Feb 28, 2017. The VSWFT program has been restored. Thanks to all the anglers who took the time to send emails. The public pressure worked.
Feb 27, 2017. We have over 500 individual emails sent.
January 19, 2017. Thanks to all who took the time to send emails. As of today, we have 350 individual emails sent using our web form below. There are some possible inserts into bills that may restore the VSWFT program. We should know something this week or early next.
January 10, 2017. Call to Action.
As many of you are aware, our Virginia saltwater license funds are being diverted again this year to pay for budget shortfalls. We believe this year they have gone too far by ending the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament (VSWFT) program. This means the program will cease to exist and Virginia will no longer have a fishing citation program. The Senate and House Finance Committees meet this and next week in the General Assembly in Richmond. We are asking that all anglers send each committee member an email asking to restore our funds and angler programs. The more emails and letters the better. Please fill out this form ASAP and press send. Feel free to personalize your email with your own words as appropriate. Additionally, suggest you send an additional email to your delegate to make him aware and perhaps he can help carry this issue forward. To find your delegate click this website: http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
For your information, here are the email address for both the Senate and House Finance Committes where your email is being sent: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, DelLWare@house.virginia.gov, DelBCline@house.virginia.gov, DelVWatts@house.virginia.gov, DelRSullivan@house.virginia.gov, DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov, DelBOrrock@house.virginia.gov, DelKMurphy@house.virginia.gov, DelBMarshall@house.virginia.gov, DelKKory@house.virginia.gov, DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov, DelTHugo@house.virginia.gov, DelCHead@house.virginia.gov, DelNFreitas@house.virginia.gov, DelBFowler@house.virginia.gov, DelEFiller-Corn@house.virginia.gov, DelPFarrell@house.virginia.gov, DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov, DelMCole@house.virginia.gov, DelKByron@house.virginia.gov, DelRBloxom@house.virginia.gov, DelLAird@house.virginia.gov.
December 1, 2017.
More budget cuts are expected at the state level for 2017 and VMRC is expecting to take a share of the cuts. None of this is final and decisions have not been made but there is talk (again this year) that VMRC is considering reallocating some of our fishing license funds to make up for the budget cuts in order to keep VMRC in operation. On the possible chopping block is the popular Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament (VSWFT) which is our citation program for trophy fish. Here is the relevant Virginia code concerning this fund.
Virginia Code Section 28.2-302.3.
Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund established.
There is hereby established a special, nonreverting fund in the state treasury to be known as the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, hereafter referred to as the Fund. The interest earned on the principal of the Fund also shall not revert to the general fund. The Fund shall be administered by the Commission, to be used solely for the purposes of conserving and enhancing finfish species taken by recreational anglers; enforcing the provisions of §§ 28.2-302, 28.2-302.1, and 28.2-302.6 through 28.2- 302.9 and regulations promulgated thereunder; improving recreational fishing opportunities; administrating the Virginia Saltwater Sport Fishing Tournament certificates program; obtaining necessary data and conducting research for fisheries management; and creating or restoring habitat for species taken by recreational fishermen. The Fund shall consist of moneys collected pursuant to §§ 28.2-302, 28.2-302.2, and 28.2-302.6 through 28.2-302.9.
One measure of protest being discussed by the Peninsula Saltwater Sportfishing Association (PSWSFA) is that (if our funds are taken away) we anglers do not purchase a Virginia saltwater fishing license for 2017. Instead, in order stay legal, we purchase a Potomac River Fishery Commission (PRFC) license. The associated funds would not go to VMRC and even just the fact we are considering this action could cause a stir in VMRC and the state budget office.
Potomac River Fisheries Commission and their boat license will cover a boat fishing in any Virginia Saltwater including the bay and ocean. It will cover MD bay waters but not MD ocean waters. So you couldn’t take the boat to Ocean City with a PRFC license.
We are not asking anyone to take action yet until decisions are made regarding our license money and the impacted programs. In the meantime, please take the time to answer this poll question to gauge how many would consider such an action.
Your answers are private and confidential but IP addresses are logged and records kept by the VSSA webmaster.
Please consider joining VSSA. The more anglers we have in VSSA the more effective we can in representing your issues. https://joinvssa.org/join/