Fishing license proposal appears to be picking up steam

California Sportfishing League says the state’s recently released strategy could get AB 1387 to governor’s desk.

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently released its final Statewide R3 Implementation Strategy – and the document gave angler groups hope for the long-awaited year-round fishing license regime to become reality.

A representative from California Sportfishing League (CSL) said the R3 (Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation) strategy would open the door for state leaders to finally implement a 365-day fishing license in California.

“California anglers could not be more pleased that the Department of Fish and Wildlife has unveiled an R3 Plan that recommends a 365-day fishing license,” CSL Executive Director Marko Mlikotin said. “This achievement sends a strong signal to the California state legislature that there is a real plan to reform the state’s antiquated and costly licensing program, and this was accomplished with the hard work of many fine hunting and angler organizations. Finally, there is a real plan to make the great outdoors even more accessible to future generations of Californians.”

Anglers in California have been limited to buying a calendar-based fishing license, which expires on Dec. 31 every year (regardless of when the license was purchased).

Mlikotin, in a released statement, added the CDFW strategy, which he said recognizes California’s “costly and antiquated [fishing] license program,” would likely bolster the passage of Assembly Bill 1387 (AB 1387).

AB 1387, which was proposed by Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), advances several CDFW fishing recommendations.

“As an organization involved in developing the plan, the California Sportfishing League (CSL) is pleased with the department’s recognition that the state’s costly and antiquated license program needs to be overhauled and a 365-day fishing license with auto-renewal features is part of the solution,” an official statement released by CSL said.

CDFW, through the R3 strategy, proposed shifting the responsibility of setting license fees and structure away from state legislators to the California Fish and Game Commission.

“This move could improve license marketing and rational price setting, which will increase fishing license sales. Today, license fees are determined by the legislature and a cost-of-living formula that increases prices nearly every year without any consideration to market conditions,” CSL’s official statement on the R3 strategy said. “As a consequence, California’s sport fishing license remains among the costliest in the country with permits. Since 1986, the price of California’s resident annual fishing license has increased 216 percent, which is 41 percent greater than the rate of inflation. Today, the annual license costs 110 percent over the national average.”

Fourteen states have implemented a 365-day fishing license, according to CSL.

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