NOAA’s Fisheries Service is seeking comment on a proposed rule that requires anglers and spearfishers who fish recreationally in federal ocean waters to be registered before fishing in 2009. The rule would also require registration by those who may catch anadromous species anywhere, including striped bass, salmon and shad that spawn in rivers and streams and spend their adult lives in estuaries and the ocean.
NOAA may exempt anglers from registration if they already have a state-issued saltwater fishing license or registration, and the state provides sufficiently complete information to place in the national registry. In certain instances, anglers in states participating in regional surveys of marine recreational fishing may also be exempted. The new rule allows states to apply for exemptions.
Fishermen would be required to be registered annually and NOAA will not charge a registration fee in the first two years. Beginning in 2011, the annual fee will be an estimated $15 to $25 per angler. Anglers under the age of 16 would be exempt from registering and fees would be waived for indigenous people, such as members of federally recognized tribes. NOAA’s Fisheries Service recognizes that many indigenous people fish for food as part of ancient cultural traditions.
Anglers who fish only on licensed party, charter, or guide boats would also be exempt, since these vessels are surveyed separately from the angler surveys. Also, persons who hold commercial fishing licenses or permits, and are legally fishing under them, will be exempt from the registration requirement.
To read the proposed rule, go to http://www.countmyfish.noaa.gov.
Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until Aug. 11. They can be mailed to:
John Boreman Director, Office of Science and Technology
1315 East-West HighwaySilver Spring, MD 20910
Attn.: Gordon Colvin
Comments can also be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov.