Frequently Asked Questions about the National Saltwater Angler Registry

Saltwater Anglers & Spearfishers:
Remember to buy your N.H. Recreational Saltwater Fishing License for 2011. Click here to buy your license online -- right now.

Since January of 2010, recreational anglers who fish in federal waters are required to be registered each year with NOAA Fisheries. Registration is also required for those who may catch anadromous species such as salmon, striped bass, smelt, and shad that spawn in rivers and streams and spend their adult lives in estuaries and the ocean. Registration is free for the first year only.

NEW N.H. SALTWATER RECREATIONAL FISHING LICENSE: As of January 1, 2011, the registry requirement has been replaced by a N.H. Recreational Saltwater License, with a fee of $16 ($1 of which is an agent fee) for individual anglers age 16 and older participating in recreational saltwater fishing for finfish from coastal and estuarine waters of New Hampshire (applies to both residents and non-residents). Click here for more information.

What is the National Angler Registry?
The national registry of saltwater anglers is the key to closing a major gap in information on recreational fishing, improving the efficiency and accuracy of surveys. It will also help NOAA demonstrate the economic value of saltwater recreational fishing on local and national economies and allow the agency to get a more accurate picture of the level of participation by the American public in saltwater fishing.

NOAA Fisheries has implemented the final federal rule for 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 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 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.

For more information about the registry visit

  • Who has to register?  All anglers and spear fishermen who fish in federal waters (3-200 miles from shore) and anglers and spear fishermen who may catch anadromous fish (such as striped bass, shad, salmon, smelt) in any tidal waters. Also for-hire vessel operators who are not already federally or state licensed.

  • Does it cost anything to register?  The registration will be free in 2010, but the federal law allows a fee to be charged, beginning in 2011, which is $15.

  • Some states, including N.H., have a saltwater fishing license; do anglers in those states still have to register? Having a resident saltwater fishing license from a state that collects and provides the required registry information to NOAA Fisheries exempts an angler from having to register, because their state will automatically take care of that with the information provided for the license. 

NOAA Fisheries, N.H. Fish and Game, and other state marine resource agencies are getting the word out about the new registry.  Learn more about it at the NOAA Fisheries website

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