Paid Not To Fish: Mass. Study on Amateurs

Many boaters’ sole reason for owning a boat is to be able to go fishing whenever time and tide moves them. Fishing is their hobby, their passion and relaxation. So it was a bit of a shock to see a U.S. government program that pays amateur saltwater fisherman not to fish.  Oh, it is no farm subsidy and it’s supposedly not tied to any commercial fishing quotas. It’s part of a study to measure the economic value of recreational saltwater fishing.

salt water sportfishing

Can anyone put a value on the joys of recreational fishing?

It was just last year that Massachusetts began requiring $10 fees for fishing licenses to amateur saltwater fisherman. The state has long issued more expensive $27 permits for annual freshwater fishing. So when 500 applicants chosen at random received a $500 check in response to their saltwater fishing permit applications this year, confusion ensued. They could either cash the check and give up their fishing license this year or simply get their permits.

The study is only being done in one state, Massachusetts, due to financial limitations of the study. Clearly, fishermen have a lot more to consider than the value of their boats and gear when participating in this survey. The question is, what is fishing worth to you? Would you forgo fishing for a season for $500, something more, something less? To many would-be survey participants it is not clear what the survey is after and it angers them. Are they looking for the tipping point where the increased cost of a license will turn you away? To some, it is simply a waste of government money to survey something we are forced to pay for anyway. Whatever the reasons for the survey, would you be willing to be paid not to fish? As always, leave a comment.

Read the full story online at The Boston Globe: US offers up to $500 for fishermen not to fish

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