In 2006, the United States Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act to require a national recreational saltwater fishing registry. Congress charged the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with creating the registry, which scientists could access to improve recreational fishing data and fisheries management. Under the federal system, saltwater anglers must register online or by telephone in 2010. Beginning in 2011, federal registration will cost from $15 to $25 in states that do not have a saltwater permit systems.
The federal legislation included a provision allowing states to create their own saltwater fishing permit systems in lieu of participation in the federal registry. The law signed by Governor Patrick enables the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to require saltwater anglers to purchase a saltwater fishing permit beginning in January 2011.
Under the new state law, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will propose an individual permit fee of $10, with revenue from permit sales deposited into a state Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund administered by DMF in consultation with a newly created Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Panel. The revenue will pay for data collection and administration of the permitting program, programs to improve public access for recreational fishing, and better fisheries management.