Let's discuss the proposed slot limit on the Clinch River. I am very much in favor of this regulation change. RW is a friend of mine and we don't agree on this but we will remain friends. If you think he is attacking me, he is not. He is too kind a gentleman to do that. Flat is also a friend of mine. We see eye to eye on this issue.
I noticed in an older thread that Flat asked RW if LUCRO thinks only locals fish the Clinch River. Though I am an avid sportsman I can't help but look at issues from a business point of view also. Many of our customers fish on the Clinch River and I've heard for a few years from them that the fishing quality has declined.
My question is, do the local people who live near this river understand that fishing is big business?
Fishing means tourism, tourism means revenue and revenue means jobs. If they don't agree have them go to Gander Mountain, Bass Pro or Cabellas. Fishing is a huge business! And, tourism is big business in Tennessee. I will serve as Vice Chair for Tourism and Travel in our County next year. I am already getting ready for that. I've learned that we didn't have tourism in Blount County our property taxes would be several hundred dollars higher per year per household.
In the past 12 months we have sold 3,385 fishing and hunting licenses for a total revenue of $80,609 here at our small store. Of the total licenses sold 58.9% were to non-residents and those accounted for 62.7% of the revenue. I don't know the number, there's no way but some of them were sold to people who fish the Clinch River. I think a lot of them were. There are also 3 or 4 other establishments in Townsend that sell hunting and fishing licenses.
It seems to me that the opposition to this proposal (not you RW) are folks who live close to the river and may not be looking out for the best interest of all the citizens in their county and their state. Could it be that they don't want anglers fishing their river? Could it be that they know that better fishing will attract more fishermen and they don't want that?
Maybe if the oposition to this proposal would look at this from an economic as well as a fishing point of view they might reconsider their stance. A slot limit is not a big change. It is not a step toward mandated catch and release. It is simply a management tool to improve the perceived quality of fishing to a larger group of anglers who buy a license to fish the river, visit Tennessee and provide jobs in the counties near the resource.
This will be part of my thesis sent to TWRA and TWRC.