SC’s salt­wa­ter fish­ing li­censes buy a wealth of fun

The Beaufort Gazette (Sunday) - - Sports - BY COLLINS DOUGHTIE Spe­cial to The Is­land Packet/ The Beau­fort Gazette

Com­pared to all the coastal states from Vir­ginia to Florida, the cost of South Carolina’s salt­wa­ter fish­ing li­cense is, sim­ply put, ridicu­lously low.

Don’t get me wrong be­cause cost does mat­ter.

But if we in­creased our li­cense fees to bring them more in line with the states on ei­ther side of us, the re­wards to ev­ery an­gler who fishes our wa­ters would be enor­mous in so many ways.

Let me re­mind you what your salt­wa­ter li­cense en­ti­tles you to.

You can fish 365 days of the year. On each and ev­ery one of those days, you are al­lowed to catch a limit of lit­er­ally dozens upon dozens of var­i­ous species of fish. The same goes for crabs, both blue crabs and stone crabs. There’s also a limit of shrimp daily (48 quarts heads on), oys­ters, mus­sels, clams.

The present cost for all that? $10 a year for state res­i­dents. Name one fast food chain that charges less than that for one stink­ing meal.

Say we in­crease our an­nual salt­wa­ter li­cense fee to $20 per year. That long over­due in­crease would al­low ad­di­tional ar­ti­fi­cial reefs to be built as well as im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing reefs. It might help with fund­ing our own Wad­dell Mar­i­cul­ture Cen­ter as well as the South Carolina Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources’s other re­search fa­cil­ity in Charles­ton.

Speak­ing of the Wad­dell Cen­ter, I hope you all know that a “Taste of Wad­dell” is right around the cor­ner.

The event is from 4-7 p.m. Sun­day, Nov. 4. Reser­va­tions are lim­ited so if you re­ally want to sup­port the cen­ter — with­out a doubt one of the area’s best con- trib­u­tors to the con­tin­ued health of our wa­ters — make your reser­va­tions on­line at friend­sofwad­dell.org. The food, pre­pared by Hud­son’s Seafood, is al­ways in­cred­i­ble, and there’s mu­sic by Low­coun­try Boil and raf­fles and auc­tions right on the bluff over­look­ing the Col­leton River at the cen­ter. Tick­ets are $30 per per­son with beer, wine and oys­ters ex­tra.

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