Understanding the Saltwater Registration Program

By Bryan Hinerdeer - SFT Staff April 29, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Since January 1st, 2010 anglers fishing in tidal waters have been required to register with the Saltwater Registry Program. This includes fishing in the Chesapeake Bay as well as it’s tributaries. This federal law was created to help fisherman and policy makers work together measure and track the contributions and impacts of fishing on areas. The collection of data through the program allows NOAA to report on a variety of factors. All of the data can be used to influence policy and determine the health of fishing areas.

State and National Registration

The registry is not the same as a fishing license so if the area you’re in requires one you will have to obtain that through other means. If you’re an angler who has registered for a specific state already then you will not have to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry. However, if you’ve already registered with the NSAR in the past then you may have to register for a specific state this includes New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. So to recap, register for your state and you should be good to go!

The process only takes a few minutes and is free for most states as they have created their own portals to help their state residents avoid the federal registration fee of $15. License are a whole different story and depend on the state you’re licensing in.

Who is Affected

There are a few exemptions for the program including the following: anglers under 16, anglers fishing on charter or guide boats, hold a highly migratory species angling permit.

If you’re 16 and older and recreationally fish in the marine and fresh tidal waters you’re going to need to register. So find your state, register with them and save yourself a few dollars. The NOAA fisheries service also has a helpful tool to determine if you need to register with them or if your registration with your state is enough. 

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