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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 20-375




[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 63 ]

Fishing; General Fishing Regulations

[50 Pa.B. 1526]
[Saturday, March 14, 2020]

 The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) amends Chapter 63 (relating to general fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing this final-form rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The amendments update the Commission's display requirements for fishing licenses.

A. Effective Date

 This final-form rulemaking will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

B. Contact Person

 For further information on this final-form rulemaking, contact Wayne Melnick, Esq., P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7810. This final-form rulemaking is available on the Commission's web site at

C. Statutory Authority

 The amendments to § 63.2 (relating to display of fishing license and verification of license purchase) are published under the statutory authority of section 2703(a) of the code (relating to possession and display of licenses).

D. Purpose and Background

 The specific purpose and background of the amendments are described in more detail under the summary of changes.

E. Summary of Changes

 The Commission is constantly exploring new ways to provide greater convenience for anglers and boaters. In recent years, anglers have remarked that the Commission's requirement to display fishing licenses on an outer garment is antiquated and often inconvenient, particularly when an angler is purchasing a license online on relatively short notice and does not have a license holder. Another common complaint is that due to the display requirement, anglers often lose their license after it becomes unattached somewhere along a stream or on a boat. In these situations, the angler then incurs the added cost of purchasing a duplicate license.

 Nationwide, Pennsylvania is one of only three states to still require the display of a fishing license, along with Delaware and New Jersey. In 2012, the Game Commission removed the display requirement for hunting licenses, which has generally been well received by their customers. This change added more confusion for anglers and has led to complaints fielded by waterways conservation officers and regional staff. Removing the display requirement for fishing licenses would provide greater consistency between the two agencies, as many hunters are also anglers. This final-form rulemaking would also help facilitate the eventual purchase and storage of fishing licenses on mobile applications.

 In looking at all aspects of removing the display requirement, the most obvious downside is that officers will need to do a field check on every angler since that will be the only way to verify whether or not someone has a license. This practice may lead to more complaints from anglers who get checked multiple times throughout a season; however, this final-form rulemaking would allow anglers to continue displaying their license if they prefer. Additionally, the removal of the display requirement will not change the practice of giving a resident of this Commonwealth 7 days to provide proof of a license purchase when caught without a license in their possession.

 A similar rulemaking was approved at the July 2017 Commission meeting. The proposed rulemaking was tabled shortly thereafter due to concerns from the Officeof the Attorney General that the measure also allowed the display of licenses using a mobile device, which would require an amendment to 30 Pa.C.S. § 2710 (relating to form and expiration of licenses) removing the requirement for licenses to be signed ''in ink.'' Commission staff are concurrently pursuing legislation to remove this provision so a mobile device may be used in the future. This final-form rulemaking would only remove the display requirement, not authorize display on a mobile device.

 A notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 49 Pa.B. 7413 (December 21, 2019). The Commission received one public comment opposed to the proposal.

 The Commission amends § 63.2 to read as set forth at 49 Pa.B. 7413.

F. Paperwork

 This final-form rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will not create new paperwork requirements.

G. Fiscal Impact

 This final-form rulemaking will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions.

H. Public Comments

 A notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 49 Pa.B. 7413. The Commission received one comment opposed to the proposal.


 The Commission finds that:

 (1) Public notice of intention to adopt the amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201 and 1202), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law, and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2 (relating to notice of proposed rulemaking required; and adoption of regulations).

 (2) A public comment period was provided, and one comment was received.

 (3) The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for administration and enforcement of the authorizing statutes.


 The Commission, acting under the authorizing statutes, orders that:

 (a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 63, are amended by amending § 63.2 to read as set forth at 49 Pa.B. 7413.

 (b) The Executive Director will submit this order and 49 Pa.B. 7413 to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality and form as required by law.

 (c) The Executive Director shall certify this order and 49 Pa.B. 7413 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

 (d) This order shall take effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Executive Director

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48A-295 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-375. Filed for public inspection March 13, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]

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