Fish and Wildlife Department grapples with declining revenues

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(Host) Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Wayne LaRoche says declining revenues from hunting and fishing license fees will continue to force his department to look elsewhere for money.

This year for the first time, the department received more than a million dollars from the general fund to make up for a budget shortfall. Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, LaRoche said the state needs to think about how to get people who use Vermont lands recreationally to chip in just as hunters and anglers do.

(LaRoche) “My preference is not to keep going back to the Legislature and ask them for money. We provide a lot of products and services for not just hunters and fishermen but everybody that’s interested in fish and wildlife resources. Historically the hunting and fishing segment of the population has paid the lion’s share. There’s no revenue from the wildlife viewers coming to the Fish and Wildlife Department.”

(Host) LaRoche declined to outline specific ideas on how to raise money from people who recreate in Vermont. He said it’s unclear now whether the Legislature will again need to allocate money from the general fund to meet the Fish and Wildlife Department’s budget.

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