Regulating guides

Regulating guides will help fishing industries It won’t be long before some favorable changes for fishing guides will become law in Pennsylvania.
Currently, fishing charter boat captains, primarily on Lake Erie, need to be U.S Coast Guard approved and licensed, but stream guides have no regulations.

The days of anyone deciding to be a fishing guide are coming to an end, with a new state licensing system that soon will become a reality.

As I see it, it’s good for the fishing industry, and a better way for consumer anglers to get a fair shake when hiring a guide to fish local streams and lakes.

Regulations for the administering of Charter Boat/Fishing Guide Permits were approved for publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s April 26 spring quarterly meeting.

Commercial charter boats and fishing guides eventually will have to meet uniform standards, including insurance requirements and safety certifications, in order to operate legally under a measure proposed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The state agency officials will solicit additional public input on the proposed regulations before taking a final vote. New regulations should be in place by the next year.

Among th new regulations for state-registered fishing guides will be a requirement that fishing guides and charter boat operators possess liability insurance of at least $500,000. Guides and charter boat operators would also be required to possess and maintain certifications in basic CPR and first aid.

Charter boat operators would likewise be required to obtain a Boating Safety Education Certificate in order to be permitted to operate their business. Permits would be issued on an annual basis at a cost of $100 for resident guides and operators and $400 for non-residents.

One of the issues the new state fishing guide license should address is the change in charter boat captains working out of the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie.

Over the years, more and more Pennsylvania-based charter captains taking clients out onto Lake Erie for walleye, steelhead and other fish species, have been leaving state waters to do business in Ohio waters of the Great Lake.

The City of Erie has strict laws that forbid charter businesses from launching out of Presque Isle Bay and the park boat ramps and docks.

Maybe if the new state guide licensing rules are tightened, the rules such as launch sites and fish cleaning services by guides, will be loosened.

VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Sunday, May 8, 2005
By Karl J. Power

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