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California State fails to pass on fishing licence reforms

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The California Sportfishing League has hit out at the state’s legislature for failing to accept licence reforms.

Recreational fishing is bemoaning the California State Legislature’s failure to once again pass fishing license reforms it believes would address declining participation.

California’s annual, calendar-based license expires on December 31each year, which the California Sportfishing League (CSL) argues provides few incentives for anglers to pay full price for a licence in the peak Spring and Summer months.

The latest proposed legislation, Senate Bill 518, which sought to increase the cost of the bill’s proposed 12-month licence, was withdrawn after the CSL withdrew its support.

“For two consecutive legislative sessions, the State Legislature has failed to pass meaningful fishing licence reforms that would address the declining participation rate and declining fishing licence sales revenue,” says a statement from the CSL.

“As if intended to be a poison pill, the Legislature amended the bill [518] to charge a premium for the 12-month licence that was 30% more than the cost of the current calendar-based licence.”

According to the League, annual licence sales have declined by more than 55% since 1980, and by 16% during the past eight years. The state licence is also the second most expensive in the country, it says, at over $48.

Earlier this year, the CSL released analysis conducted by Southwick & Associates that revealed the Californian licence is likely a major contributor to the state’s declining fishing participation rate and is economically unsustainable for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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