In a meeting yesterday in California's capitol, the state Fish and Game Commission agreed to put the "No Wear" initiative (the subject of a 1/22/09 report) on its agenda for 2009.
This campaign, conceived and championed by The Sportfishing Conservancy (SportCon) - a Long Beach, California-based recreational fishing advocacy group - is focused on repealing the long-standing regulation that requires California anglers to wear their fishing licenses on their person.
"The Commission couldn't ignore the widespread public response that we've generated in a relatively short time," said Tom Raftican, president of SportCon. The "No Wear" campaign was officially launched January 15, and people began emailing their input to the organization's website (www.sportcon.org) almost immediately. "In less than a month, we've gathered letters of support from all across the state. From San Diego to the Smith River and the Sierras to the Monterey coast, anglers have spoken out for a real world approach to carrying our fishing licenses. Not around our necks, but in our wallets or tackle boxes, where they belong," added Raftican.
Several members of the commission commented positively on the idea during today's meeting, and agreed to put "No Wear" on the agenda for a future meeting during this year's sportfishing regulation review. According to SportCon, repealing this regulation will not only make it easier for this state's one million licensed anglers to comply with the law, it will reduce the hassles and expense of lost licenses.
The thrust of this campaign has been to demonstrate grass-roots angler support through an online petition at www.sportcon.org. "Every recreational angler needs to go online and get behind this. Getting on the agenda is an important step - but it's only one first step," said April Wakeman, SportCon's director of programs. "It's very important that we continue to generate interest and support among recreational anglers, and let the powers that be know how we feel about this rule."