Dedicated Funds Help Ensure Conservation
By now most people in Alaska have heard about the state’s fiscal crisis. The issue dominates headlines, with talk about low oil prices, budget cuts, new taxes, and Permanent Fund earnings. Like Goldilocks, we are now collectively in search of just the right fiscal bed, not too hard, not too soft, but just right.
In Alaska most revenue rolls into the General Fund, which is then doled out to fund all functions of state government. An exception being the dedicated revenues to the state Fish and Game fund, where license fees and federal matching dollars support the Divisions of Sport Fish and Wildlife Conservation of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). Our sport fish, hunting and trapping license and tag fees to go directly into the respective Division’s management, research, access and conservation programs. The model has been the bedrock of conservation in North America for more than a century.
Take pride in knowing that when we, our family and friends buy a resident or non-resident sport fish, hunting and or trapping license, we are a conservationist. Our license and tag fees also leverage important federal matching funds from excise taxes on purchased sportfishing, hunting and trapping gear and fuels. Last year more than $1 billion was generated from our consumer purchases which directly supports conservation efforts across America.
In a related note, one bill in the State Legislature, House Bill 137, is gradually working its way through the legislative process. HB 137 seeks to adjust sport fish, hunting and trapping license and tag fees for both residents and non-resident, which have not changed for more than 25 years. Modest adjustments have been proposed to ensure that the Sport Fish and Wildlife Conservation Divisions are funded fully through the Fish and Game Fund, to ensure the sustainability of our fish and game resources. The bill has received broad support from the anglers and hunters across Alaska. We hope it passes this session.
Have you purchased your sport fish license yet? It is now easier than ever – go online at www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store/. My pattern is to buy all three – sport fish, hunting, and trapping, even if I may not participate in each annually. And with each seasonal influx of family and friends visiting Alaska, I encourage them all to buy licenses and tags too. Get your license, be a conservationist! It is easier now than ever before.