Archive for » May 5th, 2015«

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission seeking tax revenue to cover cost – Wilkes Barre Times

This year the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission cut the cost of a fishing license by $1.

But that doesn’t mean the agency isn’t in need of more revenue.

During Tuesday’s quarterly board meeting, which was held at the Woodlands Inn in Wilkes-Barre, the board discussed three avenues to bolster its finances, although they are all in the preliminary stages.

Tim Schaeffer, director of policy and planning for the PFBC, said the agency is advocating for $1 million a year derived from a severance tax on natural gas drilling to help with enforcement costs resulting from the Marcellus Shale activities. Right now the agency receives $1 million from Act 13 to help cover the costs for gas drilling enforcement, and another $1 million is needed to help transform that enforcement from reactive to proactive.

“With pipeline construction going miles into the woods with numerous stream crossings, it’s a challenge to make sure we’re staying ahead of things,” Schaeffer said.

The agency is also seeking support from legislators to dedicate a portion of all sales tax derived from the purchase of fishing and boating-related items to the agency.

Schaeffer said $1.2 billion is generated each year in Pennsylvania in taxes from the purchase of those items, and following similar models used in other states the PFBC could get back $10 million annually.

PFBC board president Norm Gavlick, of Kingston, said the severance tax and sales tax ideas would both help the agency’s long-term sustainability.

The sales tax proposal has been discussed for years and makes sense because the PFBC manages the resource that give people a reason to purchase fishing and boating equipment.

“There is so much sales tax generated in Pennsylvania from the sale of fishing and boating items that we should get some of it back,” Gavlick said. “We’re providing the regulation, management and stocking the fish that generates a lot of those sales.”

A third measure that is also in the preliminary stages is the possibility of increasing the cost of a trout/salmon permit. Right now the permit, which is required for anyone who fishes for trout, costs $9.70 for an adult resident angler. Gavlick said the agency hasn’t determined how much of an increase is needed, but the trout stocking program that the permit funds has seen a rise in expenses over the years.

The cost of the permit hasn’t been increased since 1991, Gavlick said, and at that time it covered 57 percent of the trout program. Today, with escalating costs, that figure has dropped to 40 percent and Gavlick said over the next five years the permit will cover only 30 percent of the program.

“We’d like to see it raised enough to cover 57 percent of the cost again,” Gavlick said. “There is support in the legislature to increase the cost of the permit.”

A Senate hearing on the issue will be held May 12 in Harrisburg.

In other business:

• The board voted to add 45 stream sections to the list of wild trout streams in the state. The listing is based on the presence of reproducing wild trout populations in the sections and affords them additional protections. In Luzerne County, Coal Creek in Plymouth was added to the list.

• The PFBC will hold two Fish for Free days statewide on May 24 and July 4. Also, a Family Fishing Festival will be held at Frances Slocum State Park on June 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 pm.

Tom Venesky can be reached by email at

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Bay Bridge Boat Show resounding success


Bay Bridge Spring Boat ShowThe Bay Bridge Boat Show, an annual springtime in-water powerboat show, was graced with good weather and lots of sunshine.  Exhibitor space expanded by 13 percent and included more than 270 boats on display. Ticket sales grew by three percent over 2014–a year that saw a 25 percent increase in attendance.

As the national economy rebounds, the maritime industry is benefiting from high consumer confidence, inexpensive fuel, and low interest and

unemployment rates. 

“We are experiencing persistent growth across all categories in exhibitor space and ticket sales,” said Paul Jacobs, president and general manager of the Annapolis Boat Shows.

“I am encouraged by increased sales in smaller boats under 35 feet, especially trailerable boats. This may indicate a return of the middle income demographic to boating and boat buying, a group that has been missing over the past six years.”

 Tim Wilbricht, president and principal of Annapolis Yacht Sales was impressed with the volume and the quality of attendees and saw an increased lead count from last year.

 Adding to great prospect lists to work during the weeks and months ahead, many exhibitors like Formula, Beacon Light Marina, Arcadia Yacht Sales, Adirondack Guideboats, Bayside Jet Drive, Pocket Yachts, Annapolis Yacht Sales reported selling one or more boats at the Bay Bridge Boat Show, April 17-19, 2015. 

 Annapolis Boat Sales disclosed closing deals on a total of four boats ranging from 18 to 25 feet. 

Ocean City, Maryland exhibitor Bayside Jet Drive agreed that attendees were definitely looking to buy. They sold more jet skis (11) this year than the past four years combined. 

Mark Schulstad of Pocket Yacht in Grasonville, Maryland said that his team had the best show they have had in ten years. 

In a recent survey, 93 percent of Annapolis Boat Show attendees reported a ‘very enjoyable’ experience and 40 percent indicated that they purchased a powerboat that they initially saw at an Annapolis Boat Show.

Blackwall Hitch


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Category: Businesses, LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, NEWS

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