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Surcharge lifted on sport fish permits

A fisherman at the mouth of the Buskin River. (Photo by Lisa Hupp/USFWS)
A fisherman at the mouth of the Buskin River. (Photo by Lisa Hupp/USFWS)

By Sabine Poux–KDLL Jan 15, 2021

Alaska sport fish permit prices are slightly lower this year, after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game removed a 15-year surcharge.

Fish and Game raised the price of permits in 2005 to pay off a $68 million bond debt. The bond financed the construction of sport fish hatcheries in Fairbanks and Anchorage, as well as hatchery enhancements in Southeast.

That debt was paid off in 2020.

“So what happened was, at the end of the calendar year of 2020, the surcharge essentially expired,” said Ryan Ragan, program coordinator with the department’s division of sport fish.

It’s not much of a change for Alaska residents. Last year’s permit was $29. Now, it’s $20.

But for nonresidents, an annual permit is down to $100 from $145. A one-day permit is down to $15 from $25.

Alaska resident sport fish permits are good for one calendar year. While more residents bought sport fish permits in 2020 than in 2019, nonresident permit sales declined last year as tourism dropped off, Ragan said. That created an almost $9 million loss in revenue for the department.

Ragan said it’s hard to tell now how this upcoming season will be. You can buy a sport fish permit at most gas stations and supermarkets on the peninsula or on the Fish and Game website.