Hunters and anglers in Saskatchewan will have to dig deeper into their pockets starting April 1.
Ahead of next week’s provincial budget, the province announced hunting and fishing licences would be going up.
“Not trying to minimize it, but I think we need to keep this in context and costs go up,” provincial Finance Minister Kevin Doherty said Thursday.
“It is on a cost-recovery basis as to how much time it takes to process these transactions, or the different costs involved with administering these fees and charges.”
The news didn’t come as a surprise to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation. Executive director Darrell Crabbe said there has been speculation over a fee hike over the past few years, particularly when comparing fees to neighbouring provinces.
And while some may grumble when purchasing a licence this year, Crabbe said the money will do some good.
He said a portion all hunting and fishing licences goes to the province’s Fish and Wildlife Development Fund, which is “used to enhance habitats — fisheries and terrestrial habitats — and certainly do a lot of other good things as far as education goes and species monitoring and that sort of thing.”
“I guess our point would be that at least 30 per cent of the money is going to enhance those activities in Saskatchewan,” he said.
Crabbe said he doesn’t expect the increases to stop anyone from fishing or hunting.
“The fee increases aren’t so much that people would have to second guess whether or not they want to buy a licence to go fishing for a year,” he said.
“Really when you look at it, the cost of a licence is pretty minimal … compared to the other costs that you incur to go fishing, you know, hooks, bait, gas, vehicles, boats. The cost of a licence really is the least of your worries when you take on those types of outdoor activities.”
Crabbe said he hopes the extra revenue from the fees — an anticipated $2.1 million from hunting and trapping licences and $850,000 from fishing licences — will help prevent the loss of important jobs.
“We hope we don’t lose any folks in the Ministry of Environment with the upcoming budget and hopefully this is going to offset any possible loss in there because we’re already at a skeleton crew within the Ministry and certainly within the conservation officer regime,” he said.
The provincial budget comes down March 22.
All fee changes are effective April 1, 2017.