State accepting renewals for fishing licenses

State environmental officials are reminding fishermen in Rhode Island that they have until Feb. 29 to renew their licenses.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has mailed renewal licenses to 6,000 commercial anglers in its system. These people are encouraged to renew online at the Rhode Island Outdoors website using their unique customer ID number. Licenses also can be renewed at 235 Promenade St., Room 360, Providence, RI, 02908, or by calling 401-222-6647.

Failure to renew licenses by the deadline will result in a $200 late fee for people who opt to get their licenses during the 60-day grace period from March 1 through April 29. Deadline dates and grace periods do not extend the validity of expired licenses.

The agency also will issue a limited number of licenses in two sectors. That includes 18 new unlimited finfish endorsements and 48 new unlimited shellfish endorsements. In addition to these opportunities, 15 new multipurpose vessel licenses will be offered under a pilot program. This will allow boat owners to designate any operator to engage in commercial fishing for all marine species aboard their vessel. The boat owner is required to consign a multipurpose fishing license. The state may then re-issue the consigned multipurpose fishing license to the commercially declared fishing vessel as a multipurpose vessel license. The state, moreover, is offering shellfish licenses to Rhode Island residents who are full-time students and younger than 24. The fee is $50 and current license holders have until June 30 to renew.

All commercial fishermen must be in compliance with the marine harvester logbook Program. Questions regarding compliance should be directed to the Division of Marine Fisheries at Fort Wetherill in Jamestown.