FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[58 PA. CODE CH. 63]
Fishing; General Fishing Regulations
[52 Pa.B. 3984]
[Saturday, July 16, 2022]
The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend Chapter 63 (relating to general fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing this proposed rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The proposed amendment updates the Commission's regulations pertaining to the fees of fishing licenses, permits and boat registrations.
A. Effective Date
This proposed rulemaking, if approved on final-form rulemaking, will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
B. Contact Person
For further information on this proposed rulemaking, contact Wayne Melnick, Esq., P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7810. This proposed rulemaking is available on the Commission's web site at www.fishandboat.com.
C. Statutory Authority
The proposed addition of § 63.57 (relating to license, permit and issuing agent fees) is published under the statutory authority of section 322.1 of the code (relating to power to set fees).
D. Purpose and Background
The specific purpose and background of the proposed addition is described in more detail under the summary of proposal.
E. Summary of Proposal
This Commonwealth's fishing and boating programs are paid for by anglers and boaters through the User Pays, User Benefits Model, primarily from the sale of fishing licenses, permits and boat registrations. Fee levels for these items have not changed since 2005.
The Commission has two legislatively-authorized Special Funds, the Fish Fund and the Boat Fund. These Funds receive money mainly from fishing license and permit fees, boat registration fees, fines and penalties, tax refunds of motorboat fuel and Federal funds.
By far, the largest source of revenue for the Fish Fund is from fishing license and permit fees. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, these fees accounted for more than 67% of Fish Fund revenues.
Over a 16-year period (2005 to 2021), fishing license and permit fee revenues have remained relatively flat at about $25 million per year on average. While the revenue derived from license and permit fees paid by anglers has remained stagnant, costs have not. Annual Fish Fund expenditures have increased from $34.5 million in FY 2005 to $41.6 million in FY 2020.
The Commission regularly monitors the status and fiscal health of the Fish Fund to ensure that adequate funds are available to maintain and support programs designed to meet the expectations of anglers and other users of aquatic resources in this Commonwealth.
An adjustment to the fees for fishing licenses and permits is needed to cope with inflationary pressures, maintain and improve existing programs and address and meet anglers and boaters' desires for:
• Strategic and timely fisheries management to protect, conserve and enhance the aquatic resources of this Commonwealth.
• Critical infrastructure improvements and maintenance efforts for State fish hatcheries, hazardous dams, boat launch access areas and ramps, and other Commission-owned facilities to improve and maintain fishing opportunities.
• Aquatic resource field and classroom education and angler information programs.
• Conservation law enforcement.
If new revenues are not in place for the 2022 license year, the Commission will not be able to maintain adequate levels of services to anglers in this Commonwealth, let alone respond to angler desires for expanded efforts in many program areas.
Without additional or new revenues in the Fish Fund, and as forecasted expenditures begin to further outpace existing revenues, the Commission may need to reduce program benefits to anglers.
To maintain adequate funding to sustain these important programs and invest in the future, the Commission is seeking a modest fee increase for all fishing license and permit categories as shown in the following table:
Fee License Category Current Change Proposed Resident Annual $21 $2.50 $23.50 Nonresident Annual $51 $4 $55 Senior Resident Annual $10 $1.25 $11.25 Senior Resident Lifetime $50 $25 $75 3-Day Tourist $25 $2.50 $27.50 7-Day Tourist $33 $2 $35 1-Day Resident $10 $1.25 $11.25 1-Day Tourist $25 $2.50 $27.50 Trout Permit $8 $2.50 $10.50 Combination Trout/
Lake Erie Permit
$14 $2.50 $16.50
The Commission proposes that § 63.57 be added to read as set forth in Annex A.
This proposed rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will not create new paperwork requirements.
G. Fiscal Impact
This proposed rulemaking will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. This proposed rulemaking will increase fees for license and permit buyers as outlined in the summary of proposal.
H. Public Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about this proposed rulemaking to the Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, within 30 days after publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.
Comments also may be submitted electronically by completing the form at www.fishandboat.com/reg comments. If an acknowledgment of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt. Electronic comments submitted in any other manner will not be accepted.
TIMOTHY D. SCHAEFFER,
Fiscal Note: 48A-334. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 63. GENERAL FISHING REGULATIONS
(Editor's Note: The following section is proposed to be added and is printed in regular type to enhance readability.)
§ 63.57. License, permit and issuing agent fees.
(a) License fees. The following fees apply to fishing licenses issued under this chapter and shall be paid into the Fish Fund:
(1) Resident Annual Fishing License, $23.50.
(2) Senior Resident Annual Fishing License, $11.25.
(3) Senior Resident Lifetime Fishing License, $75.
(4) Nonresident Annual Fishing License, $55.
(5) 7-Day Tourist Fishing License, $35.
(6) 3-Day Tourist Fishing License, $27.50.
(7) 1-Day Resident Fishing License, $11.25.
(8) 1-Day Tourist Fishing License, $27.50.
(b) Permit fees. The following fees apply to permits issued under this chapter and shall be paid into the Fish Fund:
(1) Trout permits, $10.50.
(2) Combination trout permit and Lake Erie permit, $16.50.
(c) Effective date. The fees imposed under subsections (a) and (b) are effective beginning ______ (Editor's Note: The blank refers to the effective date of this rulemaking, when published as a final-form rulemaking.).
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-1045. Filed for public inspection July 15, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]
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