Fishing licences are to go online
South Canterbury anglers will have to purchase their licences online from next year.
Central South Island Fish and Game chief executive Jay Graybill said the moves were in line with the changing times.
"Most people prefer the plastic ‘credit-card sized' licence which you get from registering online because it's waterproof and easier to carry," he said.
"Fewer and fewer people are filling out the paper form, so it makes sense to move this way."
Graybill said about two-thirds of licences were purchased online.
"It's easier all round for everyone and for rangers. It's easier to track records of licences. We think by the time the changes come into place, it should be an easy transition."
At the moment, people can purchase their fishing licence from either a local agency, Fish and Game offices, or website.
A full-year licence is valid from October 1 until the end of September the following year, but there are also winter and 24-hour licences available.
Graybill said he was aware some people might struggle registering online for a new fishing licence.
"So we will have people at our office to help them out, and I'm sure the various accredited agents can also assist when needed. The change-over is not going to happen overnight, so people have been warned," he said.
Graybill said the "digital switch-over" would take place in the middle of next year, subject to approval by the national Fish and Game council.
Timaru Herald fishing columnist Peter Shutt said the switchover looked to be inevitable.
"Nearly everything is online these days. This is no different. However, I understand there could be a small number of paper licences available for those who don't like using computers," he said.
Graybill said there had been a boom in fishing licence purchases. Over the 2012-13 season, 15,391 adult whole-season, 24-hour and family licences were purchased, a 12 per cent increase from the previous year.
Graybill said the numbers were tracking even higher for the current season.
"More people are going to the Upper Waitaki for canal fishing. It brings in a lot more family groups as well as casual anglers," he said.
- The Timaru Herald