HARRISBURG, Pa. (Sept. 30) – For the first time in its history, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will reduce the price of annual fishing licenses next season, a promotional move agency leaders say is intended to highlight the sport’s affordability to families and younger audiences and to persuade lapsed anglers to return.
Beginning Dec. 1, prices will be reduced by $1, or approximately 5 percent, for resident and non-resident annual licenses purchased throughout the year. Anglers who buy 3-year and 5-year licenses will see a reduction of $3 and $5, accordingly, if they buy the license during the month of December. The discounts also apply to gift vouchers for annual licenses purchased throughout the year and to gift vouchers for multi-year licenses purchased in December.
“We believe the price cut will catch the attention of many people who haven’t fished in a few years, or who have wanted to try fishing, but mistakenly have thought that prices have increased like they have for other products and activities,” PFBC Executive Director John Arway said at the agency’s quarterly business meeting held yesterday and today.
“The fact is, the price of a fishing license hasn’t increased in nearly a decade, since 2005,” he said. “Fishing has always been an affordable and fun family activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. If we can capture the attention of potential new and returning anglers, we know they’ll be surprised at how inexpensive it is to fish and how easy it is to enjoy the sport.”
The PFBC sells approximately 850,000 licenses annually, but survey research from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 national survey estimated that 1.1 million people ages 16 and older either fished in the Commonwealth in 2010 or planned to fish in the state in 2011.
“This 250,000 gap and the anglers who do not purchase a license every consecutive year represent a segment of potential customers who may better recognize the value of a license at a discounted rate,” added Board President Norm Gavlick, who represents the northeast district. “At the same time, the discount should be a pleasant gift to current anglers when they buy their license for the next season, especially the discounts for the multi-year licenses over the holiday season.”
With the discount, the price of a resident annual license will be just $21.70; non-resident annual $51.70; 3-year resident $61.70; 3-year non-resident $151.70; 5-year resident $101.70; and 5-year non-resident $251.70. Trout/salmon permits, Lake Erie permits and combo permits are not included in the price reduction.
President Gavlick said he is especially excited about the savings customers can enjoy on multi-year licenses and vouchers during the month of December.
“We will actively promote the multi-year discount during the holiday season as the perfect gift for former and would-be anglers on everyone’s shopping lists,” he said. “Individuals can purchase a gift voucher equal to the value of a three or five-year license, and the recipient may then redeem it at his or her convenience.” Vouchers may be redeemed anytime during the year.
In other action today, Commissioners:
- Adopted a resolution reaffirming the agency’s concern for the Susquehanna River and expressing support for continued research and action until the river’s smallmouth bass fishery is restored. In January 2010, responding to unprecedented declines in smallmouth bass numbers in the Susquehanna, the PFBC unanimously passed a resolution expressing concern about the condition of the river and its smallmouth bass fishery and calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and United States Environmental Protection Agency to expand monitoring efforts to try to identify the causes of the fishery’s demise. Since January 2010, the PFBC has expended considerable staff time and resources both on its own and in partnership with other agencies and organizations in pursuit of an answer to what is plaguing the river. The PFBC has also been a leading voice in the call for a formal impairment designation of the river as part of Pennsylvania’s Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.
- Approved a grant of up to $25,500 to the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarship Fund to research and produce a history publication about the PFBC to coincide with the PFBC’s upcoming 150th anniversary in 2016.
- Authorized staff to acquire flowage easements from three property owners at Colyer Lake in Potter Township, Centre County, as part of the PFBC’s plan to rebuild the lake’s dam.
- Authorized staff to purchase for $20,000 a property easement of approximately 1,230 linear feet on both sides of Fourmile Creek in the Borough of Wesleyville, Erie County. The creek provides significant steelhead fishing opportunities in the area. The easement will include the stream corridor and will extend at least 35 feet back from the top of the bank. In addition, the Lake Erie Regions Conservancy agreed to grant the PFBC easements for parking and a footpath to provide access to Fourmile Creek.
- Finalized regulations which clarify that paddleboards are vessels and must have appropriate safety equipment on board, including a Coast Guard approved wearable life jacket for each person and a sound producing device. The change goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
- Approved a reduction in the slow, no-wake zone near the Shikellamy State Park boat launch on the south side of Packer’s Island on the Susquehanna River in Northumberland County. The no-wake zone currently extends one-third mile (1,742 feet) upstream from the state park boat launch. The change designates the no-wake zone as 250 feet downriver of the south side boat launch and upriver to 200 feet above the Route 147 Bridge, an overall reduction of about 450 feet. The change goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
- Approved a change to the stocking policy for Class A wild trout streams which would permit stocking on these waters under rare circumstances, and only after the executive director requests and receives approval from the board. Currently, stocking is prohibited on all Class A waters, which represent the best of the naturally reproducing trout fisheries.
- Preliminarily approved a plan which allows anglers to harvest trout under inland water regulations in Lake Perez in Huntingdon County, but limits them to catch and release regulations on all other species while the PFBC rebuilds the lake’s fishery. The lake, owned by Penn State University, is being refilled and the fishery reestablished after the lake’s dam was rebuilt this summer. The proposal will be open for public comment, and if the board provides final approval a subsequent meeting, the special regulations will go into effect immediately and remain in effect until June 16, 2018.
- Added eight waters to the list of wild trout streams and adjusted the section limits of two waters. The list can be found on the PFBC website.
- Added one stream section in Somerset County to the list of Class A wild trout streams. The list can be found on the PFBC website.
- Approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking to remove the Bluebreast darter, Gilt darter, Spotted darter and Tippecanoe darter from the state’s list of threatened species.
A complete copy of the meeting schedule and the full agenda for the meeting can be found on the PFBC’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.