- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court says California cannot charge non-residents more than residents for commercial fishing licenses.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday the state had failed to justify the fee differential. The court said California did not show that the higher fee was intended to address costs only non-residents create or was equivalent to what residents pay in taxes to cover the state’s commercial fishing expenses.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by non-resident anglers against California wildlife officials.

A call to a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit challenged higher fees for licenses, boat registration and Dungeness crab and herring gill net permits. Non-residents would pay $3,300 for the four permits and licenses a few years ago, about three times more than residents.

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