PFBC Commissioner Addresses FTTU
Inside the Outdoors, November 14
, 2014

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioner’s Glenn “Lenny” Lichvar addressed Forbe’s Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited’s Youth Group’s Steelhead Class, their parents and members at a packed conference room of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association conference room last week. What he brought to the table were two subjects, the lowering of fishing licenses fees for 2015 and the elimination of trout stockings to designated A trout stream waters.

“We want to generate more interest in fishing. That is why we lowered the license fees,” stated the volunteer for the PFBC. He went on to say, “And it’s working. We are up 3.62 percent of sales already and we look for sales to gradually going up and surge in 2015. That will help jumpstart sales for the new year!” he said.

It was back in September when the PFBC, for the first time in history, made the decision for this reduction in pricing. Its reason, they called it “a promotional move intended to highlight the sports affordability to families and younger audiences and to persuade lapsed anglers to return.”

It went on to state, “Beginning Dec. 1, prices will be reduced by $1, or approximately 5 percent, for resident and non-resident annual licenses purchases throughout the year. Anglers who buy 3-year and 5-year licenses will see a reduction of $3 and $5, accordingly, if the licenses are bought during the month of December. The discounts also apply to gift vouchers for annual licenses purchased throughout the year and to gift vouchers for multi-year licenses purchased in December.”

“Statistics prove most anglers don’t buy fishing licenses regularly,” stated the appointed government official. “They will skip two to three years and then buy another.”

Lichvar stated, “It may of interest to note that we (the PFBC) cannot increase license fees. That has to be passed by the legislature and then approved by the governor. It’s different, however, when it comes to decreasing costs.”

A member of the Board of Directors for the Southwest Region located in Somerset, the local representative pointed out, “Right now the trout stamp costs $8. The money raised through the sales of these permits doesn’t come close to pay what it costs to raise money for the fish that are raised for stocking.”

“The cost of food to raise these fish” he said, “is skyrocketing, already at a $310,000 increase! No way can that be covered by the amount we are selling these stamps for.” “Only if the cost of these stamps went up to $28 to $29 would there be a sustainability to pay for food, but then no one would pay that amount,” the District 4 Commissioner said.

I asked Lichvar a question that has been a long-time mystery to others including myself. I stated. “When I had a bait and tackle store in Latrobe,” I began, “I used to sell fishing licenses. I would often refer to the Pennsylvania Fishing Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws booklet that I handed out when licenses were purchased. In it, there was a phrase that stated, ‘One must purchase a trout stamp until May 31 if he wishes to fish in trout-approved waters. After that one does not need to buy one.’ Is that still the case, or has the PFBC changed its policy?” I asked.

“I believe one who fishes in any trout-approved water should buy a trout stamp for the whole year.” All members concurred.

By lowering the license fees, it is hoped that more money will be generated additionally for pension funds, the outdoor writer stated.

“Somehow, we have to generate income to cover $7-9 million on pension funds,” Lichvar went on to state, “We need economic boosts. That may mean realistically, even the boating industries will have to kick in.”

What he also brought to the table was the subject of the recommendation by the PFBC Board of Commissioners to eliminate the stocking of hatchery trout in a number of streams that have been confirmed to contain Class A wild trout populations.

According to the PFBC, “Class A populations are deemed sufficient to create a viable recreational fishery and are a natural resource conservation success story. However, these stream segments have been historically supplemented with hatchery trout in the past.”

In commenting about one of these segments, Lichvar stated, “People really have no idea how many fish are in Yellow Creek in Bedford County, for example. There are really a lot of fish in there.”

In conclusion, he said, “TU members (including the male and female young adult students) have to get the facts out there so the public understands our situation. It is most important that everyone becomes very proactive concerning the reality of the whole picture.”


- Paul J. Volkmann
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