The 2006 Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) included a provision establishing a federal registry of saltwater anglers in order to improve recreational saltwater fishing data collection.
The registry’s predecessor, the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey, randomly sampled coastal residents about their saltwater fishing efforts. The new national angler registry is intended to target only those people that have identified themselves as saltwater anglers. This should result in more accurate harvest data which will help improve management of our marine resources.
You are exempt from having to register if you, 1. Hold a saltwater from a state with a qualified registry program (all but Hawaii and U.S. Virgin Islands are included); 2. Fish for or are likely to catch fish that live in the ocean but spawn in fresh water; 3. Fish federal waters more than three miles from the ocean shore; 4. Only fish on licensed charter or guide boats; 5. Hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling Permit or 6. Fish under a subsistence fishing license or permit.
To register go to www.countMyFish.noaa.gov or call 888-674-7411 between the hours of 4:00 am to midnight EST. Operators are standing by seven days a week for your convenience. You’ll be required to provide your name, date of birth, address and telephone number, after which you will receive a registration number that will allow you to begin fishing immediately.
Residents will pay as little as $0 for a qualified (New Jersey) to at least as high $43.46 (California), while nonresidents can get by with about as low $15 (Connecticut) to as high $116.90 (California) for an annual permit.
The National Saltwater Angler Registry is one part of an overall program to better capture the total picture of U.S. recreational fishing. For that reason, I find it hard not to support.
--Steve Pennaz, NAFC Executive Director