the marine sportfishing community. Especially if Massachusetts adopts a recreational salt water sportfishing license then so will Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. This will cause a complete fiasco, since these coastlines are in such close proximity to each other.

I feel that both funding and statistics can be provided to the Sportfisheries Program by methods other that a saltwater license and all it negative ramifications. One idea deserving consideration (because I thought of it) could be something like a voluntary tag system for all or certain select species of fish, but especially striped bass. It could work something like this. At bait and tackle shops anglers may purchase a certain number of tags, their name and address is recorded and they pay a reasonable fee for an appropriate number of tags. Tags could be used in one or more ways, say for taking a specific sized fish, a slot limit fish, or an undersized fish that is foul or gut hooked. Perhaps even that second keeper bass on a particularly lucky day. The angler must record on the tag specific information, date, time and place caught, the species and size of fish. The tag is then attached to the fish and the fish can be legally brought home for the barbecue grill. Used tags are turned in, voided and put into a state wide raffle. Along with the tags comes a survey or fishing log; number of days fished, species caught, where caught, kept or released or any other data desired by the DMF. Once your survey is turned in, the DMF will send you a small gift and enter you into the end of season raffle for a rod and reel, a free fishing trip or some other appropriate prize. Tags systems can be tailored for tourists or tailored for use over the entire season for resident anglers. If you do not wish to purchase and use tags then all the regular fishing regulations and limits will still apply, and you will NOT need a license to fish. If fish stocks warrant you may purchase additional tags if you desire.

There are as many other good ideas out there as there are good saltwater anglers, something like the one above in your opinion may or may not be one of them. However, I believe, if a better system or one of similar intent, as the one above, was implemented in Massachusetts, then the DMF will have what it wants (funding and statistics), the saltwater angler will have what he or she wants, (a chance at some fish and a voice in the DMF decision making process.) A WIN, WIN situation! Not a phony license scam full of empty promises and a forever empty ocean.End

Copyright 2005 - 2008 Rocco DeTeso, All Rights Reserved
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