Monday, October 17, 2011

Coffee Talk...

I'll give you a topic:

Last night, I went out for an hour and a half to try and catch a dinner. Mama Holman, did you hear that? I went for the specific purpose of bringing fish back for dinner. Just so you know, I typically let all the fish go. Mostly because it is work to clean them and I have plenty of food in the fridge.

This isn't a post about my thoughts on catch and release. This is a post about license fees. Since Labor Day, I have noticed a lot of commercial fisherman placing gill nets off shore, and last night, there was a 300 foot net about 50-100 feet in front of the jetty I was fishing. Now I don't know all the rules about how close you can be to jetties and site specific regulations, but it seemed pretty close to me. Therefore, I looked up the regulations this morning. It turns out, it may be too close (I read something about no closer than 300ft to a bridge or jetty), but that wasn't what got me thinking.

I pay $17.50 for a saltwater license as a resident of the state of Virginia.

A Virginia resident commercial license is $190. The license fee for one reccreational, 300ft gill net is $9.00 and $24 for one commercial gill net between 600-1200ft. 

I am supportive of responsible commercial fishing, just as I am in favor of responsible farming for corn or cattle or watermelons. I was simply interested in the prices of commercial vs recreational licenses. Is $190 + $24.00 a fair price to be able to harvest fish with a gill net? Given the relative pressure that a commercial fisherman can place on fish populations versus a single recreational fisherman, is that cost an appropriate proportional increase?

local net fisherman pulling up the catch
Okay, don't get verklempt.  Talk amongst yourselves...


Oh, and did you hear? OBN's B-day this week. Lots of opportunities to win outdoor gear to review. 
Head on over and see what happens. 


  1. Wow, those commercial licenses are way too cheap in my opinion. Do you know if the local fishermen get state subsidies? That would top things off...

  2. I was also a bit surprised by that cost. good question about subsidies? I have no idea. I'll see what mr google can tell me.

  3. Those fees do sound a bit low. I think in some states a guide license can cost that much, and it doesn't really entitle you to keep any more than a regular license... they just figure if you make your living off the fish then they should tax you for it.
    I think anyone who profits on natural resources should pay an appropriate tax (and in most cases I think they do), but the VA commercial license seems a bit lenient.

  4. Jay - There may even be fees I don't know about. Taxes and such. But income taxes and equipment fees (boats, nets, etc) wouldn't be directed at resource management. And I guess that is my point. I feel like the justification of our recreational license fees is often the funding of resource management; I just think it should be proportionately increased based on use.

    good to hear from you.