While it would be an exaggeration to suggest that our forefathers at Bunker Hill were fighting King George to protect themselves and their progeny from paying a tax to fish for stripers. It’s only because taxing people for fishing was a step too far, even for the tax loving British parliament. Hence, a freedom we have enjoyed since colonial times was lost late Monday night. Starting in January, surfcasters and those fishing within 3 miles of shore will need to pony up $10 to the Commonwealth for the privilege of wetting a line.
Governor Patrick claims his hand was forced by the Feds. “The Patrick administration is emphasizing the lower permit fee and the local retention of fee revenues to cover program administration, better fisheries management and improved public access for recreational fishing”. A more honest response would be to admit that with the budget deficit Massachusetts is experiencing, there is no way the Patrick administration would forgo a new revenue stream. After all, those of us who already pay $29 for a fresh water license will not be spared from paying the new fee.
To maintain that the fee is to cover better fisheries management is a joke. In all the years I have been buying a license, no official has asked to see it. In all the years that I have been fishing, the only people to ask if I had caught anything were fellow anglers. Now, I suppose some of them may have been undercover agents of the Fish and Game department, but I highly doubt it.
This money is going to pad the budget of some bureaucrat in that black hole of taxpayer money on Beacon Hill. Trust me, that $10 fee will only increase and probably quickly.