We’re always trying to keep anglers in California up to speed on whats going on when it comes to potential bills and laws that affect the everyday angler. So we have updates on some previous bills we’ve monitored.

Federal Government

Sportfishing Industry Applauds Introduction of Bill to Help Enhance Fish Habitat Conservation

The National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act was introduced in March in both chambers of congress. This legislation will authorize a national program to conserve, restore and enhance fish habitat across the country for the benefit of recreational fishing.

“Addressing the challenges affecting fisheries habitat is critical to the future of fish populations and recreational fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association.

The foundation for the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act is the National Fish Habitat Partnership, a voluntary, non-regulatory and locally-driven program housed within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The National Fish Habitat Partnership program is currently comprised of 20 individual Fish Habitat Partnerships that focus on specific regions or habitat types. These partnerships include representatives of federal, state and local agencies, conservation and sportsmen’s organizations, private landowners and the business sector.

To date, more than 800 successful conservation projects have been carried out through these partnerships, benefitting fish habitat and anglers throughout the country.

Natural Resources Management Act Passes Through Congress

The Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47) has passed through the Senate and now through the United State House of Representatives. S. 47 presents a package of provisions allowing more access to land for sportsmen and additional habitat conservation. With the recent vote through the House, it now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

S. 47 was introduced back in January by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and was passed by the U.S. Senate with a huge bipartisan vote of 92 – 8, and most recently on a strong bipartisan vote of 363 – 62 in the U.S. House. Some of the provisions that S. 47 spell out include:

  • Authorizing the transportation of archery equipment through National Park Service (NPS) Units.
  • Permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund with 3% or $15 million – whichever is greater – of annual appropriations made available for the purpose of securing additional access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other outdoor related activities. Recent studies estimate there are nearly 10 million acres of public lands in the west that are open to sporting activities, but the general public is currently unable to access these parcels due to a number of reasons. This provision, along with other provisions in S. 47, will help address this by truly making public lands public.
  • Requiring Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands to be open for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless specifically closed.
  • Directing the NPS, BLM, USFS, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop strategies for providing access to areas where hunting, fishing, target shooting and other recreation are allowed but cannot be reasonably accessed by the public.

The passage of S. 47 marks a historic day for land and water conservation and sportsmen’s access.

President Trump Signs The Modern Fish Act Into Law

The recreational fishing and boating community is celebrating the enactment of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018 (Modern Fish Act), which was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 31st. The Modern Fish Act finally recognizes in federal law the differences between recreational and commercial fishing and adds more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.

“Millions of American families take part in saltwater recreational fishing and boating activities and support multi-billion dollar industries that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Today, we are thankful for this important milestone for federal fisheries management and marine conservation, and we look forward to continuing to improve public access to our nation’s healthy fisheries.”

The Modern Fish Act Passes Through the House!

The Modern Fish Act of 2017 was voted on and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives! It will now move on to the US Senate.

The Modern Fish Act, which has earned bi-partisan support, includes recreational fishing priorities in reauthorization of our nation’s marine fishing law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

The Modern Fish Act addresses the challenges faced by recreational anglers across the US, and would allow alternative management tools, re-examine fisheries allocations, and improve data collection. Also included in the bill would be the modernization of management approaches to fishing access and conservation, science and technology to guide decision-making.

A big thanks to those who supported and got this through the House! Now onto the Senate!

California State Government

Assembly Bill Introduced To Bring True 365-Day License To California

CCA CAL has joined an effort and has begun to gather signatures for Assembly Bill 1387 in California, which would bring a true 365-day fishing license to the Golden State. This is a move that many states have already done, but has been repeatedly defeated in California in recent years.

Currently in California, the licensing system is calendar-based. According to Rob Southwick and Asso­ciates, a national marketing and economics firm which analyses fishing license sales throughout the country, states that offer a 365-day license are outperforming revenue of states that only offer a calendar-based license.

AB 1387, sponsored by the California Sportfishing League (CSL), is co-authored by Assemblymember James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and a bipartisan group of 12 other legislators.

Key features of Assembly Bill 1387:

— Replaces California’s current calendar-based system for a fishing license that is valid a full 12 months (365 days) from the date of purchase. There will be no increase in the fee charged for the 365-day license (same as calendar license).

— Requires the CDFW to create an app where anglers can display sport fishing and hunting licenses on mobile devices. Several states offer mobile phone apps that provide anglers information on fishing locations, regulations, fish stocking schedules, campground reservations and more.

— Allows anglers to sign up for automatic license renewals.

Anglers can support AB 1387 by signing this online petition.

Legislation for a 12-month license is dead for 2018

Senate Bill 518, which would have brought a 12-month license to all anglers in the state of California, has been killed for 2018. This is the second time in 2 years that a measure introducing a modern approach to a 12-month license has failed.

State Sen. Tom Berryhill (R) of Twain Harte was the author of SB 518, and was the one who ultimately withdrew the bill from consideration, and never made it to the floor for a vote.

The California Sportfishing League had been a big supporter of SB518 until an increase in fees was introduced with the bill.

Currently, California annual sportfishing licenses are purchased by anglers based off of a calendar year, starting in January and ending in December. And fees are not adjusted based on which month an annual license had been purchased in.

There’s been a steady decline in fishing license sales in California and has one of the costliest annual license in the U.S. And despite having one of the nation’s longest coastlines and thousands of rivers and lakes, the U.S. Census reports that only 4.3% of California adults fish, which ranks last per capita among all 50 states.

New Requirements For Prop 65 Set To Be In Effect August 30th!

Starting on August 30th, businesses and retailers must comply with new requirements for warning labels for prop 65 that will take place in the entire state of California.

Three new criteria will now be required to be posted on all prop 65 warning labels:

    • There must be a BLACK exclamation point enclosed inside of a YELLOW triangle
    • The word “WARNING” must be in all capital letters with bold print
  • Each warning label must include the chemical, and must specify whether it can cause cancer, birth defects or any reproductive harm

The current requirements for Prop 65 warning labels and signage allow for general warning language, such as: “WARNING: This product may contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

Products that have been manufactured or produced prior to August 30th will not be affected by the new law, however any product that is produced after August 30th will be subject to these new label requirements. The failure to comply with Prop 65 subjects manufacturers, distributor and retailers to potential liability, including penalties of up to $2,500 per day, per violation.

Lead Fishing Tackle Ban Bill Temporarily Halted for 2018

Assembly Bill 2787, proposed by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, has been temporarily halted and reduced to an energy bill. This legislation was first introduced in February as a full ban on lead fishing tackle (50 grams or less), and has been reduced in the past months since. What would have been a full ban, turned into a study bill, which was then turned into a literature bill, and now has turned into an energy bill.

Although there is a chance that it will return to legislation in 2019, this news comes with much relief for the fishing anglers throughout California. A great number of angling, fishing and boating associations, and small businesses spread throughout the Golden State continue to fight this effort. Added to that, more than 5,000 signatures were also collected to “Stop the Fishing Tackle Ban” in a petition to aimed to fight the Bill. A big thanks to those who signed the petition and wrote letters to help diminish this bill!