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VOLUNTARY PERMITS

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VIDEO - Voluntary Permits Are Now Available

Four new Voluntary Permits were introduced in 2019. These optional permits provide anglers with an opportunity to provide financial support to specific programs and projects. Each is available as an annual, 3-year, 5-year or 10-year permit.

Revenue from the sales of each permit will be placed in a restricted account and will be used to support new efforts or expand existing endeavors. Voluntary Permit funds will be used to increase the impacts of existing Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) resources. This funding may also be used to match partner funds to magnify benefits.

Display of the Voluntary Permits is not required. Information about permits and how funds raised may be used detailed below.

Voluntary Habitat/Waterways Conservation Permit

Annual Permit Cost: $11.90 ($10 plus $1 issuing agent fee and $0.90 PALS transaction fee)

Voluntary PermitFor anglers and non-anglers alike, this voluntary permit is for all who utilize the waterways of Pennsylvania. From bikers to trail walkers to birders to anglers, the Voluntary Habitat/Waterways Conservation Permit benefits those who appreciate the resources of Pennsylvania.

Revenue from this permit strengthens streams, rivers, lakes and wetland habitats. This wide range of permit uses may include installing habitat structures in lakes, creating riparian buffers and improving water quality, all important characteristics to a healthy watershed. In the future, it may also allow PFBC to support efforts for fish passage or dam removal.

Voluntary Musky Permit

Annual Permit Cost: $11.90 ($10 plus $1 issuing agent fee and $0.90 PALS transaction fee)

Voluntary PermitAnglers who target the "fish of 10,000 casts" may donate to this voluntary permit. The PFBC will use the Voluntary Musky Permit funds to expand muskellunge fishing opportunities. Some funds will be used to purchase additional hatchery equipment, allowing the Commission to raise more musky fingerlings and update rearing tanks. Like the Pennsylvania's Best Fishing Waters for bass, PFBC may also establish enhanced and designated Musky Waters for anglers.

With the purchase of additional forage minnows to feed fingerlings, PFBC can also stock larger fingerlings thus leading to a greater survival rate post stocking. Shiels suggests that some funds for research may also be utilized for opportunities such as tagging, tracking or genetic studies in wild muskies.

Voluntary Bass Permit

Annual Permit Cost: $11.90 ($10 plus $1 issuing agent fee and $0.90 PALS transaction fee)

Voluntary PermitIf you enjoy a Largemouth Bass exploding on a Jitterbug lure or can appreciate watching a Smallmouth Bass tail away after a successful release, this may be the permit for you. The monetary resources raised from the Voluntary Bass Permit allow the Commission to manage bass fisheries in multiple ways. Efforts and initiatives include improvements to boat area access in key bass fishing waters, habitat improvement to increase natural bass reproduction, maintaining and improving Pennsylvania's Best Fishing Waters for bass, and financial support for PFBC hatcheries to improve bass culture methods and increase the size of bass fingerlings stocked.

Andrew L. Shiels, PFBC Deputy Director, Office of Field Operations, said, "For bass, we may use funds to study tournament fishing methods and ways to improve how they are operated and how fish are handled." Furthermore, permit monies going into bass habitat work may also benefit flowing water bass populations.

Voluntary Wild Trout & Enhanced Waters Permit

Annual Permit Cost: $26.90 ($25 plus $1 issuing agent fee and $0.90 PALS transaction fee)

Voluntary PermitFor anglers who prefer exploring Pennsylvania's remote areas and fishing for wild species, the Wild Trout & Enhanced Waters Permit will benefit wild trout. This voluntary permit will benefit wild trout fisheries, improve habitat, and maintain and enhance the existing Pennsylvania's Best Fishing Waters for wild trout.

"Wild trout projects may include instream habitat work designed to improve a population from a lower biomass class to a higher biomass class," said Shiels, as well as fund further research needs for wild trout. The PFBC has clearly stated that funds from this permit will not be used on the trout stocking programs.

The Wild Trout and Enhanced Waters permit does not meet the requirement to fish for trout or salmon in Pennsylvania waters.