PA Says No to Displaying License, But Yes to Tautog Tags - The Fisherman

PA Says No to Displaying License, But Yes to Tautog Tags

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Board of Commissioners approved the removal of a long-standing regulation that requires anglers to display their fishing license on an outer garment while fishing.  Under the amendment to Section 63.2 (PA Title 58), the outer garment display requirement will be replaced with a general possession requirement, which would require only that an angler carry the license on their person while fishing and present the license to a PFBC law enforcement officer upon request.

“With this change, we’re making things more convenient for our anglers,” said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director. “By allowing people to simply carry their license in a pocket or in their wallet, rather than pinning it to an outer garment, we hope to hear about fewer licenses being lost and the cost associated with replacing them. It also provides greater consistency with the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s hunting license display requirement, so it should prevent any further confusion among hunters and anglers.”

Fishermen are reminded that when they purchase a fishing license online through The Outdoor Shop (, an electronic version of their fishing license is issued and may be saved and reprinted at no cost in the event of loss.

The Board of Commissioners approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking containing an amendment to regulations regarding the importation of tautog into the Commonwealth. Currently, tautog (blackfish) are prohibited from being imported, sold, offered for sale, or purchased in Pennsylvania when measuring less than 15 inches. The proposed amendment adds an additional requirement that all tautog possessed for commercial purposes or sold in Pennsylvania should be properly tagged with a serial numbered metal band on the gill cover, as approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASFMC).

Pennsylvania is an important marketplace of commercial seafood including tautog and this regulation change will provide PFBC waterways conservation officers with the authority to inspect for and enforce tautog tagging regulations and advance tautog conservation along the Atlantic Coast. If adopted on final rulemaking at a future meeting, the amendment will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

In an effort to the pervasive issue of illegal harvest of undersized and unreported tautog, ASMFC established a commercial harvest tagging program for implementation in 2020. Under the tagging program, all states within the management unit will require commercially permitted harvesters to tag all commercial caught tautog at the time of harvest or prior to offloading. Tautog must be landed in the state that is identified on the tag. The selected tags are non-lethal and will be applied to fish intended for both live and fresh markets.



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