GLOUCESTER, Mass. — Most saltwater anglers will need to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry beginning Jan. 1, 2010, unless their state has a marine fishing license or other program that supplies the NOAA Fisheries Service with an accurate count of marine anglers.
The registry is part of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), which has been initiated by the NOAA Fisheries Service to improve estimates of recreational fishing activity.
Anyone who is angling or spear fishing for anadromous species (such as striped bass or American shad) in any tidal waters or for any fish in federal waters (three to 200 miles from shore for the U.S. East Coast) will have to register.
Anglers will not need to register if they: are younger than 16; only fish on licensed charter, party or guide boats; hold a federal recreational Highly Migratory Species or subsistence fishing permit; or are fishing commercially under a commercial fishing license.
Charter/party vessels (commercial for-hire vessels who take anglers fishing or spear fishing) will only need to register federally if they do not already have another federal permit or license for their for-hire activities.
Enforcement of the new registration will fall primarily under federal jurisdiction.
To register for the federal program, beginning Jan. 1, saltwater anglers need to log on to www.countmyfish.noaa.gov and click on the angler registry link or call the toll-free registration line at (866) 674-4411.
Anglers will need to provide their names, dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers, and will receive a registration number that will allow them to begin fishing immediately. After approximately 30 days, they will receive a registration card in the mail.
NOAA will not charge a fee to register in 2010, but expects to charge about $15 to $25 in 2011. Fees collected will go into the U.S. Treasury.
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