Our totally inept DEM just hit a new low. It passed a new regulation for 2012 banning felt soled waders in fresh and saltwater (listed in the new fishing regs for 2012). Here is the regulation:
1.17 It is prohibited that any person use foot gear with external felt soles in any state waters, inclusive of freshwater, tidal, or marine. This shall include any waters
shared with adjacent states in which any Rhode Island Fishing Regulations apply.
It was very quietly passed with no one knowing anything about it and no public hearing or comment. It is meant to stop the spread of invasive weeds, but in saltwater? Get real. There is no evidence of invasive weed being spread in saltwater. Without felt on your feet, there will certainly be a lot more injuries due to falls on rocky shorelines. And, what about the high cost of replacing your highly priced waders that you have recently bought. How about all the ducks and geese that move this weed around. Are we going to ban webbed feet next? Like everything else this state does, little thought went into this one.
So, where is the uproar? Oh, there is some chatter on the saltwater forums, but little noise is coming from the tackle shops and fishing clubs. This has to be changed.