Barbin proposes therapeutic exemptions for fishing licenses

Effort promotes organized angling outings for veterans, others in recovery

JOHNSTOWN, March 1 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, Democratic chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, today introduced legislation that would exempt veterans and others in recovery from having to purchase fishing licenses for therapeutic angling programs sponsored by established veterans and other service groups.

“My measure, House Bill 675, would ease recovery efforts for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, depression, addiction, physical and mental disabilities and other maladies,” Barbin said. “With the exemption, we can assist service organizations sponsoring what are typically one-day fishing events designed to provide therapy.”

Barbin said the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, which supports his proposal, is fielding increasing requests for fishing license exemptions for participants in therapeutic recreation programs.

“As many as 20 percent of all military veterans have injuries that might not be apparent to untrained eyes but need professional attention,” Barbin said. “A day fishing on a river, lake or stream – unfettered by requiring a fishing license for one day of recreation and therapy – can produce ample dividends for those who sacrificed so much for us.”

Barbin said the PFBC already provides fishing license exemptions for educational activities, and expanding the exemptions to therapy programs would give a boost to veterans homes and organizations such Casting for Recovery for breast cancer survivors, Project Healing Waters and Wounded Warriors Project that sponsor fishing programs for members.

“So much healing and good can come out of providing this simple, and warranted exemption,” Barbin said. “I am most appreciative of the bipartisan support House Bill 675 has garnered.”