5 Things Your Fishing License Does While You Catch Fish

By Debbie Hanson

Aug 03, 2017

Get examples of conservation projects that receive funding through fishing license purchases. Your license is working to help protect, preserve our fisheries

We get it. When you buy or renew your fishing license, you're so excited. You can't wait to get out on the water, find the best spots, and then make fantastic #FirstCatch memories with your family. However, are you aware of just how hard your fishing license is working on your behalf while you catch fish? OK, you might be scratching your head right about now because you're trying to figure out what we mean, so we'll give you a few examples. 

Check out these five situations that illustrate just how much work fishing license, boat registrations, fishing gear and boat fuel funds do behind the scenes:

1. Fishing and Boating access projects

Funds from license sales go toward fishing and boating access projects. One example is the Ramps & Pier Program in Mississippi, which schedules the construction of 4 to 6 new ramps each year while also repairing existing ramps. The state of Oregon also has an excellent model of involving state and federal agencies in adding and upgrading new boating facilities.

2. Help implement clean water projects 

Boat registration funds help implement clear water projects such as those initiated by the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) program in the state of Hawaii. These conservation projects include construction a new sewage pump-out station at the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor and the construction of three new floating restrooms -- all in an effort to protect the sparkling turquoise waters of Hawaii for future generations. 

3. Fisheries maintenance projects 

Fishing gear funds go toward fisheries maintenance projects that help manage our state sport fisheries. For example, in New York State, biologists actively study fish populations and fish habitat in order to make sound decisions regarding Sport Fishery Management. In addition, Massachusetts has a Fisheries Habitat Program in place that helps to protect and restore our marine eco-systems. 

4. Education and recruitment Programs

Fishing license funds work to educate and recruit anglers. As more anglers get involved with the sport, there is a greater need for education on topics like species identification, conservation, regulations, and proper catch and release. The state of Texas offers free workshops for anglers so that they can continue learning about fishing and ethical angling practices. Massachusetts also has saltwater angler education programs that the Division of Marine Fisheries hopes to extend to all coastal areas of the state.

5. Conservation Projects

Fishing license funds suport long-term conservation plans for our rivers and streams. Our river and stream fish habitats require assessment to assure quantity and quality of water to maintain the natural balance of these aquatic ecosystems. Texas is an example of one state that has a River Studies Program in place to address water development, water planning, and water quality issues.

Whether state agencies are studying rainbow trout populations or repairing boat ramps, your license fees are hard at work -- and the only thing you have to do is buy or renew your license

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.