Contact: Nick Lewis, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator
Why It Matters: The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) serve as the lead regulatory agencies for wildlife and fish in the state, respectively, working in conjunction with the sportsmen’s community to conserve wildlife species. These agencies rely on governing bodies that are responsible for establishing policy for the agency, and these same bodies currently face quorum issues. Without a quorum, key decisions affecting wildlife and fisheries management cannot be made and relevant rules and regulations will revert to previous years, jeopardizing the ability to implement any needed adaptive management decisions. Maintaining quorums on the respective boards is the best way to ensure the structure of wildlife and fisheries management in the state remains intact, and that the agencies can continue to promote and advance our nation’s time-honored sporting traditions.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined other organizations urging the Governor and the Senate Rules and Nominations Committee to act on vacancies to the boards of commissioners (Boards) to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). Filling these vacancies is necessary to ensure continuity with game and fisheries management in the Keystone State. The Boards are the governing bodies of the respective agencies, tasked with creating policies and regulations that are then enacted by the career-employees within the relevant agencies. These policies have direct impacts on sportsmen and women, most commonly through season dates and bag or creel limits.
The vacancies on the Boards for the PGC and PFBC jeopardize the ability of the Boards to conduct their business, which is vital to the interests of fish and wildlife, their habitats, sportsmen and women, and the general public. The PGC is in an unprecedented position where they may be unable to hold their next quarterly meeting because the number of vacancies will prevent a quorum. This is even more concerning when considering that the limited legislative calendar for the remainder of the year may limit consideration of nominees. If a quorum cannot be met, PGC rules and regulations could lapse and revert to previous years’ regulations.
CSF urges the Governor to appoint qualified nominees to any vacancies and urges the legislature to ensure these nominees receive prompt consideration, and will continue to work with its partners, the state agencies, and the Governor’s office to ensure the Boards can continue to meet, ensuring proper game and fisheries management.
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?