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.