N.Y. licenses set for next year
by Al Ristori/For The Star-Ledger
Thursday April 09, 2009, 8:58 PM
Anglers will be able to fish in New York this year without a license, but all that will change on Jan. 1, 2010, when the Empire State imposes a saltwater fishing license that was approved this week as part of Gov. David Paterson's budget proposal.
Fred Golofaro, managing editor of The Fisherman, has been keeping track of the New York license saga from his office in Shirley, Long Island, and he got word Wednesday of the Senate approving the legislation already passed in the Assembly. Fortunately, the effective date was pushed back to Jan. 1, and the fees lowered.
Residents will pay only $10 for an annual license, instead of the $19 originally proposed. The non-resident charge is way down from $40 to $15, and there's also a $10 seven-day license or a daily fee of $5. Vessels for hire will be charged an additional $450 on top of the fee they're already paying in order to cover their passengers.
Golofaro said there is a reciprocal provision with neighboring states, but he calls it a gray area at present and believes it will only apply to states that have saltwater licenses.
New York fishermen had set up a committee to perfect a reasonable saltwater license that would also satisfy the federal registration requirement. Gov. Paterson ignored their recommendations in his original budget proposal, and wanted the saltwater funds placed in the Wildlife Management Fund where the new funding could be used for unrelated fresh water and forest purposes. The Legislature restored the essential portions, and included a Marine Resources Account within the Wildlife Conservation Fund.
Yet, Golofaro was informed that the governor has already declared the saltwater funds coming in next year will be used to pay for presently unfounded positions in the Department of Environmental Conservation rather than for the launching ramps, piers, etc., that license advocates were expecting.
That's fair warning to New Jersey anglers if a saltwater license is proposed here. Gov. Jon Corzine has made it clear that he won't observe legislative dedication of a tax in the present battle over arts funding. Only a constitutional amendment would safeguard license monies from politicians. Check my daily blog at nj.com/shore/blogs/fishing for updates on this as well as the fishing outlook.