|S.C. scrambles for licenses as registry delayed
By Bo Petersen
Charleston Post and Courier
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The federal hook won't be set — yet.
A new requirement for recreational saltwater anglers to register with the federal government will be delayed at least a year. But an annual fee seems to be on its way.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that the registration requirement will be delayed until Jan. 1, 2010. The announcement comes as South Carolina scrambles to license pier and surf anglers, trying for a possible exemption to the registry to keep the anglers from paying the additional fee, estimated to be from $15 to $25.
NOAA to Create Saltwater Angler Registry in 2010 - a press release from NOAA.
The state already licenses other saltwater anglers; the registry would have started for others in 2009. The fee would be in addition to state license fees and start in 2011.
"The good thing is, this gives us time. There's no money to put all this in place (immediately) anyhow," said Caroline Rhodes, S.C. Natural Resources board member, who owns The Charleston Angler. But her first impression reading the announcement is that "it looks like they want to tack on an additional federal fee no matter what."
New federal saltwater license on its way? published 06/12/08
The last-second publication announcing the delay carried a few other changes to the proposed rule. Natural Resources already had draft legislation to license pier and surf anglers ready to go the General Assembly in January; that will now have to be reworked to be approved by the board at its January meeting, Natural Resources board Chairman Mike McShane said.
The annual federal registration would include an angler's name, date of birth, address, telephone number and the regions where they intend to fish. NOAA will use the information to conduct surveys on fishing effort and amounts of fish caught. Once a person has registered, they may fish anywhere in U.S. federal waters.
But the register would exempt anglers in a state that has a registry such as fishing licenses, as well as party, charter or guide boat customers and those with permits to fish highly migratory species such as swordfish.
"The (federal) goal is to get the data," Rhodes said. "We prefer licenses because a registry is keeping track of you and nobody likes that."
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