How to Obtain a Saltwater Fishing License

Currently, there is a new Federal regulation concerning the requirements to obtain a saltwater fishing license, existing since January 1st 2010, as part of the National Saltwater Registry program for the recreational sector. So, it is a wise thing to keep updated about these basic requirements, if you like this popular activity. Some people will agree with this new regulation, and others will disagree. However, the law applies to everyone, with some exceptions. There is also available information for commercial fishing permits.

Documents Needed for Registering:

  • Personal Information
  • Picture ID
  • No Previous Fishing License is Necessary
  • Internet Access
  • E-mail address

Step 1- Decide What Kind of Fish You Will Want

It is important that before deciding on your registry, you make a list of what kind of fish you are going for. This is because there are different fees depending on the species, sectors and states. Decide if you are going for commercial fishing or recreational only. You can also call or ask for more detailed information from the Marine Resources Department, and they will give you all the price variations. Remember that these fees apply for the state of residence of the license.

Step 2- Going a Step Further Into Regulations

This is not such an important part, but for the people who like to get all the specific regulations about ordinances, there is a complete list of subjects you will want to check to further extend your knowledge. These are found as Title 22 regulations, which consist of 21 parts. They cover topics such as Marine Aquaculture, Administrative Penalty Procedures, and many other interesting issues.

Step 3- Registration Area

The good part of this requirement is that most saltwater anglers are registered automatically. It is because many states share database information with the NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration), about existing licenses. This way, you won't need to start a new registration process. A few states, like Maine and Virginia, are not included in this list, so you should double check if you reside, or are registered, in these areas.

Step 4- People With No Need for Registration

In some cases, you could qualify to be included in this group, so that fishing registration won't be necessary at all. Those who qualify include people under 16 years of age, and those anglers who obtained permission to fish for species that migrate and who only do so for sustenance. If you have a commercial license, there's no need to worry. Also, senior citizens or active duty military personnel are excluded from having to register for a saltwater fishing license, as well as residents from selected states mentioned in the new Federal ordinance.

Step 5- Making the Registration

After clearing all this up, you do qualify for registration if don't have a license from an exempted state, you're either fishing in Federal waters or any tidal waters, and catch any anadromous (fish that migrate from salt water to spawn in fresh water) species. The other good news is that since 2010, there is no cost to register. Go to the online NOAA homepage and click the Individual Angler Registration Form.

Step-6 Commercial Salwater Fishing License

For individuals wanting to register for a commercial saltwater fishing license, it is a more personal process and more application forms are needed to be able to qualify. This means that there are much higher fees to pay for registering. It is required for the interested parties to head over to the Division of Marine Fisheries in your state, or download the online forms, fill all the information required and send them by mail.