Virginia fishermen off the hook on new fee
Starting this month, saltwater anglers in Virginia must either obtain a valid saltwater fishing license or register with Virginia’s Fisherman Identification Program.
Beginning Jan. 1, the Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will charge fishermen an annual fee of $15 to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry, according to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
However, Virginia’s saltwater anglers do not have to pay the fee or sign up with the national registry because the state is exempt, the VMRC said. To maintain the exemption, the commission will collect contact information when anglers buy their annual saltwater fishing license.
The intent is to create a statewide "phone book" of saltwater anglers, which will be given to NOAA to improve fishing effort surveys.
Some anglers -- such as those fishing from a boat licensed to cover all anglers or those who are 65 or older -- are not required to buy an annual license. But they still will need to register with the
new Fisherman Identification Program and supply their contact information. Anglers under 16 are not required to register.
Fishermen can register by going to http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/FIP or by calling 800-723-2728.
– Jennie Lynn Price, Capital News Service
Citizen Staff Reports 12/16/2013
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