Anglers and boaters will feel some pain, including fewer stocked trout, in the years ahead if the Fish and Boat Commission doesn’t get new revenue.
Photo: PA Fish and Boat Commission.
OK, anglers and boaters, here’s your chance.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission officials have been saying for a while that the agency needs money. Lawmakers haven’t increased the cost of fishing license fees since 2004.
The commission is dealing with that by so far by making cuts of a largely behind-the-scenes nature.
That’s about to change.
Commission officials are looking to trim spending in ways that anglers and boaters will really feel. That includes closing hatcheries and stocking fewer fish in the next few years.
The only way to prevent that, they’ve said, is with a shot of new revenue.
They’re outlined some ways they might get it, from raising launch permit fees to charging non-anglers and boaters to pay to use commission properties.
But they want to hear what you think.
The commission is hosting a series of “sportsmen’s forums” around the state to “solicit opinions from anglers and boaters on how the agency can best conserve aquatic resources while creating more opportunities for fishing and boating recreation.”
“Declining fishing license sales and boat registration fees coupled with increasing costs make it necessary to take a fresh look at redesigning the agency’s strategic plan,” said executive director John Arway. “The information learned will be used to help form a new agency strategic plan to meet the expectations of anglers and boaters.”
The next forum is set for Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show at the Monroeville Convention Center. It will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m.
Sportsmen should note that’s a change from the originally announced schedule.
Commission staff will give a presentation. A question and answer period will follow.
Other forums will follow in Lake Harmony on Feb. 24, Erie on March 3, Philadelphia on March 10 and Williamsport on March 17.
Anglers and boaters who can’t make one of those events can still weigh in. The commission is conducting an 11-question survey online.
Attendees at the forums can answer those same questions using a printed form.
Other features, including us!
There will be plenty of other things going on at this year’s Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show, too.
Canoe camping is a fun way to explore the outdoors.
Bob Frye/Everybody Adventures
For starters, the Everybody Adventures team and I will be there all weekend. Look for us in our booth near the main entrance if you want to talk hunting, fishing, camping, paddling, hiking, backpacking or anything else outdoors.
We’ll have some cool gear on hand. We’re the only folks selling 412 Bait Co. tackle this year, so if you like fishing for bass with spinnerbaits or soft plastics, stop on by. We’ll be the only ones selling hand-painted, custom crankbaits by Fulks Custom Cranks, too.
We’ll also have some new archery targets, camping and paddling gear and more.
And speaking of paddling, I’ll be doing a seminar on canoe camping and fishing at 11:30 on Sunday, Feb. 18, so you might want to check that out.
Otherwise at the show, the Fish and Boat Commission’s Chuck Murray will be talking about the outlook for Lake Erie’s walleye fishing and the Game Commission’s Wayne Laroche will be discussing efforts to combat chronic wasting disease. There will also be seminars and programs on bass fishing, planning a safari, dog training, wild game cooking and more.
A seminar schedule, and information on tickets, is available on the show website.