The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has promulgated a rule, required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), that would establish the National Saltwater Angler Registry (to see the final rule, click here).
The purpose of the registry is to provide NOAA with catch data from saltwater anglers who fish in federal waters so that marine fish stocks can be managed more efficiently.
Beginning in January 2010, 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.
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.
Federal registration will be free for the first two years. A fee of $15-25 will be levied beginning in 2011. Fees collected through the federal registry will go to the U.S. Treasury, and is not required to go back to the resource. Fees collected in states exempt from the federal registry will be re-allocated as each state sees fit.
TRCP’s Angling 4 Oceans Coalition supports the registry. The registry will enable the federal government to identify more accurately who is fishing and what is being caught. The data generated by the registry will ultimately provide NOAA with the crucial evidence it needs to better allocate marine fisheries resources to recreational saltwater anglers. For more information on NOAA’s Marine Recreational Information Program, click here