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A fishing license (US), fishing licence or fishing permit is a regulatory or legal mechanism to control fishing. Licensing is one mechanism of fisheries management and may be required for either commercial or recreational fishing.

Historical licensing

In 1765, the Chinese Qing dynasty government required all fishing boat operators to obtain a fishing license under the aojia system that regulated coastal populations. The Dan boat people of Guangdong had to acquire a fishing license as early as 1729. The wooden license issued by the government was to be displayed on the bow or stern of a boat. The information on the license consisted of the name and age of the boat's owner, the ship's status as either a fishing or commercial vessel, the home port of the boat, crew and family members on board, the date the license was issued, and the registration number of the license.[1]

Types by country

Depending on the jurisdiction, licenses or permits may be required by a government, a property owner, or both.

The government requires a rod licence for anyone over the age of 12 who fishes in England, Wales or the Border Esk area in Scotland for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eels.[2] In addition, anyone who fishes in a non-estuarine stream, lake, or canal needs a permit from the owner of the fishing rights to the water body, which might be a local angling club, a landowner with riparian rights, or an organization such as the Canal & River Trust.[3]

In Ireland, rights to fish in non-tidal freshwater also are owned either by the government or by private entities such as angling club. The ownership of fishing rights in Ireland derives from the confiscation of lands by the British Crown in the 17th century; the boundaries of fishing rights areas typically follow the boundaries of estates granted by the Crown.[4]

The U.S. state of Oregon instituted a requirement for commercial fishing licenses in 1899, the same year that the state's sturgeon fishery had collapsed due to over-harvesting. Oregon began requiring recreational fishing licenses in 1901.[5] Indiana began issuing hunting licenses in 1901 and added fishing privileges to its hunting license in 1913.[6] The state of Pennsylvania first issued recreational fishing licenses in 1919. Licenses were required only for nonresidents, and only 50 licenses were issued that first year. In 1922, when the state first required licenses for state residents, over 2,700 nonresident licenses and over 200,000 resident licenses were sold.[7]

License free fishing

Some countries don't require a license for recreational sea fishing, provided that certain rules in regard to fish size, numbers and total catch are followed.

Recreational fishing in the sea does not require a license in certain spots. Size limits need to be followed. Also need to have a freshwater permit when fishing on certain seadocks[8]

Sea angling and spear fishing without diving equipment is allowed with no licence. Multiple species including seals, dolphins and turtles are protected.[8]

Estonians have a life-long right to fish with one simple hand line in waters owned by the state and local governments, provided that regulations about species, sizes and seasons are followed.[8]

No license is necessary for recreational sea fishing. There are many detailed regulations about fish species, size limits, fishing methods and prohibited areas.[9][10]

Sea fishing from the coast and from the boat is free for both residents and visitors, although there are minimum fish rules and other regulations.[11]

For fishing in public waters no license is necessary. Foreign citizens are allowed to fish without license only with hand gear. License free fishing is legal along the sea coast (in many cases also on private land along the coast) and in Sweden's five largest lakes – Vänern, Vättern, Hjälmaren, Mälaren and Storsjön.[12][13][14]

Fishing licence for sea fishing is not required in most of the places in the United Kingdom. For salmon and sea trout game licence is required regardless of location.[15][16] In places where saltwater and freshwater cross over the regulations are complicated and licence may be required.[17]

See also

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