Many anglers associate spring with the start of the fishing season. Like so, it’s also that time of year when you should renew your fishing license if you haven’t done it already. This important piece of documentation is more than just a purchase from the conservation authorities in your area. Believe it or not, this allows for the restocking of rivers and lakes, cleaning up of waterways, conservation of species at risk, and permits towns to have funding to maintain boating structures. Hence, this is why it is critical to purchase a fishing license.

Why Do I Need A Fishing License?

Regardless if you plan on keeping the fish or not, you are required to have a fishing license to pull the fish out of the water. Thus, this documentation grants access to the fish, waterways, and land used for fishing. Think of it as a rental fee to whichever governing body you reside within for using their, space. Additionally, it grants anglers the opportunity to give back to the environments they fish in.

Which License Is For Me?

white hammock on brown wooden dock during daytime

Image Credit: Adam Rhodes via Unsplash

Depending on your local area, how fishing laws around fishing licenses will vary. For instance, conservation, sport, or specialty licenses such as salmon may be different prices. Conservation licenses offer a small limit of catches and are common among novices and those who practice catch and release. Sport licenses grant a higher keep amount and more options of species to catch versus the more restrictive conservation license.

Salmon licenses on the other hand are the most expensive and can be restricted to certain waterways. This is done to protect this popular fish species and their migratory habitats. Tagged fish may have to be reported to conservation authorities. Regardless of the license, the goal is to monitor catch limits to ensure no one species is over caught.

Why Conservation Education Is Important?

Ensuring that clean water and fish species exist in the future, starts with conservation. Thus, teaching conservation enhances the public’s understanding of fragile ecosystems and species that may be at risk with depleting numbers. It teaches the value of fish, sustainability, and understanding why abiding by fishing laws is important to a greater cause that impacts everyone. Furthermore, teaching children the importance of conservation, ensures that waterways and species will be around for generations to come.

Why Restocking Matters?

Every year, a portion of the funds from the sales of fishing licenses go towards restocking hatcheries where there is a low fish count. Furthermore, it aids in biodiversity, providing a healthy food chain for predatory species. This also applies to sensitive areas where overfishing has taken place. Just like so, restocking is crucial, to an ecosystem that is recovering environmentally from natural causes such as flooding or polluted water where fish depletion is evident. On the other hand, restocking hatcheries grants anglers a longer season for targeted species and higher fish counts.

Research For The Future

man carrying silver fish

Image credit: NOAA via Unsplash

Restocking and research play into an angler’s hand, and here’s why. Through research grants, hatcheries can pinpoint what species and what size fish should be released into their respective habitats. Some fish stocked in the thousands as fry may grow in one ecosystem better than another species stocked in a stream as fingerlings. Hence, it is crucial in understanding what species are vital and at what size, for them to be successful. Ultimately, by doing this, anglers will notice an increase in targeted species in addition to larger fish.

Cleaner Waterways

Water projects such as sewage out pump stations and restrooms in marinas are an example of what one marina in Hawaii did with funding. Ultimately, this saw cleaner water in their ocean community. Moreover, it can provide additional funding to smaller townships, which can improve boat access and boat launches. It can employ workers who go out on the waterways to clean up trash and remove any blockages or debris.

On a larger scale, healthy ecosystems don’t stop at fish. It’s a chain reaction that impacts everything in that environment, including the food chain. Fish can become zoonotic spreaders. Thus, a sick fish can spread diseases to a bird, which becomes another predator’s meal, and so forth. Examples of zoonotic diseases from fish include salmonella, klebsiella, and streptococcus iniae to name a few. 

Putting it All Together

The next time you’re faced with the annual renewal of your fishing license, remember that it is one small part of a much larger picture. Proceeds from the sales of licenses support the maintenance of waterways and their cleanliness.  It ensures the restocking of the fish you seek, and teaches the importance of conservation, ensuring that generations from now there will still be the species of today.