You might have received an e-mail from ADFG Sport Fish Division noting that saltwater licensing is back in place, with associated fees supporting the work of our Sport Fish Division, and freshwater guides/businesses are still required to register. This change relates to legislative action last year that SEAGO worked on with legislators and staff.
When certain programs are voted into law by the legislature, they include a date at which the program ends, called a sunset date. Typically, if the program is intended to continue, a new bill is proposed to the legislature before the sunset date, which either changes the sunset date or makes the program permanent. A couple of years ago, due to a small oversight and political complications, the guide licensing program hit its sunset date without being renewed.
The proposed legislation to restart the guide licensing program, known as House Bill 41 (HB 41), updated the licensing fees, which had been stagnant for many years and provide important support for ADFG Department of Sport Fish. HB 41 was amended as it went through legislative committees. One of these amendments removed its application to freshwater-only guides. The final version of the law reinstating the licensing program therefore only applies to saltwater guide operations.
SEAGO Executive Director Samantha Weinstein and former Executive Director Ryan Mackinster participated in advancing this legislation, and helped avoid other, problematic proposed amendments. SEAGO staff participates on your behalf through public comment opportunities, work with legislative staff, discussions with Legislators, and discussion with ADFG staff. The more you connect with SEAGO, the better we can convey your thoughts during these discussions.
Currently, we agree with ADFG Sport Fish that immediately advancing the freshwater guide licensing is not necessary for the success of the Department. We are excited that guided operations are again providing more support for the success of the Department’s research and projects.