HARRISBURG, Pa. – At its quarterly business meeting held today, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Board of Commissioners deferred its decision from last fall to reduce spending by $2 million beginning in July 2018, based on a commitment by key members of the General Assembly to work towards providing additional revenue in the new legislative session.
“I want to thank the chairmen of the House and Senate Game and Fisheries Committees for their commitment to seek additional funding for the PFBC in 2019. This commitment, coupled with new internal revenue sources identified by our staff, provides the Board with the necessary security to defer its’ prior decision from last fall,” said Board President Eric Hussar. “The closure of hatcheries and potential reductions in trout and other stockings that were slated to begin this month have been deferred and will be revisited at our spring meeting.”
“The price of a general fishing license was last increased in 2005, while license sales continue to decline and expenses continue to grow,” added PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “I am pleased that the General Assembly acknowledges the Commission’s need for additional revenue to keep our Commonwealth waters protected and managed. The Commission receives no general funds for operations and management of programs which are all funded by our customers— PA anglers and boaters who annually spend billions of dollars fueling Pennsylvania’s economy. This decision will allow the PFBC to move forward in the new fiscal year and provide our customers the level of goods and services they have come to expect.”
“We certainly understand the fiscal challenges the Fish and Boat Commission faces, both at present and moving into the future,” said Representatives Keith Gillespie (R-York) and Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria/Somerset). “We look forward to working with the Commission early next session to promote legislation that would provide additional funding to help meet those challenges. We appreciate and commend the Commission for taking this action to keep hatcheries open and maintain the current levels of fish production and stocking our anglers expect.”
“We have long believed that we must address the fiscal security of our wildlife management agencies and continue to support Senate Bill 30 to achieve those goals,” added Senators Pat Stefano (R-Fayette/Somerset/Westmoreland) and Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland). “After the Senate passed this bill by wide, bipartisan majorities in the last two sessions, we worked with our colleagues in the House to try and make this legislation a reality. We look forward to once again working with our fellow chairmen in the House to secure our wildlife agencies’ financial future in the next legislative session.”