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NJ-DEP reminds fishers of Angler Registry requirement

By On Deck Staff

TRENTON–With the annual spawning runs of popular recreational species such as striped bass, shad and river herring just weeks away, the NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is reminding anglers that under a new federal law, most New Jersey saltwater recreational fishermen are now required to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry before they go fishing. The Saltwater Angler Registry is part of an improved data program to help protect the long-term sustainability of recreational fishing.
As of Jan. 1, 2010, New Jersey fishermen must be registered if they:
Fish for or catch anadromous species in tidal and salt waters; these are fish like river herring, shad or striped bass that live in the oceans but spawn in fresh water, OR
Fish in the Federal waters more than three miles from the ocean shore or from the mouths of rivers or bays, OR
Don’t meet any of the exceptions in the law.
Those exceptions include anglers who are under the age of 16; have a currently valid saltwater license from another state whose license meets the criteria of the Angler Registry; already registered with NOAA in 2010 to fish saltwater in another state; only fish on vessels that are holders of for-hire (or charter boat and party boat) permits issued by NOAA Fisheries; hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling permit; are fishing commercially under a valid license.
Registration is quick and easy and free in 2010. Simply log on to http://www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov/ and click on the Angler Registry link, or call the registration line at 1-888-674-7411. Anglers will need to provide their name, date of birth, address and telephone number, and will receive a registration number that will allow them to begin fishing immediately.
After approximately 30 days, registrants will receive a registration card in the mail. Registration is valid for one year from the date of registration and anglers who do not meet any of the exceptions in the law must register annually.
The registry is an important tool that will help fishermen and policy makers work together to better account for the contributions and impacts of saltwater anglers on ocean ecosystems and coastal economies. It is part of a national overhaul of the way NOAA collects and reports recreational fishing data.
The goal of the initiative–known as the Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP–is to provide the most accurate information possible that can be used to determine the health of fish stocks. Reliable, universally trusted data will in turn aid anglers, fisheries managers and other stakeholders in their combined efforts to effectively and fairly set the rules that will ensure the long-term sustainability of recreational fishing.
For more information, visit http://www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov/

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