Well here it is:
NOAA proposes saltwater fishing license
By The Associated Press wire report
June 11, 2008 03:41 PM
WASHINGTON - The government wants to know who's fishing for fun in federal ocean waters.
Recreational anglers and spearfishers would be required to be registered, starting next year, under a rule proposed Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA's Fisheries Service said it wants to get more accurate data on recreational fish catches. Commercial fishers already need licenses or permits and thus would not have to register again, the agency said.
The registry is required under a change in the law and would cover recreational fishing in federal waters as well as fishing anywhere for what are called anadromous species, such as striped bass, salmon and shad, that spawn in rivers and streams and spend their adult lives in estuaries and the ocean.
Registrations will include an angler's name, address, telephone number and the regions where fishing is conducted. NOAA said this information will not be made public, it will be used only to conduct surveys.
States that issue their own saltwater fishing licenses could apply for an exemption if their records provide sufficient information for the federal database. Those include the states on the West Coast, including Alaska, the Gulf Coast and the South Atlantic.
Hawaii and the states from New Jersey to Maine do not offer such licenses, NOAA said. The agency hopes the federal program will encourage those states to start their own licensing programs.
Maine lawmakers last year considered a saltwater license but decided that the issue required more study.
The federal registry covers fishing in federal waters, which are generally three miles off the coast. Exceptions are Texas and the west coast of Florida, where federal waters begin nine miles off the coast.
NOAA said registration would be free the first two years and an annual fee ranging from $15 to $25 would be imposed starting in 2011.
Those under age 16 would be exempt and fees would be waived for indigenous people, such as members of federally recognized tribes.
Anglers who fish only on licensed party, charter, or guide boats would also be exempt, since these vessels are surveyed separately from the angler surveys.
The agency said it needs to get better data on recreational anglers to be sure it protects fish stocks but doesn't impose unnecessary limits.