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.
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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 contributors 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.