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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 4, 2019 10:17 AM
From: Representative William C. Kortz, II
To: All House members
Subject: Therapeutic Fishing Activities License Exemption
Fishing has been used as a therapeutic activity by health care professionals in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments. Programs that teach fishing skills and provide experiences on the water have helped those with mental and physical disabilities, with cancer and other chronic diseases, and in recovery efforts from addiction, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Organizations that have provided fishing opportunities within treatment protocols include veterans’ groups such as the Wounded Warrior Project and health care advocates such as Casting for Recovery for breast cancer survivors and Project Healing Waters.

The Fish and Boat Commission has the authority to award free license exemptions to participants of special activities.

However, currently the Commission has no specific free exemption to give out for therapeutic activities, relying instead on educational permits, even when the activity may not be technically qualified as such. In 2018, participants in over 60 different service organizations and hundreds of unique one-day fishing events across the Commonwealth would have qualified for a therapeutic license exemption, if it had existed.

I hope you can join me in creating a specific license exemption for participants in organized therapeutic fishing activities. The Fish and Boat Commission agrees with me on the need for this legislation and on the unique value of these programs.

Introduced as HB584