ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A new law taking effect on Jan. 1 will increase licensing fees for sport fishing, hunting and trapping in Alaska, the Department of Fish and Game announced on Thursday. Nonresidents will also pay increased tagging fees.
This is the first time in 24 years that Alaska hunting licenses have become more expensive, and the first time in 10 years that fees for fishing licenses have gone up, according to Fish and Game.
Hunting licenses for Alaskan residents will increase from $25 to $45 next year, but resident hunters will still not be required to pay tag fees for most species. Resident sportfishing licenses will increase just $5, from $24 to $29.
As for non-residents, the fee increases are slightly greater. An annual hunting license for a non-resident will cost $160 in 2017, nearly double that of this year. Click HERE to see a full list of the fee increases from Fish and Game.
Despite the increases, the Department of Fish and Game says Alaska’s licensing fees are “in line” with other states, and in many cases, both resident and non-residents have to pay significantly less for hunting and fishing licenses in Alaska.
“The nonresident tag fees that are charged doubled with this bill. But even with that doubling, they’re still in some cases less than what an out-of-state person pays in other states,” said Maria Gladziszewski with the Division of Wildlife Conservation. “Even with the increases, [the fees] are still definitely less expensive for residents and not out-of-line for non-residents.”
The fee increases come as a result of House Bill 137, which was signed into law during the previous legislative session. The bill received broad support from conservation groups, sportsmen’s organizations, and the guiding industry, Fish and Game said.
According to Gladziszewski, groups like the Territorial Sportsmen, Safari Club International, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, the Alaska Professional Hunters Association and the Alaska Outdoor Council were among those that advocated for the fee hike.
“Basically sportsmen groups realized the need and started lobbying the state legislature a couple years ago to say ‘Hey, we want to pay for this. We want to continue the partnership to pay for what we use’,” Gladziszewski said. “It was in the tradition of sportsmen paying for conservation.”
Gladziszewski says the money earned from licensing and permitting fees plays a crucial role in conservation initiatives in Alaska, as well as getting additional funding from the federal government.
“The fee increases will enable the state to leverage tens of millions of Pittman-Robertson and Dingell Johnson federal aid dollars, which provide core management and conservation funding,” Fish and Game wrote in a Thursday press release.