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Committee votes to up cost of hunting, fishing licenses

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The cost of hunting, fishing and boating in Alabama will go up if bills that passed a House committee Wednesday become law.

The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee by unanimous voice vote decided to raise the cost of a resident fresh water fishing license in Alabama from $9.50 to $12 and the cost of a resident hunting license from $16 to $24. The cost of registering a boat would also be raised depending on the size of the boat.

The bills also raise the fees for saltwater fishing on the Alabama coast.

Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley told committee members the last time the fees were raised was in 1989. He said the additional money is needed to support conservation and wildlife management efforts and allow the state to hire additional game wardens.

The increase in fees is backed by some organizations that support hunting and fishing and wildlife management in the state, such as the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

Lawley said the extra funds will help Alabama maintain its reputation for having some of the best hunting and fishing in the country.

"Alabama is the most diverse state for outdoors activities east of the Mississippi River," Lawley said. "Alabama was designed by the Lord to be fantastic."

Rep. Spencer Collier, R-Bayou La Batre, said Alabama's fees will still be lower than the cost of a license in some other states.

Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Semmes, said he hopes the fee hike leads to the hiring of more game wardens.

The bill now goes to the full House for debate.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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