New laws to regulate saltwater fishing
According to new state and federal laws, R.I. saltwater recreational fishermen are now required to either purchase a state recreational fishing license or to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry before they drop their line in the water this year.
State and federal officials caution that failing to do so could impact a new program that is improving the way NOAA Fisheries collects and reports recreational fishing data.
The laws apply to all nonexempt anglers and spearfishers who fish recreationally in R.I. marine waters and/or in offshore federal waters. Exemptions include those who are: under 16; fishing exclusively on licensed party or charter boats; on leave from active military duty; blind or permanently disabled; holders of saltwater licenses issued by other exempt states or holders of highly migratory species angling permits.
To date, a total of 28,763 Rhode Island residents have registered with NOAA, and 10,752 fishers have obtained a R.I. license.
Federal registration is quick, easy and free for all anglers in 2010. Visit www.countmyfish. noaa.gov, or call 1-888-MRIP- 411. Once registered, you will receive a registration number that will allow you to begin fishing immediately, and will later receive a registration card by mail.
A R.I. license can be purchased for $7 by state residents and $10 by non-residents. A seven-day license is also available for $5. The state license is free for R.I. residents over the age of 65, and for active military personnel stationed in R.I. Licensees will automatically be added to the Federal Registry. The license is valid in all R.I. marine waters, as well as in the state waters of Massachusetts, Connecticut, eastern New York, and other states that honor R.I.’s license. The license can be obtained online or at participating vendors. More information can be found at www.saltwater. ri.gov.