A fisher at Polley Lake, B.C. (Photo credit: Mount Polley)

A fisher at Polley Lake, B.C. (Photo credit: Mount Polley)

Go fish: How BC’s senior anglers can support freshwater fishing

While seniors can get a discount on their licence fee, paying full price helps support the sport

B.C. seniors aged 65 and older who want to purchase a fishing licence can take advantage of a $5 senior rate, but many are choosing to pay the full provincial resident fee of $36 in order to support freshwater fishing in the province.

The option of paying for a regular rate licence gives senior freshwater fishers the opportunity to support stocking and conservation efforts in the province, while still offering licences at a reduced cost to ensure fees are not a barrier to access for senior anglers.

“While many seniors really appreciate the discounted licence, ensuring freshwater fishing is an affordable pastime, many others have expressed that they are keen to financially support the work that we do to enhance freshwater fishing throughout the province,” says Andrew Wilson, president of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

“Many seniors, especially those who have recently turned 65, still wish to pay the resident fee as a means of supporting recreational fishing in the province.”

One hundred percent of the revenue generated from fishing licences is distributed to two non-profit organizations to directly benefit recreational fisheries. Approximately $29 of a BC Resident Annual Licence goes to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC to fund research, conservation, education, and the provincial recreational stocking program. The society also invests in infrastructure improvements to improve access for anglers of all ages and abilities.

The remaining $7 from each resident annual licence goes to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, which funnels the money into grants for fish conservation projects.

Freshwater fishing saw a dramatic increase in popularity in B.C. last year, with resident angler licence sales up 18 per cent over the year before as people sought an outdoor activity that they could do close to home while observing physical distancing.

While sales decreased slightly for those 65 and older, they still accounted for 19 per cent of all licence sales. The largest jump in licence sales in 2020 came from those aged 35 and younger.

Participation in angling is expected to remain high in 2021. Based on licence purchasing history, more than 55,000 senior resident anglers are expected to purchase an annual licence next season.

“While individually it’s a small contribution, collectively seniors represent a meaningful level of support. Ultimately, anglers are choosing to support world class fishing they can enjoy right in their own backyard,” says Wilson.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC was created in 2003 as a private, not-for-profit organization, funded mainly through freshwater fishing licence revenues. In partnership with the Province of B.C., the society annually stocks six million trout, char, and kokanee in 800 B.C. lakes. It also manages special hatchery programs for endangered species, conducts fisheries research, education, and conservation programs, and works to make angling more accessible for all. To find out more, visit www.gofishbc.com.


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