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Feature Article: Year-round Fishng License Fails

Year-round fishing license fails again

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Sep 13, 2018

SACRAMENTO — 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 (CSL) 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.


“California anglers owe Senator Tom Berryhill a great debt of gratitude,” said Mlikotin. “Senator Berryhill was among the first to recognize that the state’s costly fishing license was a significant barrier for prospective anglers, and the state’s failure to reform its license program was harming communities dependent on outdoor tourism for jobs.” Senator Tom Berrybill (R-Twain Harte) is retiring after 12 years of service in the California State Legislature.


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.


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