Assembly committee unanimously supports 365-day fishing license bill

Latest attempt to change the way California issues fishing licenses moves forward to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SACRAMENTO—The first hurdle in the dogged attempt to reform California’s fishing licensing system was cleared on April 9, as the Assembly’s Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife unanimously voted in favor of Assembly Bill 1387 (AB 1387). The bill is the latest attempt to shift California’s fishing license scheme from a calendar regime to a 365-day system.

Assembly member Jim Wood introduced AB 1387 at the start of the current legislative session.

AB 1387 now moves forward to the Appropriations Committee, which California Sportfishing League hailed as a “graveyard” for sportfishing bills. A hearing is scheduled for April 24.

California Sportfishing League, a recreational fishing lobby actively advocating for the passage of AB 1387, stated the bill has already received support from more than 60 national, state and local organizations. The lobby group has been urging anglers to contact their legislators and campaign for the passage of AB 1387.

The Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife published a legislative analysis of AB 1387 on April 5 and included a statement by Wood as to the bill’s significance.

“Sport fishing and fishing tourism is a key component of rural economies in my district and across the state. Unfortunately, California has seen a dramatic decline in fishing participation statewide,” Wood stated. “There are over 14 million more people in California today than there were in 1985. Despite this significant increase in population, there are 1 million fewer sport fishing licenses being sold today than there were in 1985.”

Wood, through his statement in the legislative analysis, added the calendar licensing system currently in place often discourages anglers from purchasing a license.

“Several surveys have been conducted in an effort to identify opportunities to improve sport fishing participation,” Wood stated. “Of the participants surveyed, seventy percent identified the current calendar year license scheme as their greatest deterrent to purchasing or renewing a fishing license.

“AB 1387 will remove barriers for recreational anglers and take important steps towards reversing the current declining trend in sport fishing license sales,” Wood’s statement continued.

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