Wildlife and Parks may remove its fishing license exemption for people ages 65 and over.
Currently, fishing licenses are required of Kansans age 16 through 64 and, of the 406,000 people who fished in Kansas last year, only 253,000 were licensed.
While Kansas is among the leaders in the U.S. for the fishing participation rate of its citizens, the prospect of aging baby boomers presents challenges for the future of fishing in the Sunflower State.
"The baby boomer generation has always been heavily involved in fishing," Wildlife and Parks official Doug Nygren said. "Their support of the department's fisheries management efforts, through their purchase of fishing licenses and fishing equipment, has made possible a variety of unprecedented high quality fishing opportunities in our state."
Last year, Wildlife and Parks spent about $7 million to fund fisheries management in the state. Declining participation rates, along with the prospect of baby boomers approaching the fishing license-exempt age of 65, present challenges.
The state agency is investigating a variety of strategies to secure funding for future fisheries management in Kansas, including a proposal to modify some license exemptions.
Fisheries management is funded almost entirely from license and permit purchases, as well as an excise tax paid on fishing equipment, which is distributed among the states through federal aid programs.
That federal aid distribution is based partly on the number of fishing licenses sold.