Saltwater license sales are strong and so are tackle store conversations

by | Mar 13, 2020 | American Saltwater Guides Association, Fishing Clubs, Tackle Shops, Tackle Tips

Share This Article On…

2010 was the first year of the Rhode Island Saltwater License Program, designed as an alternative to a federal license which became mandatory with a 2006 amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act. The amendment was written to begin a more accurate capture of fisheries data like effort and landings. In a rare move, Rhode Island’s license monies are kept in a restricted receipt account and therefore cannot be used as part of the general budget. That outstanding decision was a result of teamwork by the RIDEM and The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association. It should also not be understated how critical it is to have so much of our money protected so it won’t go to outdated bridge repair or some sweetheart local project to aid someone’s reelection, not that that would ever happen in our state. According to the State’s report, the license and monies generated are for, “Allowing flexibility in the administration of the recreational license program to suit the needs of Rhode Island, improving the quality and accuracy of marine recreational fishing data, providing an improved means for quantifying the scope of recreational saltwater fishing and spearfishing …” Additionally, RIDEM can leverage monies collected with a one-to-three match through the US Fish and Wildlife’s Sportfish Restoration Program for some recreational fishing projects. They use this opportunity with caution as RIDEM states, “It is the policy of the Division to only fund Saltwater Fishing License Fee projects which have been matched with USFWS grants unless absolutely necessary.”

It’s also important to note that this was the first year RIDEM offered a hunting, fishing, and saltwater license combination online. Yes, we can get anything online but the government works differently, albeit relatively slowly, and keeping data secure is paramount so cheers to them for being up and running. The annual report states, “Although the internet remains the most convenient means for obtaining a license for most people, it is apparent that a portion of the population continues to prefer to obtain a license, in-person, at a local store or shop.” Before we became accustomed to instant everything, we regularly interacted with people at tackle shops.
Saltwater license sold at Saltwaters Edge in MiddletonHave you ever listened to Ralph Craft, enjoyed a parking lot casting lesson from Peter Jenkins, laughed until your stomach hurt with the whirlwind smiling force of energy called Elisa Conti Cahill or picked the brain of Chris Willi on Block Island before going fishing? Interactions with small business owners is the real heartbeat of a local economy.
With the cancellation of the New England Saltwater Fishing Show, these small businesses will surely take a hit. They waited all year to provide us with rods, reels, waders, lures, hats, sunglasses and more. They took a huge risk to attend the show and now it’s not happening. Now’s the time to patronize local shops to get what you need.

Custom Fishing Rods for Sale

Ralph Craft of Crafty One Customs

The report also states, “…there are twenty local vendors authorized to issue licenses at their places of business.  This is up from just seven vendors at the start of the 2011 fishing season. Increasing the number of vendors should remain a top priority since adding more vendors to the program will make it easier for more people to get their licenses…”
Amen.
Close the laptop and go talk to a real shop owner who employs real people who just might pass along that little nugget of real-time intel that will put you on the fish.
The numbers.
License sales in total decreased from 50,795 in 2018 to 48,7374 in 2019. Resident licenses also fell from 31,579 to 30,155. Licenses sales peaked in 2018 with a substantial increase over the first-year sales of 29,615. That year 18,658 full-time residents purchased licenses. That low number likely reflects those of us who initially refused on principle to pay to fish or those of us just too disorganized to apply.
As for the money, the fiscal year 2019 license sales generated $324,817 gross revenue.  Only $675 was collected for seven-day resident licenses. Our fishery participants are in this for the year, not just for a vacation at the shore. Non-residents spent $19,562 on seven-day licenses but interestingly, spent $93,495 on full-year licenses, which highlights how many anglers are crossing state lines on a regular basis and helping fuel the economic engine that is recreational fishing.

The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association puts the annual dollar amount generated from recreational fishing in the Ocean State at $412 million which equates to over 4,000 related jobs.

Prior to the cash register being emptied, RIDEM budgets for projects to properly drawdown from net revenues. It’s a careful process for sure, trying to allocate money for everything from emptying trash cans at Camp Cronin, which apparently was a near Herculean task, to engineering complete boat ramp rehabilitation projects. One snapshot of net revenues, the final amount to be used after administration and website fees are deducted (a third party, RI Interactive, charges $2 per internet sale), is growth from 2011 to 2019. That first year’s net revenue was $132,943. In 2019, that grew to $218,448, an amount which mirrors the one year decline in license sales, which in 2018 resulted in $233,934 in net revenue.
Expenditures are extensive and require readers to go, yes, online, to get the full summary. The Cliff Notes version is funds are covering costs for recreational catch and effort data collection program (MRIP), improvement of boating and fishing access, like they’re doing at Quonny Pond and Rocky Point, development of artificial reefs, and public outreach.

Monies are also expended through the MRIP program to query charter/for-hire customers who currently are not required to purchase a license. That customers don’t contribute to the license system but they and captains benefit from it likely will be a real conversation soon. Ultimately, it’s our money and is required to be spent to benefit our collective recreational experience. You can view the entire report on the RIDEM website.

0 Comments

RECENT POSTS

FOLLOW ON SOCIAL

FISH REPORTS

Listen every Friday morning as we share an audio report letting you know where the fish are biting (and other fishing info.)
Click to listen.

 

About The Author

Todd Corayer is a lifelong fisherman and occasional hunter whose writing relies on poor penmanship, sarcasm and other people’s honest fish stories while seeing words as puzzle pieces that occasionally all fit together perfectly.

His work has appeared in The Double Gun Journal, On The Water MagazineThe Fisherman, The Bay Magazine,  So Rhode IslandSporting ClassicsCoastal AnglerNY Lifestyles, The Island Crier, and very often in the wonderful RISAA Newsletter.

You Might Also Enjoy…

Fish are Hall around us this week

Total character Brain Hall find sailfish from his kayak, Aaron Flynn is on the largemouth, Alex Ridgway can find fish anywhere, and we mean anywhere, and then Steve Medeiros, the generous and patient President of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association passed away, quite unexpectedly. It’s a good week tempered with his loss but we’ll offer Steve a fine send off next week. So let’s find some fish….

Big River Protects Brook Trout

Rhode Island’s Trout Unlimited chapter has partnered with RIDEM, EA Engineering and other environmental agencies to investigate the Big River Management Area to see if it’s dark, shrouded reaches might support populations of wild, native brook trout, the state’s only native charr. Biologist Corey Pelletier electrofishing small winding streams and rivers to discover and catalog life, because, in a world of questions, answers all begin with data.

Fish are in but access might keep us from them

Once again, we are surrounded by fishes. With a subtle uptick in seawater temperatures, gates opened and fish have flooded local waters. Finding them and getting to them is ever the challenge. Capt. Rene Letourneau is guiding through a steady pick of good sized bass...

Cloudy skies over cloudy water

Clouds on the horizon and a few big ones in the mirror mean fishing can be fickle but a few aces know where they feed. Ralph Craft has a few spots open for his Tog Tourney and CRMC wants to send you some mail to keep aware of how they are, we hope, protecting our shorelines.

Dave Henault has gone east for the winter

Dave Henault has left us. For the winter and for Southeast Asia. Dave’s the owner of Ocean State Tackle in Providence, a very well known figure in the fishing community and a total character. This winter, he’ll be riding his bicycle across three countries for...

Consider sharing this article with your fishing buddies!

We appreciate you sharing the Fish Wrap with your fishing community.