Before I buy an Alaskan sportfishing license, I must have a fishing education card. Too radical? But, is it really? In most states, depending on date of birth, a hunter education card is required to purchase a hunting license, regardless of weapon or species to be hunted. This is obtainable after attending a short course covering firearms safety, hunting ethics, resource conservation, game biology, etc.
However, I can legally buy a fishing license, strap a .44 to my side, grab my rod, and head to the river among large concentrations of people and wildlife. Take a moment and think about the possibilities for conflict.
Fishing ed. training would give the recipient a basic knowledge in fish identification, equipment, fish biology, regulations, fishing with bears, fishing in crowded conditions, and ethics. The means of delivery is already in place. Hunter education courses are given regularly by ADF&G. The same can be done for fishing.
All of Alaskaís fisheries would benefit from this. There are simply too many people out there that are causing a negative experience for others. After talking to some that seemed rude while fishing, it became clear that many were nice folks that just did not know proper procedure. This requirement would not eliminate every problem, but it would be a step in the right direction.
Now, we canít jump from requiring nothing to a fishing ed. card; however, it can be slowly implemented. For example, start out with a simple, informative brochure to be given along with the fishing license. Later, phase in the education requirement for those born after a certain date if it's needed.
Alaska is the great land, so letís keep it that way.