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Recreational Marine Fishing License Repeal

CFAB Correspondence

Below is the web version of this correspondence letter; a PDF version, 63 kb is also available to view.

Cover Letter

March 18, 2011

RE: Marine Fishing License

Dear Senator _______:

The Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB), which has a statutory obligation to oversee the expenditures of Conservation Fund revenues for the care, management, protection and enlargement of the fish and game resources of the State, is strongly opposed to any legislation that would repeal the recreational marine fishing license. The CFAB has discussed this issue numerous times over the past two years and continues to request that the financial implications of repealing this license be discussed in the open. Unfortunately, S.3638 has been introduced and passed by the Senate Encon Committee without the consultation of the CFAB and the marine license repeal is included in Senate Budget Bill S.2810 Part FF.

The members of the CFAB would like to remind you that the hunting, fishing and trapping community in New York State is the only interest group that funds the management of the resources that are important to them. Hunting, fishing and trapping license sales generate approximately $50 million dollars per year and leverage millions more in federal aid as a direct result of the license sale revenue. In addition, hunting, fishing and trapping generates an estimated $3.5 billion to the state economy on a yearly basis, supporting thousands of jobs across New York.

The CFAB respectfully requests that the financial implications of the repeal of the marine license be fully evaluated openly and in public. Just as the enactment of the marine license required a public debate, fairness requires that any discussion of repeal should allow for the same degree of public scrutiny. If the marine license is repealed additional General Fund dollars (currently at least $8 million per year) will be required to be appropriated and allocated to NYSDEC to manage the marine fishery each and every year. To exclude the marine fishing community from this minimal $10.00 license fee will end up costing the other New York residents and the over one million sportsmen in NYS that actually purchase a freshwater fishing, hunting or trapping license, approximately $80 million over the next ten years at current expenditure levels.

Please do what you can to prevent this. Those sportsmen and sportswomen who utilize the resources of the Marine district should not expect the other New Yorkers to provide them with a "free ride." All we are asking is that they continue pay for what they utilize.

Sincerely,
Jason Kemper
Chairman, Conservation Fund Advisory Board

Memorandum of Opposition
S. 3638 and S. 2810 Part FF

The Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB), which oversees the expenditures of Conservation Fund revenues for the care, management, protection and enlargement of the fish and game resources of the State, strongly opposes Senate bill S.3638 and the Senate Budget Bill 2810 Part FF that would repeal the recreational marine fishing license and replace it with a saltwater recreational fishing registry that is free of charge to New York Anglers. CFAB strongly opposes any efforts to revoke the recreational marine fishing license. Unfortunately, the financial implications of these bills and the impact to the rest of the sportsmen of NYS have not been properly evaluated. In addition, there is a large amount of false information being distributed on recreational marine fishing license sales and where these funds are spent. A major reason for the implementation of the recreational marine license was to have those who benefit from the resource pay for its maintenance and upkeep instead of having all the other New Yorkers unfairly paying for a resource they don't utilize. This license was enacted at the same time the other sportsmen of NYS also faced a significant license fee increase. CFAB would like to take this opportunity to provide some factual information on the recreational marine fishing license and the financial implications if it is repealed.

License Sales

During State Fiscal Year 2009-2010, 5,420 lifetime licenses that include recreational marine fishing privileges were sold generating revenues of $.9 million. Concurrently, 72,600 annual and short term licenses (1- and 7-day, non-resident and resident) were sold generating revenues of $727,000. During the 2010-2011 state fiscal year, 4,304 lifetime licenses that include recreational marine fishing privileges were sold for a revenue of $.7 million, and 174,200 annual and short term licenses have been sold so far this state fiscal year for a revenue of $1.7 million. All revenues from the sale of the recreational marine fishing license are deposited into the Marine Account (a sub account in the Conservation Fund), these monies are used strictly for managing the marine fishery.
Fiscal Implication = Approx. $2.4 million annually

Loss of Federal Aid

For every paid licensee, the NYSDEC receives federal funds via the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration program. For a license to qualify for the federal funds, a net revenue of $1 must be realized by the state. If a free registry is enacted, as proposed, then NYS will forgo these federal sportfish restoration funds.
Fiscal Implication = 195K licensees (approx.) x $7.00 (approx.) per license = $1.365 million annually

DECALS as the "Free Registry"

Currently, all sporting licenses in NYS are handled through the NYSDEC DECALS system. The costs for this system are paid for entirely out of the Conservation Fund Traditional Account. Current operation and maintenance expenses associated with this system total more than $3 Million dollars per year. If the marine license is repealed, as proposed, the rest of the sportsmen that purchase a license will be subsidizing the marine anglers to fish for free.
Fiscal Implication = 195K (approx.) licenses x $2.14 per transaction = $417,00 annually

Staff on the Marine Account

There are 40 staff on the Marine Account (a sub account of the Conservation Fund) in NYSDEC. These personnel work entirely on issues related to the management of New York's marine resources. As part of the legislation proposed in the Senate, there is no indication of a large infusion of general fund dollars on an ongoing annual basis to fund the marine program if the marine license is repealed. If there are no additional General Fund dollars over the amounts currently appropriated and allocated then the staff currently funded out of the Marine Account will most likely need to be funded out of the Conservation Fund Traditional Account. This is totally unacceptable to the rest of the sportsmen of NYS.
Fiscal Implication = $3.8 M Annually

As you can see from the numbers outlined above the financial implications of this bill is over $8M per year in lost revenue. As part of the legislation proposed by the Senate there is no mention of funding if the marine license is indeed repealed. If this legislation is allowed to move forward, it will provoke an extreme negative reaction from the other 1.1 million sportsmen in NYS that currently purchase a license to enjoy their hunting, fishing, and trapping activities. The persons utilizing the marine District should not expect the other citizens or sportsmen of New York to pay their way.

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