Reported by Oil City News – Brendan LaChance
CASPER, Wyo. — A proposed new “fishing task force” would help identify over-fished stretches of river in Wyoming and recommend solutions.
The Wyoming Legislature will consider a bill during their up-coming legislative session that would create such a fishing task force.
“The task force shall study the impact of commercial and public fishing on the quality of the fisheries in Wyoming’s major river basins, including analysis of social and biological impacts of fishing,” the proposed bill states. “To accomplishing its duties under this section, the task force shall consult with federal land management agencies that regulate or permit fishing in Wyoming.”
$120,000 would be appropriated to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for the proposed 11 member task force.
The task force would study the historic use of Wyoming rivers and determine which are seeing the largest fishing traffic increases and “perceived overcrowding issues on stretches of rivers.”
Game and Fish would be authorized to work with the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments to “[c]ollaborate on a plan to create a permitting process that controls the number of commercial fishing trips on stretches of rivers that the task force identifies as warranting regulation or restriction.”
In addition to identifying areas not currently regulated, the task force would also study stretches of river where commercial fishing permitting and other rules are already in placed.
Their responsibilities would including identifying “whether access to the stretches of rivers at Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments or Wyoming Game and Fish Department access points may be regulated or permitted with regard to the number of commercial fishing parties allowed within a specified time frame” and identifying “other uses extrinsic to fishing and habitat conditions that may result in future regulation of fishing or stretches of rivers.”
The funding to Game and Fish would “only be expended to pay mileage and per diem for nonlegislative members of the task force, to pay for any consultant as approved by the governor and to pay any other costs related to the implementation of this act,” the proposed bill states.
An additional $10,000 would be appropriated to the Legislative Service Office only “for salary, mileage and per diem of legislative members appointed to the task force.”
The task force would be comprised of the following individuals:
- 5 members with professional fishing guide experience from river basins across Wyoming, none of whom shall be from the same county, appointed by the governor
- 1 member who shall be the director of the Wyoming Game and Fish department or the director’s designee;
- 1 member of the Senate appointed by the president of the Senate;
- 1 member of the House of Representatives appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives;
- 1 member from the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides appointed by the governor;
- 2 members of the licensed fishing public appointed by the governor
The bill is sponsored by the legislature’s Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife & Cultural Resources Interim Committee.
The Wyoming Legislature will begin their budget session Feb. 10.