Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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60 | www.GuyHarveyMagazine.com And you might notice some differences as you progress into new territory. The maximum speed limit may reduce from 65 to 55 miles per hour. The roads may be riddled with potholes one minute, then be newly paved with freshly painted lines the next minute. There might even be more speed traps. It's pretty obvious where the tax dollars are being spent. There's a second type of state boundary. This one is also invisible, but is only crossable by watercraft. It's the line several miles off a coastal state's shores. When you cross over the line, you either head into another state's waters or into the vast ocean territory surrounding our country that is federally managed. Most people wouldn't notice. Unlike our highway system, there's no signal out on the open ocean that you're navigating from waters regulated by states to those managed by the federal government. There's no sign announcing your arrival, no welcome message, nor anything enticing you to stay. You simply keep on boating. But if you're a recreational fisherman on that boat, there are often major differences in the can and can't do's on one side of that line versus the other. A World Apart There's a philosophy chasm between state and federal management of our marine fisheries. Does it involve money? Absolutely. Is conservation a factor? You bet. But an often-overlooked ideology is that "recreational angler" equals "partner." Most American anglers would agree: freshwater fisheries management has largely been figured out. Without a doubt, there are still several challenges to conservation and access that are unlikely to change anytime soon, but from a purely management standpoint, state fish and wildlife agencies are working hard to ensure resident and visiting anglers have reasonable access to healthy fish stocks. And, in general, the federal government is not involved. This is where the money comes in. States and the recreation community have a symbiotic relationship, due in part to the agencies' funding model. Most, if not all, of their fisheries management budgets come directly from anglers. It's doled out from a collection of funds made up from fishing license fees and excise taxes on fishing equipment and motor boat fuel. That fund totals about $1.7 billion per year. Let's say that again. A total of 1.7 billion per year is collected from sport fishermen—us— which is spent on fishery management. H ave you ever thought long and hard about your experience crossing a state line? Probably not. You drive down the highway and there is no dotted line indicating the border and no welcome party to greet you. You first pass an insignificant sign that matter-of-factly states that you're leaving one state and entering another. But then, just a few yards down the road, is a billboard-sized announcement that you've arrived, complete with everything from state slogans to the current governor. "Welcome to Georgia. The state of adventure!" It makes you want to stop at the next farm stand to pick up a basket of fresh peaches. BY LIZ OGILVIE

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