The California Assembly’s Appropriations Committee voted unanimously this week to support fishing licenses that expire 12 months after the date of purchase, a change that will provide greater value to anglers. Currently, licenses expire on Dec. 31, regardless of when they are purchased. With the support of NMMA, the California Sportfishing League, American Sportfishing Association, and 20 additional organizations, the new fee structure would be a step toward reversing the precipitous decline in fishing participation in the state.
California has the lowest fishing participation in the country per capita, and its license is the second most expensive in the country. Fishing license sales have increased nationally by 4.3 percent since 2009, yet sales in California have declined 55 percent over that same period. The continual decline in license sales occurred despite a nearly 60 percent population growth in California since 1980, one of the longest coastlines in the country, and thousands upon thousands of freshwater lakes, rivers and streams.
The legislation must pass several additional hurdles before it reaches newly-elected Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, but this week’s vote is a welcome sign of strong support in one of the legislature’s most powerful and influential committees.