- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The state Department of Fish and Game has announced that fees will increase for sport fishing, hunting and trapping licenses starting next year.

The agency’s announcement Thursday comes as the result of a bill approved by lawmakers earlier this year. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, was supported by conservation groups, sportsmen’s organizations and the guiding industry, the department said.

Officials said it’s the first time in 24 years that fees for Alaska hunting licenses will increase. Fees for fishing licenses haven’t gone up in a decade, KTUU-TV reported (https://bit.ly/2eXquOn).

Hunting licenses will cost Alaskans $45 next year, up from the current $25. Sport fishing licenses will increase from $24 to $29.

Nonresidents seeking an annual hunting license will pay $160 in 2017, nearly double the current cost.

The department said the new licensing fees will be more “in line” with other states, and in some cases, will still be significantly lower than what people in other parts of the country are paying.

“The nonresident tag fees that are charged doubled with this bill. But even with that doubling, they’re still in some cases less than what an out-of-state person pays in other states,” said Maria Gladziszewski with the state Division of Wildlife Conservation. “Even with the increases, (the fees) are still definitely less expensive for residents and not out-of-line for non-residents.”

Groups such as the Territorial Sportsmen, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, the Alaska Professional Hunters Association and the Alaska Outdoor Council were among those that advocated for the fee hike, Gladziszewski said.

“Basically sportsmen groups realized the need and started lobbying the state Legislature a couple years ago to say ‘Hey, we want to pay for this. We want to continue the partnership to pay for what we use,’” Gladziszewski said. “It was in the tradition of sportsmen paying for conservation.”

The money earned from licensing and permitting fees help support conservation initiatives in Alaska.

“The fee increases will enable the state to leverage tens of millions of Pittman-Robertson and Dingell Johnson federal aid dollars, which provide core management and conservation funding,” Fish and Game said in a Thursday press release.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, https://www.ktuu.com


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