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New England Saltwater Recreational Fishermen: Bait, Tackle, Register!

Anglers from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine among those required to sign up with National Saltwater Angler Registry before they fish this year

According to a new Federal law that went into effect on January 1, most New England saltwater recreational fishermen will need to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry before they drop their line in the water this year.

Anglers who fish in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire are among those who need to register online or by phone if they:

• Fish for or catch anadromous species in any tidal waters–these are fish such as striped bass, shad and river herring that live in the oceans but spawn in freshwater, or

• Fish in federal waters–generally speaking more than three miles from the ocean shore or the mouth of harbors, rivers or bays, or

• Don't meet any of the exemptions in the law.

Exempted anglers include those who are under 16; fish only on licensed for-hire vessels; hold subsistence fishing or highly migratory species angling permits; are fishing commercially under a valid license; have a valid saltwater fishing license from an exempted state; or who live in an exempted state but are not required to have a saltwater fishing license from that state. (For instance, some states exempt seniors, active-duty military or other individuals.)

Registration is quick, easy and FREE in 2010. Anglers simply need to log on to, or call 1-888-MRIP-411. They will receive a registration number that will allow them to begin fishing immediately, and will later receive a registration card by mail that they can carry with them while fishing and present to law enforcement officers upon request.

Fishermen are also reminded that in addition to the Registry, they must comply with all applicable state and federal fishing regulations in the area where they are fishing.

Protecting The Seas

The registry is an important tool that will help fishermen and policy makers work together to better account for the contributions and impacts of saltwater anglers on ocean ecosystems and coastal economies.

It is part of a national overhaul of the way NOAA collects and reports recreational fishing data. The goal of the initiative – known as the Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP – is to provide the most accurate information possible that can be used to determine the health of fish stocks. Reliable, universally trusted data will in turn aid anglers, fisheries managers and other stakeholders in their combined efforts to effectively and fairly set the rules that will ensure the long-term sustainability of recreational fishing.

“Recreational fishermen are among the most important stewards of our shared ocean resources,” said Russ Dunn, NOAA Fisheries National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries.  “By participating in the Registry, they’re making sure that we accurately count their catch, and – just as important – that their catch counts.”

NOTE: On January 1, 2011, the Angler Registry requirement will be replaced by a N.H. recreational saltwater license. CLICK HERE for more information.

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