December 23, 2008

Saltwater angler registry to be created

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service said it issued a final rule Tuesday to create a saltwater angler registry.

The service said the national listing of all marine recreational fishermen should help the United States protect shared marine resources, NOAA said in a release.

Better national surveys of the more than 15 million saltwater anglers will help us demonstrate the important contributions of recreational anglers to both local economies and to the nation's, Jim Balsiger, NOAA acting assistant administrator for Fisheries Service, said. The registry will help us gather comprehensive data to ensure sustainable fisheries built on the best available science.

Better recreational fishing data will help show the economic value of saltwater recreational fishing and provide a better picture of how recreational fishing affects fish stocks, the NOAA said. The information will help the NOAA achieve its goal to end overfishing as required under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the agency statement said.

Recreational anglers fishing in federal waters will be required to participate, with some exemptions, NOAA said. The final rule requires anglers and spearfishers who fish for recreation in federal ocean waters be included in the national saltwater angler registry by Jan. 1, 2010.