Ask Outdoors Girl: What happens to fees for the National Saltwater Angler Registry

March 28, 2010|By Candus Thomson

Tom Gittins of York, Pa., writes: When I went on the Web site for the National Saltwater Angler Registry and looked at the FAQs section, I encountered something that left me a little puzzled. The answer to Question 10 says the fee for 2011 (in the event states don't pass their own angler registry or license program) will be based on the total amount of money it takes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to run the registry divided by the anticipated number of people registering. The answer to Question 11 says fees collected by the registry will go to the U.S. Treasury rather than a specific account. So which is it, will the fee be used to "administer the program" or will money collected "not be designated for any specific purpose"? If it is NOT for the purpose of administering this new program, then it appears to be nothing more than a new tax that ends up in the federal treasury. Has anyone provided you with the true reason for the fee?

Outdoors Girl put the question to Gordon Colvin, NOAA's point man on the registry, who explains:

The fee will offset the cost of administering the registry program, but it will not go into a dedicated fund for that purpose. Current federal law does not authorize registration fees collected under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to be dedicated to marine fish conservation. NOAA Fisheries Service notes that while the registration fee revenue cannot be deposited into a separate, dedicated account, revenue from the fees is to be equal to the cost of administering the registry program. The funding for [the registry] administration is derived from appropriations from the general treasury, that is, the same overall fund to which registry fees will be deposited.

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