Des Moines, Iowa – RadioIowa – The director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says he’ll be forced to layoff employees and reduce services “significantly” if there’s not an increase in the fee for an Iowa fishing license. The 19-dollar annual fee hasn’t been changed since 2003. Those license fees go into the state’s Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund, which is used to run the state-run fish hatcheries and other related services, but the D-N-R’s Chuck Gipp says that budget’s becoming “a challenge.”
Gipp has met with groups that represent Iowa hunters, fishing enthusiasts and others to discuss the situation.
Gipp’s department operates seven fish “hatcheries” in Iowa that raise 150 MILLION fish each year, for stocking Iowa lakes and rivers. The Fairport Fish Hatchery on the Mississippi River near Muscatine is nearly 100 years old and “should be closed down,” according to Gipp.
Gipp made his comments on Tuesday during a budget presentation in the governor’s office. Governor Terry Branstad says he’s “neutral” on the idea of raising the fishing license fee.
Nearly 400-thousand people purchased an Iowa fishing license this past year. State officials say while there’s been a decrease in the number of hunters, the number of people who fish in Iowa has held steady.