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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pennsylvania Reduces Price of Fishing Licenses for 2015 Season

For the first time in its history, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will reduce the price of annual fishing licenses next season, a promotional move agency leaders say is intended to highlight the sport’s affordability to families and younger audiences and to persuade lapsed anglers to return.
Beginning Dec. 1, prices will be reduced by $1, or approximately 5 percent, for resident and non-resident annual licenses purchased throughout the year. Anglers who buy 3-year and 5-year licenses will see a reduction of $3 and $5, accordingly, if they buy the license during the month of December. The discounts also apply to gift vouchers for annual licenses purchased throughout the year and to gift vouchers for multi-year licenses purchased in December.
“We believe the price cut will catch the attention of many people who haven’t fished in a few years, or who have wanted to try fishing, but mistakenly have thought that prices have increased like they have for other products and activities,” PFBC Executive Director John Arway said at the agency’s quarterly business meeting held yesterday and today.
“The fact is, the price of a fishing license hasn’t increased in nearly a decade, since 2005,” he said. “Fishing has always been an affordable and fun family activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. If we can capture the attention of potential new and returning anglers, we know they’ll be surprised at how inexpensive it is to fish and how easy it is to enjoy the sport.”
The PFBC sells approximately 850,000 licenses annually, but survey research from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 national survey estimated that 1.1 million people ages 16 and older either fished in the Commonwealth in 2010 or planned to fish in the state in 2011.
“This 250,000 gap and the anglers who do not purchase a license every consecutive year represent a segment of potential customers who may better recognize the value of a license at a discounted rate,” added Board President Norm Gavlick, who represents the northeast district. “At the same time, the discount should be a pleasant gift to current anglers when they buy their license for the next season, especially the discounts for the multi-year licenses over the holiday season.”
With the discount, the price of a resident annual license will be just $21.70; non-resident annual $51.70; 3-year resident $61.70; 3-year non-resident $151.70; 5-year resident $101.70; and 5-year non-resident $251.70. Trout/salmon permits, Lake Erie permits and combo permits are not included in the price reduction.
President Gavlick said he is especially excited about the savings customers can enjoy on multi-year licenses and vouchers during the month of December.
“We will actively promote the multi-year discount during the holiday season as the perfect gift for former and would-be anglers on everyone’s shopping lists,” he said. “Individuals can purchase a gift voucher equal to the value of a three or five-year license, and the recipient may then redeem it at his or her convenience.” Vouchers may be redeemed anytime during the year.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Warm Atlantic Ocean Waters Could Increase Expansion of Invasive Tropical Species

Lionfish.  Photo credit:  Kristy Owen, NEFSC/NOAA

Scientists studying the roles of temperature and depth in structuring fish communities along the North Carolina continental shelf have found that as ocean waters warm, tropical fish species―including the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) ―could expand into new areas that cold winter temperatures formerly rendered inhospitable.

Researchers from NOAA and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington analyzed year-round bottom water temperature data associated with fish community surveys in water depths from 15 to 150 feet off the coast of North Carolina. The scientists found that the fish community in deeper areas was mainly tropical, dominated by lionfish in depths between 122 to 150 feet, suggesting temperature is a key factor in affecting the distribution of this species.

Oceanographer Jon Hare, chief of the Oceanography Branch at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and director of the Center’s Narragansett Laboratory in Rhode Island, was one of the study’s authors.

In 2000, Hare was involved in the initial research on the lionfish invasion into North Carolina waters. He worked at NOAA’s Beaufort Laboratory for 10 years, and since moving to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center has continued to follow the invasion and the possibility of lionfish spreading into the Northeast.
In their study, researchers looked at 40 native fish species found along rocky and artificial reefs off North Carolina. The findings were reported in the September 2014 issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series.
Related links:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bitterroot Valley single-fly event will raise money for national breast cancer fishing program

Cast One for Hope brings anglers together for fly fishing and fundraising
Manchester, VT—September 16, 2014 Casting for Recovery , a non-profit organization offering support and educational fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer is excited to announce the second annual Cast One for Hope event that will be held October 3 and 4 in Hamilton, MT. This year’s events will include music, a single-fly fishing event with prizes, a celebration dinner and live and silent auctions with the goal of raising more than $50,000 for Casting for Recovery programs across the country.
“Last year we had such an amazing turnout that we decided to add more elements to the event lineup this year,” says executive director Whitney Milhoan. “This event is a wonderful way for people to experience an unforgettable day of guided fly fishing while supporting a great cause. We get people out on the beautiful Bitterroot River in the fall to raise money to offer the same experience to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
This year’s events include a kickoff party with music on Friday, October 3, from 6 - 9pm at Pineview Lodge and the main action taking place on Saturday, October 4 with the single-fly fishing event and a celebration dinner and auction at the exclusive Stock Farm Club  in the evening.  
Each event participant will choose a single fly to use for the day. If that fly becomes lost or unusable, the contestant is out of the running for “longest-lasting fly,” but can still continue fishing for fun to win additional prizes. There will be multiple categories that will be awarded prizes for event participants.
Registration is open to the public and there are still spots available at $1,000 per person which includes a full-day guided drift including lunch, an exclusive celebration dinner at the Stock Farm Club, awards, and a ticket to the kickoff party on Friday night.
This year’s auction items will be open to the public for bidding on September 25, 2014 at 8:00am. You can preview the items that will be up for auction here. Items include a bonefishing trip to Black Fly Lodge, fly rods from Sage, Tycoon Tackle and Orvis, framed prints by AD Maddox and much more with all proceeds benefitting women with breast cancer.
Additionally, special guest Mariko Izumi  will be in attendance and taping the event for an episode for the World Fishing Journal  which she will host. In addition to Izumi, anglers from different companies will be competing against each other to see who comes out on top with the longest-lasting fly. Teams from Temple Fork Outfitters, Black Fly Lodge, Costa, Simms, American Fly Fishing Trade Association and Sisters on the Fly will battle it out on the water on October 4, 2014.
“World Fishing Network is proud to support Casting for Recovery and aid in their mission to provide an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer,” says World Fishing Network’s vice president of marketing Pam Stinson. “For women to be able gather in a natural setting and learn the sport of fly fishing in a caring, supportive environment – what an incredible experience.”
To learn more about the Cast One for Hope event and to register please visit: www.castoneforhope.org . For sponsorship opportunities please contact Margot Page at events@castingforrecovery.org .
Casting for Recovery® (CfR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1996 by two women -- a breast reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher.  CfR’s unique program combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. The retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR’s retreats are open to breast cancer survivors of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, and are free to participants.  

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Aiding in Fight Against Aquatic Invasive Species

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation prohibiting the launch of watercraft in New York State without taking reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The bill (A9619-B, S7851-B) advances current efforts by the State and private organizations to halt the introduction and spread of invasive aquatic species into New York’s waters.

“The natural beauty that is found in every corner of New York is second to none, and it is imperative that we do everything possible to protect that from the dangers of invasive species,” Governor Cuomo said. “We all share a responsibility to protect our natural environment, and this legislation helps ensure that all who enjoy New York’s waters will also do their part to limit the spread of different types of aquatic life that would otherwise harm the local ecosystem.”

The legislation signed by Governor Cuomo makes it the responsibility of boaters launching watercraft to use common sense when putting in and taking out their boats. Before transportation or launch, the boater should first clean, drain and dry the boat, trailer, and any other exposed equipment of visible plant and animal matter, or have taken other reasonable measures to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. This will help prevent the spread between waterbodies and introduction of invasive species in new waterbodies throughout New York.

Invasive species are a threat because they have few natural predators in their new environment and can carry harmful diseases. Ultimately, invasives can outcompete native plants and animals and change entire ecosystems. Aquatic invasive species are one of the greatest threats to the State's treasured waterways because once introduced, they are nearly impossible to eradicate and expensive to manage.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, aquatic invasive species seriously threaten economically important industries, such as tourism and fishing. Invasive species cost the U.S. economy an estimated $120 billion per year, and while the State has implemented various programs designed to control the spread of aquatic invasives, it is far more cost-effective to prevent them altogether.

Senator Tom O'Mara said, “Individual boaters are the front line of defense against the spread of invasive species, and this new initiative offers a straightforward approach asking all boaters to do our part to help protect waterways, regional tourism economies and local jobs. Taking every possible step to stop the spread of destructive invasive species before they take hold is the most cost-effective and common-sense approach to combat this severe threat to the environment and economy of the Finger Lakes and other waterways statewide."

Assemblymember Barbara Lifton said, “I am very pleased and appreciate the governor signing into law this important piece of legislation. This is a promising new day in our battle against aquatic invasive species that threaten our high-quality water resources and the recreational and economic benefits they provide,”

Stuart F. Gruskin, Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer for The Nature Conservancy in New York, said, "The Nature Conservancy commends Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation, which will reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species that harm human, economic and environmental health. Each year, invasive species cost our communities millions of dollars. By taking simple and common sense measures to clean, drain and dry our boats we can reduce the spread of these harmful species and protect our fishing, tourism and other water-dependent industries. We appreciate Governor Cuomo's commitment to prevent the spread of invasive species and applaud the bill sponsors Senator Thomas O'Mara and Assemblymember Barbara Lifton for their leadership on this issue in the Legislature."

Governor Cuomo’s signing of the bill today complements a broad approach by State agencies to combat the spread of invasive species in New York’s waters. The Department of Environmental Conversation this summer adopted regulations similar to this bill that prohibits boats from launching or leaving water access sites on Department of Environmental Conversation land without first taking these precautions. The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation this summer published proposed regulations that would place similar requirements on watercraft using State Parks. Several local municipalities and organizations in the State have already adopted local laws to address the spread of aquatic invasive species, including boat inspection and washing requirements. In 2014, the State adopted the first ever mandatory invasive species inspection programs at all boat launches on Lake George.

New York State has invested millions of dollars in response, mitigation and prevention programs to rid the environment of invasive species on water and land. In July, Governor Cuomo announced the State’s first-ever Invasive Species Awareness Week [2] to teach New Yorkers and visitors about the threat that these pests pose to our environment. More information about the State’s efforts to control and rid the environment of invasive species can be found here.