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Discussion Starter #1
There are some behind the scenes discussions concerning the license fees, structures and license rules for all of the commercial and recreational fisheries in Virginia. These discussions are occurring at very high levels. One of the topics that have come up is the concept of recreational crab licenses. The two that come to mind is a fee for those that make use of the two pots for any individual rule and the second is the concept of a recreational crabbing license for those that dip or chicken neck for crabs.

From what I can tell the goal is to generate additional income to be applied to the management of the resources, enforcement and, to a lesser extent, habitat improvement. If it were to pass, I would expect that the recreational increases would pass through the recreational fishing advisory board, which, in my opinion, has a pretty good record of making good use of the money that they have gotten in the past. That being said there is always the potential that the state will mandate that a certain percentage of the overall license fees go to funding positions and programs within VMRC.

Crab license fees are just part of the deal. You also have fishing license fee increases on the recreational side. None of the recreational fishing license increases that have been discussed have been more than the $12.50 individual or $50.00 boat license that was on the table last winter. There have been discussions concerning other fees for the “commercial” side of recreational fishing such as fishing piers, charter boats, etc. Additionally, several options concerning commercial fee increases comparable in total dollars to the recreational increases are being discussed.

Other background. Although I do not have a number for the number of estimated trips/individual or individuals using the two-pot exemption, a recent study, funded by the commercial license fund, determined that the recreational harvest is something less that 5% of the total harvest of crabs in Virginia.

Currently there are the following recreational licenses:

For a recreational gill net up to 300 feet . . . . . . . . . . $7.50

For a recreational fish cast net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $8.00

For a recreational fish dip net. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6.00

For up to 2 recreational eel pots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10.00

For up to 5 recreational crab pots . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .$29.00

For a recreational crab pound or trap . . . . . . . . . . . .$5.00

For an ordinary crab trot line up to 300 feet . . . . . . . . $8.00

For saltwater recreational fishing license . . . . . . . . . . $7.50

For saltwater recreational boat license .. . . . . . . . . . . $30.00

*Crab pounds are used for harvesting peeler crabs. It is much like a miniature pound net about 20 to 50 feet long.

So what do YOU think? Should there be additional fees or licenses imposed on the recreational crabbers and fishermen in Virginia. How much should the fees be? Should one or both crabbing licenses that I mentioned be included as part of a recreational fishing license?

I will give my opinions in a follow up post.

Tom
 

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This may cause some to become a little upset, but no, I do not think fees should be increased further on us "rec" folks.

Recreational hunters/fishermen have carried the burden of wildlife conservation for decades all across this nation. We pay all sorts of "fees", aka, taxes, in order to participate in our chosen sport. We can't turn around without bumping into some "fee" or related tax to both participate in the activity and in purchasing the equipment and some "Barney" itching to do enforcement.

I just purchased my very first saltwater fishing license yesterday. Yes, $7.50 more because (if Isabel permits) I will be down in Va.Bch. next week and may what to "wet a line". Why? Because the license I purchased last Jan. to fish in this state ain't good enough when the water turns salty.

All if the different rules/fees/licenses are only a scam by state government and perpertrated on us to milk every last $ they can. How about this...buy a license for lakes, another for rivers/streams, and yet another for the bay, and (certainly) still another for ocean. Maybe a permit for each rod/reel combination you own/use. Its gotten to the point that you need a Phillidelphia lawyer to interpet fish and game rules! Case in point: A friend recently purchased one of those molded polyethelene fishing crafts (Crawdad style). He attached a trolling motor and went to the James to catch a few smallmouth. He had only just entered the river when Super Warden motors up asking..."Let me see your registration". My friend didn't have one being that he only attached a trolling motor and was told he didn't need a registration. WRONG!- summons written. "where's your throw cushions?" asked Super Warden. "Sir, I only have these PFDs". WRONG-summons written. "What's that over there?" asks Super Warden. ""Its a molded-in live well, but I am using it for a cooler" responds my friend. "Well, that's considered as being a compartment...let me see your fire extinguisher." says Super Warden. "Fire extinguisher?" asks my friend. WRONG- another summons written, and my friend was escorted back to the put-in by Super Warden, who watched as he (my friend) was ordered to get out of the river.

I dare not complain without offering a suggestion. Here it is...how about just one recreational license that covers everything having to do with the combinaton of critters and water within the state? Yes, charge more for it, but it will still be less than having to now buy a license for each activity because now everyone would be buying it. Think of it, one license, and you could fish for (and hopefully catch) trout of both fresh and saltwater varities anywhere within the state. One license, and with it you could go crabbing or dig clams. Simple and easy...one pieace of paper to carry, and a lot less likely that "Barney" can harrass the crap out of someone.:)
 

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Here in Georgia, we hae just one license. It covers both fresh AND saltwater. Even better, it's only 9 bucks! If you're out of state, it's only 24 bucks. This doesn't cover freshwater trout fishing, but even that is relatively cheap. All those licenses and assorted crap like that, that's one thing I don't miss about VA.
 

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This could be A LOT better

For one: whats with the recreational gill net
license?! Gill nets select by size, not species.
I can see this as a wonderful way to peel off
stripers of whatever size a person wanted! Or
large croakers for that matter. They need to
fix problems not create them!

One thing I wish they would do is eliminate
the pier license and captains license and
force everyone to get a fishing license
(either annual or 2 day) this is the way
Michigan has done it since the salmon
fishery took hold 30yr ago. Besides, at some
points like Buckrow, you are forced to use the peir, because ALL THE LAND is private!
(I remember tat much and it has been 2yr)

Also, couldn't some of these be combined?
Instead of nickel and diming (which may be
self defeating) make the cast net for example,
part of the SW fishing license.

Could someone else think of license fees
that could/should be combined, and why...
 

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MI Licenses

If there is one thing I remember about MI it was
that the licences wer simple.

1) You had the regular fishing licence -- it covers pike, bass, walleyes, muskie, catfish, etc

2) you had the trout license/permit

If you wanted to fish for trout or salmon/steelhead in designated trout streams
then you needed the trout sticker. If you only
fished inland lakes or Geat Lakes, then you
did not need trout sticker.
To complicate things, some of the steelhead
river opened before trout season from the
mouth up to a known land mark :)
 

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A number of years ago when a neighboring state first proposed a license fee for surf fishing, a 30-year veteran proposed a "voluntary 10% tax". That is, if you were lucky enough to catch 10 good Chesapeake bluefish, "just drop one off on the doorstep of your local state representative".

I have no problem with reasonable licenses and fees where the proceeds are used for legitimate marine resource purposes. What you quickly find, however, is that it just becomes part of the expenditure pool for useless or detrimental programs like "beach replenishment" (otherwise known as "save the hotels and restaurants" plans) or the hiring of a $60,000/year "media representative" for the resources departments.

Evidently a mom, dad, and kids armed with string and chicken necks somehow represents an important resource issue worth taxing, but factory ships and spotter planes extracting tons and tons of feeder fish to be processed and used as fertilizer is seen as "business".

End of rant.
 

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Just another Reason to Take a Cruise

Instead of spending my vacation dollars in Virginia.

I no longer fish in Maryland or Massachusetts for the same reason.

The "Smoke and Mirrors" about conservation, is an insult to my intelligence.

The big resort communities, don't suffer too much from these "Nuisance Taxes", but the little backwaters that need the recreational fishermans dollars (Chincoteague, Wachapreague, Crisfield, Oyster etc.) Have Already Been Damaged by this sort of Irresponsible Legislation.

Every weekend that I spend in Delaware, instead of Virginia, is another $500 that the State's economy will Never take in.

YOU DO THE MATH

It's always hard to "Prove a Negative", but check out the run down appearance and boarded up businesses in the Tidewater towns.

I rest my case.
 

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KISS

My opinion on fee structures and regs is
you should try to keep them as simple as possible
(Keep It Simple Stupid)
If you cant remember 80% of the rules and
keep track of 1 or 2 changes, you got
problems.

I also think that commercial fishing should
be stopped -- inside the Bay is easy -- offshore is another matter. Just where does
international water begin?
BTW: Fish caught on hook and line bring
$100/lb fish caugth in net bring $9/lb
(1989 nums) read the Talhelm report.
I should be able to find it online by now...

If you could determine that statewide there
were 10000 people working the piers and
that these poeple never bought a SW license
because they stayed on the piers, that you
would want the to pay to use the resource?
What if you could figure out how many 2d
licenses you could sell to tourists to use
the headboats/piers and to catch crabs?
(assume 40,000) and make the 2d license
$5...

It starts to add up huh?

Of course all this would be included in a
regular SW license -- its just good for
9mo ... :) Get rid of the nickel & dime stuff
 

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Well I think the crabing should not be an additional fee but be included in rec lic.
The 12.50 is fine with me but the more I think about it out of state fee's should be the same as in state.
The other gear lic left alone or similar percentages.

I would also suggest people who want to coment on this take a little time and read and hopefully understand the Virginia regs. They can be found at
http://www.mrc.state.va.us/recreational.htm
 

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you got it DIGGER and heck not just the fees as a rquired but just the sport alone is expensive enough the rods to the boat maintenance to bait shoot thats an awful lotta of $$$$ i think all and all should not be changed if any thing should at least run 8 to 10 yrs for a hike thats my 02 cent ,, raise the commercial let me repeat myself RAISE IT ON THE COMMERCIAL !! :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just a few comments, trying to keep most of my opinions out.

For a list of projects supported by the recreational license fund go to:

http://www.mrc.state.va.us/swrfdf.pdf

This is one part of process that is out in the open. Two funding cycles per year. four public meetings for each cycle. Written public input accepted throughout the process, verbal input during the second meeting of each cycle. Lots of boat ramps, lots of piers, lots of science, lots of artificial reefs (which are off limits to commercial fishing if they are in state waters.)

Currently the recreational freshwater license is $12.50 and the saltwater fee is $7.50. The saltwater fee proposed by the Governor last winter was $12.50. If you buy both fresh and salt at $!2.50 it is comparable to the LA $24.00. There are lots of people in Virginia that fish only one flavor of water.

Smoothbore54, I did not know that MA had a saltwater license? I always thought that MD was the northern most state with a saltwater recreational fishing license. How much is the fee? Do they have a boat license?

You are not allowed to harvest striped bass, flounder, bluefish, speckled trout or black drum with a recreational gill net.

Currently the in state and out of state fees are the same. Tourism is one of the issues that came up when the concept of an in-state / out-of-state fee structure was discussed.


Tom
 

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HMMMM

"You are not allowed to harvest striped bass, flounder, bluefish, speckled trout or black drum with a recreational gill net."

That looks like an unenforceable rule. All you
need is to get a gill net in the right place at
the right time and you have one or the other
species. Gill nets select by size, not species
this is why Mi DNR hates seing them used
in the Great Lakes -- besides the Lakes
are low production water :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That is true. However, if you are not allowed to keep them and you have to stay within 100 yards of your net the entire time that it is overboard, which should mean shorter sets and more fish released alive.

If you are reasonable (and I agree not everyone is) about how you use a gill net you can avoid unwanted species by selection of mesh size, location and time of set.

But that is just one of the issues. Many people do not like the concept of recreational gill nets. Many people think that they can be used responsibly. The good news for the former is that the number issued each year is always less than the previous year.

Tom
 

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I agree on keeping things simple. If they want to take some of the money for crabs, keep it as part of a single license. The more complicated the state makes things, the harder it is to stay in compliance and the more people will inadvertantly break the law.

One license, one fee, period.
 

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Anytime the Gov't says they are going to possibly put a tax or a fee on somthing .....................FLAGS should be raised !

They will establish a new job for some inside cronie of thiers and he or she will play alot of golf and do the ocassional appearance in front of the camera about how much this new office or program is doing.

It's BULL___T!

Those of you who think there is any good coming out of a new tax increase need to pull your head outta the sand.


REMEMBER the LOTTERY folks....................our schools still stink!

But we all sit back ( 95% of us)............and because it doesn't effect us immediately, just say oh well ! Stand up and make you Gov't spend responsibly!!!!!!!! They should show some resposibility before asking for money!

BY THE WAY FOLKS..................they have to ask for money......it's not up to them to declare it! Sportsmen will continue to bend over and take it until the lazy ones get off thier backsides and do somthing.

I myself wrote to the state many times ( in my home state of Maine)........... about various Fishing/Hunting issues. Mainly over license fee issues, and regulations concerning size limits. Alot of people and myself actually had a impact on 2 decisions made.
Thanks to Olimpia Snowe.......Our fine REPUBLICAN rep.....we made some changes.
 

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The biggest problem that I have is that you need a lawyer to go hunting or fishing these days. I'm only 32, but when I started hunting all of the important info that I neede to hunt could be found on the back cover. In the last twenty years in has got to the point that you now need a calender, a watch, a map and an 80 page book. That is still not good enough because now you need the newspaper to update you on extended seasons and rule changes. I see the same thing happening with fishing. I do not mind the license and maybe I am not the most dedicated fisherman but anytime I go to the beach these days I don't go to the shops just for bait and whats biting. Now it is to get the latest revisions on limits and slots. I wish that the red tape would stop pretending that conservation is the reason for this. especially when it comes to fishing recreationally. My total fish take for ten years could not touch one comercial boat's single day catch. On a yearly basis charge one flate fee, give me a list of what I can keep and when I can keep it. If there is a need to change these regulations make the change effective with my next license. The changes start out making sense but, end up as crazy as the PA Dear season. (don't forget to count the points on the buck that is doing 25 mph throught the brush).
 

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$12.50 - $15 for an annual is no big deal for the individual who, even if you're like me and throw most of them back, gets enough out of it.

However, what I would never like to see is $12.50 a year for a license build a multi-million dollar fund, and then have that fund pilfered by whatever agency the governor decides needs money.

If we pay the money, the money needs to be plowed back into our interests and improve our station.

NUMBER 2 --- Enforce all the rules on recreational fishermen and fine the heck out of the rule-breakers. No warnings for undersized fish, or too large bag limits. No, we'll worry about it next time for a "misidentified" spot that's a drum. No, I thought the season opened this week for stripers.

Fine them and get that money back in the system to do more works against the wrong-doers.

Heck even yesterday at Yorktown, a fellah driving through stopped me and asked how'd I do, and I told him, and he said, "Well at night we've been getting stripers, and even if you've got to run every one of them back to the car and hide it in the trunk it's worth it, because those pan-sized ones are good eatin."

Geesh.

THROW MORE / MOST / MAYBE A FEW OF THE BIG ONES BACK

Jake Ace
 

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I f I only had a dollar for every time I hear fishermen tell me they don't know about

Increase the fee!


Bankrupt and and send violators to jail.....I wouldn't even mind a maiming or decaputation.


Ignorance and non-compliance should not be the excuse anymore.

But I do agree that the monies gathered should stay within the fishing community and not to other un-fishing or un-angling related agencies.
 

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In Oregon a license is 19.75 and then another 16.50 for salmon and sturgeon tags. Some of the license money goes to habitat improvement and most of the tag money goes to hatcheries and enforcement. Nonresident license is $48.50 annually or $8 per day which includes tags. Enforcement is strict and widely obeyed. There's a few poachers and scoflaws everywhere, but when enforcement is strict the rules are mostly followed.
Virginia's license seems like a bargain to me, esp. if the money really does go to sorely needed habitat improvement and law enforcement, and maybe a little fishing education would help. It's seldom I've fished on a pier without seeing buckets of undersized or overlimit fish. Too many people don't realize fish stocks can and will be depleted.
I don't like the idea of a recreational crabbing license. It's often a family activity I'd hate to see curtailed.
What I really dislike is Virginia's recreational gill net license for $8. On a good day a gill net can fill a couple bushel baskets in a few hours and most of what's released is dead or dying.

Anyway, hope you survived the flooding Tom. I lived for a few years out on Pasture Rd. in Poquoson and I know the water surged pretty high throughout Poquoson the other day. In fact, two NPR news broadcasts featured Poquoson today.
 
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