New York’s Saltwater License V2: What’s Your Opinion? - The Fisherman

New York’s Saltwater License V2: What’s Your Opinion?

If you saltwater fish in New York State, you should be in possession of a wallet-sized orange printout (2023’s color) which is also known as your free marine registry. Every year starting on the date that you got it, you need to renew this free registry if you wish to go saltwater fishing and be in compliance with the law. Those without a registry or an expired registry are subject to receiving a fine.

Some years back, in the 2009 state budget, to be exact, there was a time when a fee was associated with the then, a license, not a registry. That fee was $10 for the majority of adults. After a short while, it was deemed that the money collected from the licensing was not being used properly — instead placed in a general fund, where nothing went back to the bettering of our fishery. With some political support and the rallying of organizations, the fee was retracted. Those who purchased lifetime licenses in 2010 and others who purchased any license in 2011 were refunded their money. The total came to over 1.5 million in refunds. We were left with the current registry system that is in place right now.

More recently, since last fall, there have been talks from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of possibly bringing back a fee-based license once again for fishing in New York State marine waters in hopes that this time around, the money will be allocated to a more appropriate dedicated fund that will benefit the recreational fishing community and DEC. A fee-based license would also make New York eligible for additional federal funding from the Wallop-Breaux Fund. In case you’re wondering what Walllop-Breaux is, it’s a fund that allocates money generated directly by anglers through taxes on motorboat fuel and fishing tackle, along with other fees, to provide anglers with new and improved docks and piers, wetlands conservation and boating safety programs, among many other boating and fishing initiatives. Of course, there still has to be some skepticism with this idea since the first time around, we all thought this was the way this it was going to be done. And this license could be coming a lot sooner than you think; potentially sometime early next year.

While there could be a great deal of good to come from something like this if done correctly — access opportunities, education, enforcement, etc., there is also the thought of this fee eventually being another “tax” when it comes to fishing in New York State for some people. This comes in the wake of ever-rising permits, gas, and overall living costs. Some may say this idea might not be feasible at this time.

As of now, New York and New Jersey are the only two states along the east coast that don’t have a fee-based license in effect right now. Has New York just been delaying the inevitable, or is this an ongoing statement being made by anglers in the state fishing marine waters who want to preserve their given right to angling marine waters without having to pay a fee?

The DEC is planning on sending out angler surveys on this topic but we here at The Fisherman Magazine would like to know your thoughts on this during the interim. Scan the QR code below to take a quick survey on whether you would like to see a fee-based saltwater license in New York’s marine waters, with the option to leave an additional comment.

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