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March 27, 2009

California sportfishing group offering free "no wear" license holders

Group aims to make a statement and repeal license wearing requirement

Beginning today, licensed anglers across California can make their voices heard and take an important step in repealing the regulation requiring they wear the fishing licenses.  In an interested twist, they can do this by actually wearing their fishing licenses.

Long-Beach, California based recreational fishing advocacy group The Sportfishing Conservancy (SportCon) has designed an innovative vinyl license holder featuring the logo of its recently launched "No Wear" campaign - a circle with a slash through it. With large black printing against the day-glow orange of California's 2009 sportfishing license, the message is hard to miss.  And in an effort to help raise awareness and spread the word about this grass-roots effort to do away with hassles and lost licenses, the non-profit organization is making these license holders available free of charge to recreational fishermen across California.

"We've convinced the California Fish and Game Commission to put the No Wear initiative on its agenda in their review of sportfishing rules scheduled for later this year," said Tom Raftican, president of SportCon. "Now, what we need most to finish the job are greater awareness among anglers statewide and word-of-mouth exposure to help us gather momentum and most importantly, show the Commission broad based support to change the regulation. These free holders are a great way for us to achieve both - they're natural conversation starters.  Stick your license in here, and it doesn't matter if you're on a party boat or walking the shoreline of your favorite lake, everybody who sees it on your shirt or around your neck is going to ask 'what's that?.'  It's ironic how we're helping people to change an out-of-step regulation that actually hinders fish and game enforcement, even as they obey it," added Raftican.

SportCon will make these quality vinyl holders available to anglers for free through a variety of ways. It will mail one to any licensed California angler who visits the organization's website (www.sportcon.org) and registers support for the "No Wear" initiative. The organization also plans to place holders in tackle shops across the state, where they will be provided for free to any fisherman who signs the "No Wear" petition. SportCon also plans to work closely with fresh and saltwater fishing clubs statewide to distribute these holders and build additional support for the program.

"We've heard from anglers up and down the state that they're tired of wearing (and losing) their licenses. After all, we're not German Shepherds," said Raftican. "By far, those who have visited our site have expressed support for the idea.  This, along with the reception we've received from the Fish and Game Commission, leads us to believe that the time is right to make this change for anglers.  We strongly believe this will be the last license holder you'll ever need," added Raftican.