SACRAMENTO – The California Senate unanimously approved a bill authored by Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, which creates a 12-month fishing license and scraps the costly and inefficient calendar-year licenses.
Fishing licenses are based on a calendar-year cycle, with no extra time or prorated rates given for purchases made later in the season. The current system is one of the primary causes of a decline in license sales, the revenue of which funds fishery and conservation programs.
SB-187 would make fishing licenses valid for 12 months from the time of the purchase. This is the third time Berryhill authored a 12-month-license bill.
"Twelve-month fishing licenses are such a simple idea that would greatly improve the quality of life for so many Californians,” Berryhill said on Thursday. “I want to thank my Senate colleagues and I look forward to working with members of the Assembly on this important issue.”
Recreational fishing contributes more than $4.6 billion annually to California's economy. It is a major source of outdoor tourism, jobs and tax revenue for state and local governments. But sales have plummeted as rates have increased.
In 1980, when licenses were a reasonable $5, California sold more than 2.2 million licenses. Today, the base price for an annual fishing license has skyrocketed to $47.01, while the number of annual licenses sold has decreased a staggering 55 percent.
California has over 2.7 million anglers, yet there is a growing concern that the unprecedented decline in California's fishing sales will threaten funding for fishery and conservation programs, as well as millions of federal dollars tied to the number of licenses sold.
SB187 enjoys a broad coalition of support that includes sport, labor, business, tourism and citizen groups.
“This bill would not only improve access to recreational fishing, it will protect California jobs dependent on outdoor tourism,” Berryhill said. “Labor unions, state and local chambers of commerce, anglers, tourism groups and everyday Californians recognize that California’s antiquated fishing licensing program has proven to be a barrier to participation.”