|[I have been told that this would not affect the West Coast states that already require a license. We'll see.]
NOAA Proposes Rule to Require Saltwater Angler Registration
On June 11th, NOAA Fisheries released a proposed rule on the National Saltwater Angler Registry, a requirement of the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act and an important component of the broader initiative to improve the quality of recreational fishing data.
The national registry of saltwater anglers is the key to closing a major gap in information on recreational fishing. This “phonebook” will improve the efficiency and accuracy of our surveys. It will also help NOAA demonstrate the economic value of saltwater recreational fishing on local and national economies and allow us get a more accurate picture of the level of participation by the American public in saltwater fishing.
Beginning in January 2009, recreational anglers who fish in federal waters are required to be registered each year with NOAA Fisheries Service. The proposed rule also requires registration by those who may catch anadromous species such as salmon, striped bass, and shad that spawn in rivers and streams and spend their adult lives in estuaries and the ocean. Registration will be free for the first two years.
The proposed rule outlines the process NOAA Fisheries will use for registering saltwater recreational anglers. It also addresses the qualifications and procedures for exempting states and their anglers from the federal registration requirement.
Anglers may be exempt from federal registration if they fish in a state that already has a program in place to account for all of its saltwater anglers. The proposed rule outlines possible exemptions for states that have a comprehensive saltwater fishing license or a regional angler survey program approved by NOAA Fisheries. In addition, anglers fishing from licensed for-hire vessels and anglers under the age of 16 are also exempt.
NOAA is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until August 11, 2008. A final rule based on those comments is expected in November 2008 with the requirement going into effect January 1, 2009.
Materials including the press release, fact sheet, and the proposed rule itself are available on www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov.
Commonly Asked Questions about the Proposed Rule
How will an angler registry benefit recreational fishermen?
The registry will enhance the conservation of our marine fisheries by vastly improving the quality of our data, while at the same time recognizing the important role of saltwater anglers in the decision-making process.
Will there be any exemptions from the registry requirement?
Anglers may be exempt from the Federal registration requirement if they hold a license or registration issued by a state that already has a program in place to account for all its saltwater recreational anglers (e.g. a comprehensive saltwater fishing license or regional angler survey program that gathers the data necessary for the registry).
If my state has a saltwater fishing license or regional data program, will I automatically be exempt?
No. Once the rule is finalized, each state must apply to NOAA Fisheries for an exemption.
Will anglers fishing from party or charter boats have to register?
Under the proposed rule, individuals fishing from a for-hire vessel would be exempt from the registry requirement. This fishing activity is already accounted for in current surveys of party and charter boat fishing.
Will there be any costs associated with registering?
Not initially. However, an annual fee (in the $15-25 range) may be required beginning in 2011. Any fees collected through the federal registry would not go to NOAA, but rather directly to the U.S. Treasury.
Will there be penalties for not registering?
The Magnuson-Stevens Act generally establishes fines for fishery infractions however, the proposed rule does not specify specific penalty amounts for not registering. NOAA Fisheries will work with the states to develop an appropriate penalty schedule. At the outset, we will focus on raising awareness of the requirements and the registry’s benefits to the fishing public.
National Fishing Registry—and Fee—Planned for US Anglers
Posted Jun 12, 2008
By Martha Neil
A national registry for U.S. recreational anglers was proposed yesterday by the National Marine Fisheries Service, as part of a plan to keep track of the fish that are being caught throughout the country.
The registration requirement, which would begin next year, will not immediately require individuals to pay a fee, reports the Miami Herald. "After a two-year grace period, an estimated $15 to $25 would be added to the cost of fishing legally starting in 2011."
Although cost to individuals might seem minimal, the national registration requirement could prove onerous to states. Those that don't currently license recreational anglers may need to do so, and those that do may need to change their programs, the newspaper writes. In Florida, for instance, which has an estimated 2.77 million anglers—the most of any state in the country—licenses apply to those who fish from boats, but not to those who fish from shore.
One angler, however, wonders whether the national registry requirement will be enforced, the article notes.
''I've been fishing for 35 years and nobody has once asked for a license, so do you think I'm gonna worry about some national list?'' says angler John Williams, who was fishing for small yellowtail snapper on Wednesday amidst thunderstorms at Anglins Pier in Lauderdale By the Sea. "Who's gonna believe anything a fisherman says, anyway?''
Support UPSAC! Preserve pier and shore angling in California.
Last edited by Ken Jones on Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:25 am; edited 1 time in total