Anglers upset over proposed regulations

Adam Riglian

Proposed licensing regulations for saltwater fishing have recreational anglers angry.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed the regulations, which could cost fishermen $5 to $25 in annual fees, to better gather data on fish catches.

“I don’t think it’s right on a recreational level,” said Mike Brown, a recreational fisherman from Marshfield. “The ocean is meant to be enjoyed.”

The state already has licensing requirements for recreational freshwater and commercial fishing, but the proposed move would make Massachusetts the first New England state to require saltwater licensing. The new regulations would require a fisherman to give name, address and telephone number and specify the region where the fishing is to be done.

“I’m totally against this. I already pay $65 for a commercial stripers license,” fisherman Peter Anderson said. “What about people who fish only once or twice a year? This is just to put money in some politician’s pocket. You won’t find anyone in favor of this.”

Rick Newcomb of Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy said he understands the reasoning behind the proposal and will support the regulations if the revenue will be put back into fishing.

“I’m in favor of it if the money is used for what it is supposed to be,” Newcomb said. “It’s no problem if it is used right.”

Newcomb recalls railing against a similar proposal when William Weld was governor. Weld stood by fishermen who opposed that proposal, which would have put revenues into a general fund, not back into fishing.

Revenues from the new licensing regulations would be spent on fishing piers, stocking programs and biological studies.

George Peterson of Webster, who fishes in several New England states, worries that Massachusetts will set off a domino effect in the region.

“Do I have to get a separate saltwater license for every state? It’s not a good idea,” Peterson said.

Casual fisherman Vinh Nguyen of Quincy said he thinks the government should keep its fingers out of the pockets of people just having fun.

“I just come out to relax. If I want to fish, I’ll fish,” Nguyen said. “If you get a license, you lose money for no good reason. I come out here three or four times a year, and sometimes I get nothing.”

“People just come out to have fun. It’s not right.”

Patriot Ledger reporter Mark Fuery contributed to this report.

Adam Riglian may be reached at