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AJOC: New version of licensing bill for fishing guides on tap

Jan 12, 2012 - 02:36 PM AKST

A revised version of a bill to create a new board for licensing sport fishing guides and outfitters is set to come back to the Senate Resources Committee.

Senate Bill 24 was introduced in 2011 by Sen. Lesil McGuire of Anchorage and has undergone numerous changes in response to public input over the last year.

SB 24 would create a new Sport Fishing Guide Services Board with nine members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature, and would require all guides, assistant guides and transporters to pass an exam every two years to receive their licenses to operate.

Outfitters, who are prohibited from accompanying clients during sport fishing activities under the bill unless they also have a guide license, are not required to take an exam to receive a license under the revised version.

An estimated 5,000 guides, outfitters and transporters operating in Alaska would be affected.

The board’s nine members will be five sport fishing guides from both freshwater and saltwater sectors, one licensed transporter, a member of the Board of Fisheries, and two members of the public who are not licensed guides but are familiar with the industry, concerns of landowners and access issues.

The legislative path forward will include another hearing on the revised version before the Resources Committee, which McGuire co-chairs, and from there it would go to Senate Finance to determine the cost of the new board and the level of license fees.

Currently, license fees are $100 for an operator and $50 for a guide, and....