April 27, 2017

California: CSF Comments on 365-Day Fishing License Bill

On April 24, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted comments in support of California Senate Bill 187. The bill, authored by California Outdoor Sporting Caucus Co-Chair Senator Tom Berryhill, would establish a 365-day fishing license in California. Annual fishing licenses in the state currently expire on January 1 each year, irrespective of the date of purchase.

Fish and wildlife management agencies across the country – including western states such as Arizona and Utah – have successfully transitioned to 365-day fishing licenses with great success. Agencies that have made the transition have reported higher customer satisfaction and no discernable declines in revenue.

The number of fishing licenses sold in California each year has fallen dramatically over the last three decades. In 1986, when California had just 27 million residents, the state sold 1.7 million resident fishing licenses. Last year, despite an additional 12 million residents, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sold just over one million licenses – a decline of almost 40%. By transitioning to a fishing license that is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase, Senate Bill 187 would give California anglers greater value for their investment, and would encourage both increased angler participation and retention of current anglers. Senate Bill 187 was passed by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on April 25, and has now been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

Last year alone, California’s anglers contributed over $82 million to conservation efforts in the state through license sales and excise taxes collected from the sale of fishing tackle and motorboat fuel. Annually, angler expenditures generate over $2.4 billion for California’s economy and support over 35,000 jobs in the state. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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