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California Legislature Fails to Reform State’s Failing Fishing License Program, Again

California Sports Fishing League
For two consecutive legislative sessions, the California State Legislature has failed to pass meaningful fishing license reforms that would address California’s declining fishing participation rate, and declining fishing license sales and revenue. After the State Legislature amended Senate Bill 518 (Berryhill) to increase the cost of the bill’s proposed 12-month fishing license, the California Sportfishing League withdrew support for the bill and Senator Tom Berrybill chose not to advance the bill.

The CSL has sponsored several 12-month license bills, including Senate Bill 518 (formerly SB 187), but opposed charging more for a 12-month license. As if intended to be a poison pill, the legislature amended the bill to charge a premium for the 12-month license that was 30% more than the cost of the current calendar-based fishing license.

California’s annual calendar-based fishing license expires on December 31st of every year, providing few incentives for anglers to pay full-price for a license in the Spring and Summer months when recreational activity increases. The sales of California’s annual sport fishing licenses have declined over 55% since 1980, and 16% during the past eight years of the Brown Administration. The base price of California’s calendar-based license is the second most expensive license in the country. Once required permits are purchased, California has the distinction of being the most expensive state to fish in the country.

Earlier this year CSL released independent analysis conducted by Southwick & Associates that revealed that California’s costly fishing license is likely a major contributor to the state’s declining fishing participation rate and is economically unsustainable for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Senate Bill 518 was supported by a strong coalition group of industries and organizations representing sportfishing, boaters, marina operators, small business, retailers, tourism and hospitality.

The California Sportfishing League is not giving up! Next year, California will have a new Governor. Perhaps, under different leadership, the prospect of reform is more likely.
Recent Articles:
9.5.18-FishRap News: Fishing license reform fails again

8.31.18-Press Release: California Legislature Fails to Reform State’s Failing Fishing License Program, Again

8.20.18 -CSL Letter: SB 518 Oppose, unless amended
7.13.18 – FishRap News: Study- Annual fishing license system could boost revenues

7.5.18-Western Outdoor News: CA fishing License Sales Still Plummeting

6.21.18 – Appeal Democrat: Our View: Casting our Support For Gallagher’s Bill to Change Fishing Licenses

6.21.18-Press Release: Independent Analysis Makes Case for Fishing License Reform

6.21.18 Study: "Considerations Regarding 365-Day Fishing Licenses," by Southwick & Associates

6.19.18- The Appeal Democrat:Fishing pastime in decline

October 17-18: Fish and Game Commission Meeting at Radisson Fresno Conference Center, 1055 Van Ness Avenue.

December 12-13: Fish and Game Commission Meeting at QLN Conference Center 1938 Avenida del Oro, Oceanside.