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Californian fishing licence sales set to rise after long-running dispute ends


Years of campaigning for a 365-day fishing licence in California have finally been rewarded.

State Governor Gavin Newsom has signed the bill that will change the current calendar-based licence to one that is valid for a year from the date of purchase. Nine previous attempts to pass the bill have failed. But persistence has paid off with the new licence coming into effect on or before January 1st, 2023.

In the past, a licence ceased to be valid on December 31st regardless of when it was purchased, a situation that, according to critics, has heavily contributed to a dramatic decline in licence sales over the past 30 years.

“This is something that the entire fishing industry has been asking for for a long time,” said the Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA), the bill’s sponsor, in a release about the new legislation.

The bill also includes a mobile application providing the option to display the licence electronically and for automatic-renewal.

“It’s time we abandoned the antiquated fishing licence sales system,” said Assembly member Jim Wood, who first introduced Bill 817. “Modernising the licence will encourage more Californians to fish and will increase licence revenues that fund critical state fishing and conservation programmes.”

Wayne Kotow, Executive Director for the CCA Cal., said: “Californian anglers have been asking to get the full value from their fishing licences forever.”

Before a spike in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, annual licence sales in California had declined by 55% since 1980, despite the state’s population increasing by more than 60% in the same period. California’s sportfishing licence remains among the costliest in the country and 110% over the national average.

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