Until a few years ago the State of North Carolina had no saltwater fishing license for residents and non-residents. For years the legislators, always looking for revenue sources, wanted to change the law and require a license for everyone. The debate was always over what would be done with the revenues. Most fishermen, including myself, didn’t mind the license fee on the condition that the proceeds would go back into maintaining the fish stocks and the environment. Eventually the law was changed, a license required, and according to an online source:
“Proceeds from the sale of this license will go into two marine resources funds managed by the state’s Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources commissions. Revenues must be used to manage, protect, restore, develop, cultivate, conserve and/or enhance North Carolina’s marine resources.”
While I don’t know how North Carolina funds its entire wildlife management programs here in Ohio such programs receive no state tax dollars. It is estimated that hunting, fishing and wildlife observation contributes $4 billion annually to Ohio’s economy, most of it coming from license fees paid by hunters and fishermen and several federal excise taxes on sporting equipment.
This is exactly what I wanted to hear about Ohio and where my $10 a year goes. Matter of fact, I would prefer that the senior citizen half-price off fishing license be done away with and we be required to pay the full amount. Maybe the extra bucks would bring flush toilets back to Rocky Fork Lake.
For more information on Ohio’s wildlife management approach check out the WildOhio article in the December issue of Country Living magazine.