Proposal Also Will Reduce Fees
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced NY Open for Fishing and Hunting, a plan to streamline hunting and fishing licenses and reduce license fees to support tourism opportunities and benefit sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the state.
The proposal is part of the 30-day amendments to the 2013-14 Executive Budget and would reduce fees paid by hundreds of thousands of hunters, anglers and trappers while maintaining support for the state’s fish and wildlife programs. the proposal simplifies the current license structure to foster recruitment and retention of resident and non-resident hunters, anglers and trappers. The State would greatly reduce the number of licenses offered and lower many fees for both resident and nonresident holders under the proposal. The proposal also will make permanent a free marine fishing registration, which was scheduled to expire at the end of 2013.
“I know the recreational and economic value hunting and fishing bring to New York State,” Cuomo said. “The sporting community bolsters tourism across the state. According to a national survey, more than $8.1 billion of economic activity is created as a result of sporting activity in New York. Under my proposal, it will be easier for more New Yorkers and visitors from across the country to take advantage of New York’s rich sporting tradition.”
The current license process is confusing due to the number, type and potential combinations of hunting and fishing licenses. In addition, fees are presently higher in New York than in many neighboring and comparable states. The proposal would:
– Reduce by 11 the number of licenses available while maintaining all current hunting and fishing privileges and opportunities;
– Reduce the price of a hunting license by 24 percent from $29 to $22;
– Reduce the price of a fishing license by nearly 14 percent from $29 to $25;
– Make fishing licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase;
– Create a non-resident license structure which is the same as the resident license structure;
– Fold trapping privileges into the hunting license for no additional fee for certified trappers;
– Maintain Junior Trapper and Trapper Mentor opportunities;
– Reduce fees for non-resident hunting and fishing licenses to attract more out-of-state participants and;
– Retain discounted licenses for youth, seniors, military disabled and Native Americans.
Previously, a fishing license was only valid from the date of purchase through the end of the season, and anglers who bought a license in mid season did not get a full year’s worth of use. Under the new plan, anglers will get a full year of fishing no matter when they purchase the license. Also, the proposal consolidates both small-game and big-game license privileges into a single hunting license. In addition, the proposal creates a non-resident license structure which affords the same license privileges as resident licenses.
The proposal also makes the marine fishing registration permanent. It was scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2013, which would have required anglers fishing in the marine district to purchase a license for $10. Under Governor Cuomo’s bill, marine fishing will continue to be free.
New York State Department of Environment Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Hunters and anglers are the foundation of the state’s conservation community, concerned about caring for the state’s habitats, forestland and waterways. Governor Cuomo’s proposal will make it simpler for people to purchase licenses, help attract newcomers to hunt and fish in New York and ensure that the programs that the hunting and fishing communities enjoy continue to be funded.”
The proposal aims to improve New York’s position as a destination for both resident and out-of-state hunters. According to a 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Related Recreation, over 90 million U.S. residents ages 16 years and older participated in some form of wildlife-related recreation in 2011. Wildlife recreationists spent about $145 billion on their ventures.
Moreover, New York State remains near the top in hunter and angler licenses, an estimated 1.88 million anglers and 823,000 hunters, indicating a mostly stable group of participants. The same study found in 2011 New York was second in the nation in total angler spending on fishing related items and sixth in non-resident angler spending. This spending generated an estimated $108 million in state and local taxes. In 2011, New York was fourth in the nation in spending by hunters and generated an estimated $290 million in state and local taxes. New York ranks third in the nation in total number of resident hunters.
While providing relief to sportsmen and sportswomen, this proposal will ensure that the Conservation Fund remains solvent through the financial plan (State Fiscal Year 2018-19). New York will continue to provide services, programs and projects to boost hunting and fishing opportunities. The State will also be working closely with the conservation community in the coming months to identify projects to enhance hunting and fishing access and improve wildlife habitat.