News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Reminds Anglers To Comply With National Saltwater Registry

Tournament participants could forfeit prizes if unregistered

Annapolis, Md. (July 2, 2010) - With Maryland’s spectacular coastal tournament season upon us, it’s important that all anglers understand and comply with the new National Saltwater Angler Registry requirement. The purpose of this mandatory registry is to create a directory that statisticians working for NOAA may use to compile meaningful information about recreational fishing impacts and contributions.

Anyone – INCLUDING TOURNAMENT PARTICIPANTS – who fishes in federal waters or who targets or catches anadromous species (saltwater fish that spawn in freshwater) must register.

Some anglers may already be registered or may be exempt:

  • Anglers under 16 years old do not need to register.
  • Anglers who fish on federally-licensed charter, party or guide boats do not need to register.
  • Anglers named on an individual Highly Migratory Species Angling Category Permit are already registered. For HMS permit information, visit
  • Anglers in possession of a fishing license from an exempt state are already in the directory and need not register. Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are not exempt states. Go to for a complete list of exempt states.

Registration is free of charge and takes less than three minutes on the phone or online. Go to or call 888-MRIP-411.

Anglers can register and fish the same day, as long as they keep a written record of their registration number as proof of compliance. A waterproof registration card will arrive soon by mail.

To ensure that our recreational fishing data are as accurate as possible, we need to work together to make sure that NOAA has information from ALL saltwater recreational anglers, regardless of how frequently they fish.

Maryland’s oceanside tournaments often target Highly Migratory Species, “rare event” fish that are especially important to account for.

Highly Migratory Species permits cover only the individual whose name is on the permit. All others onboard the boat must register unless they meet one of the exemptions.

Maryland does not require a charter boat license for Captains who take parties into the Atlantic from coastal ports to fish. Therefore, everyone on the boat, including the Captain and mate, must be individually registered in the National Saltwater Registry in order to fish legally.

Registration in the National Saltwater Registry is mandatory by federal law, and it’s also an important piece of the management challenge of ensuring long-term sustainability of saltwater fishing.

Going forward into 2011, Maryland tidal and coastal anglers with the proper state fishing licenses will not need to register separately in the National Saltwater Registry. Maryland lawmakers were successful in session this spring at adjusting the Maryland fishing license program so that it will comply with NOAA’s requirement to include all anglers in the directory. When anglers purchase their bay and coastal licenses next year, they will be automatically registered. Beginning in 2011, coastal anglers will need to possess the same Maryland fishing license that bay anglers carry. Unlicensed guests onboard a boat with a Bay Sport License will need to register separately through the state license system at no charge so they may be included in the registry. The price of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License will be the same for residents in 2011 as is was in 2010—$15 or just $5 for anglers 65 years old and older.

   July 2, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at