Invest in Fishing’s Future: Buy a Fishing License!

It’s a lot more than a legal obligation

florida fishing license
Florida's I DO campaign aims to educate the public about the importance of buying a fishing license.Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida

OPINION

The phrase “giving back” is one I hear often, but it’s nowhere more appropriate than for anglers purchasing a fishing license. You might think that strange, since purchasing a license is simply a legal requirement to fish recreationally.

But paying for a license actually helps pay for your opportunity to catch fish. It's a common misconception among anglers, according to Southwick Associates, that license monies go into a state's general fund, when in fact those dollars are invested into the sport and the resource.

Thus your fishing-license expenditure goes to help with stuff like:

  • Maintaining public access (public marinas and boat ramps, fishing piers and more)
  • Artificial reefs
  • Acquiring habitat such as coastal and inland wetlands
  • Improving fish habitat
  • Stocking fish
  • Conducting fisheries research.

Keeping fisheries healthy and productive is a justifiably self-serving reason to buy a license, but also, keeping them healthy and productive is valuable for recreational/leisure benefit they provide to huge numbers of folks, and for their often-hefty value to local economies. As an example, consider Florida with several million anglers who fish its waters.

Rather like the gift that keeps on giving, your fishing-license dollars actually generate additional money for fishing/fisheries, since the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program provides additional funds to conserve/manage fish and wildlife and habitat based on license expenditures.

While senior anglers (65 or over) are legally exempt from paying for a license, many choose to continue to keep purchasing one, because they’re aware that by doing so they’re helping to support their favorite recreation.

Bottom line: Buying a fishing license is a win-win. Make sure yours is current.