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During a break at our last club meeting, Roy gave some of us a brief status report on the saltwater fishing license that has been proposed for Delaware. Briefly summarized, the idea is on hold for now because of the actions of The Recreational Fishing Alliance (www.joinrfa.org). What the RFA did was send out a mass mailing to their membership with a postcard to sign and mail to your state legislator if you are opposed to the license. Apparently many RFA members did just that and spooked the politicians.

I've been aware of the RFA for many years but have never been a member. I know that Lefty Kreh has been featured in their advertisements and I respect his opinions very much. Some of you may remember that an RFA member spoke at one of our meetings.

Checking their website I see their stated mission is:

- Safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers
- Protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs
- Ensure long-term sustainability of our nation's fisheries

In addition they claim "Commercial fishermen and environmentalist are pushing their agenda on marine fisheries issues affecting you. The RFA is in the trenches lobbying, educating decision makers and ensuring that our interests are being heard loud and clear too!" This mission statement is shown on the home page under a picture of the U.S. Capitol building. There is a box which proclaims "Protect your right to fish, Join Now!"

So it appears to me that the RFA is basically a lobbying organization, sort of like what the NRA is to the shooting sports.

I am in favor of the saltwater fishing license for Delaware because I believe it will benefit the recreational fisherman. Therefore I believe the RFA was wrong to organize their members against the license proposal and they should have, instead, supported the initiative because that would be in keeping with their stated mission.

I'd like to hear what other club members think about this.
 

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some of you know that I went to many meetings about the GFL. I am all for "fisheries reabilitation" and think the state will have and may need a GFL. I just think it is a "money grab" by the state. Some of the meetings also had questions about hunting liscence fees. I did not hear, at any of the meetings that I went, how the state was going to try to improve the base that they work from. The fresh water lic. base has been dropping as well as the hunting lic.. I did not hear how the state was going to make more people want to buy a lic. I know the state is small. The state has much hunting land and that base is also dropping. The first thing that was said about the GFL was the high profile things like - a fishing pier, boat ramps, bulkheads but not much to help the resorce. I think the emphasis has now changed to other projects. I am a beach fisherman and why should I not have the same privilages as a boat guy? If the money goes to the resorce it is very much worth it. Piers and ramps do nothing for the resorce as I see it. I do buy a fresh water lic. for De. but did not this year since I thought the GFL would be intact by now. I guess it is just the unequality with the boat guys and the use of the money that is my sticking point.
Rick
 

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Well that is how I "feel" and I got it out of my system. I "think" the GFL is and can be a good thing for the rec. anglers. I also think the Fish and Wildlife does need a way to keep up with the costs to do their jobs. The bottom line is the fishery.
The RFA is very basic----money talks. They are closely tied to the boating industry.
Rick
 

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I support a saltwater fishing license for these reasons:
First, the resource should managed to achieve the greatest overall benefits including economic, social, and enviromental. Without reliable data (hard numbers on visitors, residents and boaters) accurate impacts cannot be measured. As long as recreational fishermen remain what someone guesses who we are we will have little influence.
Second, when the fisheries pie is cut, recreational fishermen will continue to come up short. Legislators pay attention to hard numbers not guesstimates. We must be counted and have our economic and social impact recognized.
Third, One only needs to look at the management successes of Florida, Louisiana, or Texas to name a few. The redfish, ladyfish,seatrout, kingfish,snook and jacks were being steadily wiped out until they enacted a license. Dr. Larry Mckinney, Fisheries director in Texas says "Because of our saltwater license we now have over 30 years data on our recreational rfisheries. This allows us to make sound management decisions and identify problems before they become serious. I can't imagine why northern anglers aren't demanding a license. Until recreational anglers are willing to put money on the table to build programs, they are not going to be able to compete with commercial interests. It's not going to happen." He makes sense to me.
Fourth, of course it is also about money. States that have saltwater licenses now get 80% of their funds from that source according to Flyrod and Reel magazine. This includes ALL the states south of us,across the Gulf, up the Pacific Coast and Alaska. The Florida model is useful to examine____30% of funds are for fisheries enhancement,30% for law enforcement, and 1/3rd for resources and management. Texas now has abundant gamefish pursued by 900,000 anglers, adding $1.3 billion to the economy while creating 20,000 jobs. It makes sense to me and I wonder what part of this RFA doesn't understand.
Lastly, we will hear from groups promoting ther own narrow self interest as is their right. Some will assume the resource belongs to those who harvest and exploit it and some will call the license a tax when in fact the saltwater license is an investment in our most precious resource. In the end both the evidence of past successes, common sense, science, and logic should be the compelling factors. The fishing experience, whether catching dinner, catch and release, or just being there is a valuable priviledge. Unfortunately, conditions today demand that we pay a small price for that priviledge.........R.Parks
 

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[Q]rparks originally wrote:
...Some will assume the resource belongs to those who harvest and exploit it and some will call the license a tax when in fact the saltwater license is an investment in our most precious resource...
[/Q]Roy, you hit the nail on the head! It's too bad that every fisherman doesn't realize what the funds will be used for.

Education is a wonderful thing... [grin]
 

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The one disappointing thing about the state's presentation on saltwater license was their initial suggestions regarding the allocation of funds. After I left the meeting in Georgetown I gave the matter considerable thought. There is only one logical conclusion. The folks working on that aspect of the proposal were under the influence of very strong stimulants. They made an excellent presentation of a well crafted document and then jeopardized it with a premature, asinine outline for use of funds that pleased no one_____they had to be drunk.

Rick, the Florida formula (see above) for use of funds that I mentioned in my diatribe earlier is mandated by law_____a good idea in my judgement and it could make a saltwater license difficult to oppose. The funds for the most part should be spent where informed recreational fishermen suggest thru their input including resource management and enhancement, reseach,habitat improvement, enforcement of regs. etc.. That is IF they can get their act together. Groups of anglers such as CCA can organize, energize, provide direction and education. Look what CCA did in the Gulf States. Initially, the foder may have to be pitched very low since i'm finding that there are more jackasses than giraffes out there. It seems to me that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. If Cambridge and Kent Island can support a CCA branch we should be able to do the same in Delaware. Organize or let the fishery collapse through exploitation and apathy.......rparks
 

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Roy, you are correct about the meeting at Georgetown. I left the meeting with a bad taste about the whole thing. I will go as far as to say that all the things that were used to promote the GFL were big items to some groups but not really anything for the resorce. Ramps, seawalls,piers and bulkheads do not have anything to do with the resorce. If much was said about studys and anything that will atract fish to the coast it may have made me see it different. The money must be used for certain things that alows the state to get matching funds. I guess the funds that are over and above the matching can be used for anything. More info needs to be presented.
Rick
 
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