Starting Sept. 1, the base cost of most Washington hunting and fishing licenses will increase.
In a news release, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said that this is the first general recreational license fee increase in more than a decade.
The department announced the new fees, which will replace a temporary license surcharge that expired in June, are expected to generate about $8 million annually for activities that support hunting and recreational fishing.
Recreational license and permit revenue is used to manage fisheries and hunting seasons, produce trout and steelhead for recreational fisheries, enforce regulations, monitor fish and game populations and help maintain wildlife lands.
The 2011 Legislature approved the new fees to help meet rising costs and a shortfall in revenue for managing hunting, fishing and the fish and wildlife populations that are the focus of those activities.
Not all license fees will increase, and some will decline, including those for youth, seniors and persons with disabilities. New license fee prices are available on the WDFW website.
"The new fees are critically important in maintaining fishing and hunting opportunity and make it possible for the department to fulfill its dual mission of conserving species while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation across the state," said WDFW Director Phil Anderson. "The fees reflect the cost of managing specific fisheries and hunts, and are competitive with fees charged in neighboring states. At the same time, we made an effort to encourage broad participation through youth and senior discounts."
Revenues from the license fee increase will replace the 10 percent license sale surcharge that expired in June, and will fill a projected deficit in the account that funds fishing and hunting activities. Without the license fee increase, WDFW said it would have been forced to make major cuts in hunting and fishing seasons and opportunities.
"Fishing and hunting contribute more than $1.4 billion a year to the state’s economy, benefitting local communities, small business owners and the people they employ," Anderson said. "Maintaining fishing and hunting opportunity is vital to Washington’s economy and quality of life."