Ask Outdoors Girl

March 13, 2011

Joseph Barry of Baltimore writes: As I am sure you are aware, there is a new requirement that all anglers on boats be registered with NOAA. But I am baffled by the wording of the new regulation in the Department of Natural Resources fishing guide. In one line it says that all anglers on a licensed boat need to be registered. I don't like it, but rules are rules. Then, the regulation states that all guests on a licensed boat need to be registered. I called DNR and asked them why the regulation uses both angler and guest. In my world, there is a difference between angler and guest. I asked if I am not fishing but had a guest on board, did they need to be registered. At first they said yes and later they said no. The way I read the law it says if you have a $50 Pleasure Boat Decal, all guests on the boat, fishing or not, need to be registered. Can you get a clarification?

Outdoors Girl knows that with the change in Maryland licenses and the federal government's requirement that all tidal and saltwater anglers be part of a national registry, this question will come up a lot this spring, so she asked DNR Deputy Fisheries Director Gina Hunt to respond. She wrote: Under the law, an individual must register with the department before fishing in any of the following areas that do not require a Chesapeake Bay and coastal sport fishing license: A free fishing area with hook and line; on private property bordering tidal water (owner, family members or tenant); and on a boat with a pleasure boat decal. There is no fee for registration under these three conditions. So whether you consider yourself an angler or a guest, if you intend to fish on a vessel that has a Pleasure Boat Decal you must register.

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