PANAMA CITY BEACH – If you are heading to PCB in August and plan to fish take note…
Florida shoreline anglers and those fishing from structures attached to a shoreline, such as bridges, docks and piers, will have to pay $9 for the new license by Aug. 1. This includes a $7.50 fee plus handling and administration charges.
State Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said the move was needed to fend off a separate federal license that would have added up to $25 to current saltwater fishing fees.
Patronis, R-Panama City, said removing the current exemption for shoreline fishing and instituting a new state license requirement was nothing more than “a revenue grab by the FWC.”
“They were taking advantage of the current budget crisis,” Patronis said. “We had a real battle” just protecting cane pole fishing and poorer anglers from the new fee, which was approved during the 2009 legislative session.
Under the new rules, a shoreline license will not be required if an angler purchases a regular $17 recreational saltwater license, which includes shoreline, boating and pier fishing, Cabbage said. The new shoreline license does not impact non-Florida residents, who already pay an out-of-state fishing fee.
“We are really hoping anglers will get into the spirit of this thing,” Cabbage said, noting that he was hopeful fishermen would see the new fee as a way of contributing to the protection of Florida’s natural resources. Cabbage said the FWC estimates the new license will bring in about $900,000 per year, money earmarked for research, resource management and law enforcement, good news for boat captain Brian Beighey, of Panama City Beach.
The new shoreline license went on sale July 15 and includes the regular exemptions, such as seniors, children, the disabled, military personnel home on leave and fishing from a licensed pier, such as the new 1,500-foot Russell-Fields Pier on Front Beach Road.
Panama City Beach public works director Paul Casto said the city already paid the necessary fees allowing anglers to fish from the new city pier.
The city does charge a $6 daily fishing fee for pier anglers, but that money goes for general maintenance and upkeep and to create a contingency fund for pier repair, Casto said.
Others exempted from the new shoreline license include fishermen using gear that does not employ mechanical retrieval, such as an old-fashioned cane pole, and those on food stamps, temporary cash assistance or Medicaid, new exemptions Patronis said he worked hard to include.
Hope you catch a big one!