November 5, 2009

No Salt Water Fishing "Tax" In Ocean State

Marc Comtois

Governor Carcieri vetoed the bill imposing a $7 license fee for salt-water fishing. As the ProJo reports, "This is the Ocean State," Carcieri stated. "It is a place where people have been free, up to now, to cast a line into Narragansett Bay without government intrusion." He means the federal government, too.

Congress mandated the licensing of all saltwater fishermen several years ago, aiming to establish a more reliable way of tracking recreational fishing. Any state without a registry would have to submit to federal licensing, which costs more than the proposed $7 fee for Rhode Island.... Carcieri cited the Tenth Amendment, which states that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

To which Carcieri added, "Mandating that all persons seeking to cast a fishing line in Narragansett Bay for the purposes of recreational fishing should be required to pay an annual licensing fee and register with the government is excessively intrusive."

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So what happens now? The federal mandates get put in place, and someone then sues due to the unconstitutionality of the law?

I think I did miss that part of the Constitution where they talk about a fishing tax for the purpose of knowing what each fisherman is doing.

And Bush had the "Big Brother" laws in place?

Posted by: Patrick at November 5, 2009 1:26 PM

The federal oversight is via NOAA, more here. It looks like states are using NOAA's desire to have anglers register as an excuse to implement a full-on license and then collect the difference from what is owed NOAA (more here. Incidentally, only the Northeast and Hawaii don't have licensing for saltwater anglers. I think that's a good thing!

Posted by: Marc at November 5, 2009 1:47 PM


Access to all beaches and ocean is a state constitutional guaranteed right of the people in Hawaii (the state even throws in free paved parking at the beaches).

People still fish daily for their meal in Hawaii (rod or throw net) especially the displaced homeless who have set up tent camps on some remote waterfronts, remote beaches or live in state shelters near the beaches.

There is no license required for marine (saltwater) recreational fishing.

A license for fresh water game fishing plus a $1 convenience fee if purchased via Internet; resident $5, non-resident $25, 7-day tourist $10, 30-day tourist $20 and senior (65 and over) convenience fee only.

Of course there are commercial marine licenses (resident, non-resident) where the fee varies.

Posted by: Ken at November 5, 2009 11:38 PM
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