By Donna Westfall – March 6, 2017 –
When it comes to food sources like growing your own fruits, vegetables, herbs or tossing a fishing pole in the ocean, why should any government agency be involved? Why should they be able to tax it, regulate it or charge for licenses?
After all, free fishing looks to be guaranteed by the California Constitution (1879) in Article 1, Section 25. So let’s see what the State has to say about that:
Statement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, March 3, 2017:
- “This is untrue. The California Constitution establishes the right for the public to fish from State owned waters, but it also authorizes the Legislature to establish conditions under which the public can fish. One of the conditions is that you must have a fishing license. This condition is established by the Legislature in Fish and Game Code, Section 7145.”
The Supreme Court had ruled in the following manner regarding the States Attempts to License your Rights:
- Murdock v. Pennsylvania 319 U.S. 105 (1943) “No State may convert a secured liberty into a privilege and then issue a license and charge a fee and require you to have it or you have committed a crime”. and if they do…
- Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham 399 U.S. 147 (1969) says…”If the State does convert your right into a privilege and charge a license and a fee you can ignore the license and engage in the right with impunity”.
If you want to chance it and fish without a license, it is recommended that you laminate the above card and have it on you in the event they try to ticket you. Hand it to the Fish and Wildlife employee and see what they say. Odds are…. they may or may not issue you a ticket.
Should you decide you’d like to purchase a fishing license, you can go on the internet to this website: fishinglicense.org. Now, if you want to find out how much a fishing license costs, that’s a little more involved. The site wants your billing information BEFORE getting to the fishing license fees. This is bass-ackward. First, I want to know how much a fishing license costs BEFORE paying for anything.
In the past year, I’ve asked several Supervisor’s to inquire about how to turn two free fishing days a year into more free fishing days to include all national holidays WITHOUT having to purchase a fishing license. Supervisor Gitlin has picked up and run with that ball. Stay tuned. More later.