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Recreational Marine Fishing License Repeal

CFAB Correspondence

The following is a HTML version of the correspondence letter; a PDF version (43 KB) is also available to view.

Memorandum of Opposition
Foley S.6250- Sweeney A.09234 BILL

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 bills that have been introduced in the Senate and Assembly, S.6250 (Senator Foley) and A.09234 (Assembly Members Sweeney and Fields) 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.

As Legislators are well aware, the Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB) initiated a hunting, fishing and trapping license fee increase proposal that was supported by 14 different conservation groups to try to alleviate the multi-million dollar deficit in the Conservation Fund. A major component of that license fee proposal was the establishment of a marine recreational fishing license that was estimated to provide an additional $3 million dollars to the Conservation Fund which would be placed in the existing Marine Resources Account. The legislation that was enacted in the Fiscal Year 09-10 state budget included a fee for the recreational marine license that was 50% less than what was proposed by the CFAB and other sportsmen groups.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 requires all coastal states to have their marine anglers register via the federal registry or to provide contact information to the federal government for all anglers fishing in their state waters for marine and andromous fishes. The enactment of a recreational marine fishing license is the only logical and cost effective way of creating this registry and provides the greatest benefit to the anglers of New York State. Without a state marine fishing license, New York State anglers may end up paying a fee for the federal registry. The estimates for the cost of the federal registry are up to approximately 3 times as much as the current recreational marine fishing license fee. Furthermore, the fees for this federal program would go to the federal government and not to the state of New York for marine fisheries management as they should. The Conservation Fund Advisory Board also agreed that if the marine license if repealed then the NYS DECALS system should not be used for the federal registry. This system costs license buyers over $2 million dollars per year to operate. The cost of any federal registry should be the responsibility of those subject to such a registry.

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 $47 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.

To exclude the marine fishing community from this minimum license fee will end up costing New York residents and sportsmen substantially more, and is fiscally irresponsible in these difficult economic times. On behalf of the Conservation Fund Advisory Board and the sportsmen and women from upstate New York State who are concerned that the Conservation Fund would be liable for the up to $3 million for the marine program should this license be repealed. This type of expenditure from the Conservation Fund would provoke an extreme negative reaction from the upstate license buyers. Therefore, we strongly urge you to oppose S.6250/ A.09234.

For more information contact Jason Kemper, Chairman, Conservation Fund Advisory Board 518-884-4705 or jkemper@saratogacountyny.gov

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