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January 23, 2009

California group launches "no wear" fishing license initiative

Think wearing your license is a pain in the neck? Here's your chance to be heard

The Sportfishing Conservancy (SportCon), a Long Beach, California-based recreational fishing advocacy group headed by former United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) President Tom Raftican, recently launched an initiative to help remove state fishing licenses from anglers hats, shirts and necks.    This program - called the "No-Wear" Campaign - seeks to gather signatures to repeal the regulation requiring all anglers 16 or older to wear their license on their person while fishing in fresh or salt water.

"The more signatures and responses we can get, the more impact we can have in placing this issue on the Fish and Game Commission's agenda," said Raftican.   "We believe the Commission will vote on the issue and repeal the wearing of fishing licenses if we can generate support for it."

Since this rule's inception more than a decade ago, anglers have complained about having to display their licenses above their waists.   They are usually placed in plastic holders, then attached to shirts, clipped to hats (where they often blow off) or hung around the angler's neck.   "I've even had an angler tell me that fishermen and dogs are the only two that need to wear a license around their neck," Raftican added.   

Supporters of this initiative believe it will not hurt enforcement, and may actually increase compliance because anglers will expect to have their licenses examined by wardens.   At the same time, it will likely reduce the number of lost licenses or ruined fishing trips when licenses are left clipped to a garment hanging in the closet.

The "No-Wear" program will be promoted through outreach to California fishing clubs and organizations, as well as active public relations and advertising programs.   Those who wish to join the effort can visit www.sportcon.org.