All anglers ages 16 and older required to obtain a new Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number
The Secretary’s Office of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has signed new regulations requiring all prospective Delaware anglers age 16 or older, licensed or not, to obtain a Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) number on an annual basis before fishing in Delaware waters. The new regulations go into effect Jan. 1, 2009.
“These additions to Delaware’s tidal and non-tidal fishing regulations will allow us to meet new federal requirements, with no additional cost to our anglers,” said DNREC Fisheries Section Administrator Roy Miller. “The federal National Marine Fisheries Service has been tasked to identify saltwater anglers for survey purposes. If we provide a complete registry of Delaware’s marine recreational fishermen from our state-issued fishing license program, our anglers will be exempt from participating in the federal registry and federal license fees.”
In order to improve upon present means of determining recreational catch and effort in marine waters, Miller explained that Congress authorized the National Marine Fisheries Service to compile a nationwide registry of all anglers fishing in saltwater beginning in 2009 and to begin charging for participation in this registry as of 2011. According to existing federal plans, fees generated by this program will be deposited in the federal treasury and not returned to the states.
Delaware Code currently requires a general fishing license to fish in tidal and non-tidal waters, and license applications contain most of the information needed for a state registry, with one important exception. “Under the new regulations, the first question we will ask our license applicants is ‘fresh, salt or both?’ Previously we had no way to determine this, and the Fisheries Service is only looking for saltwater angler information,” Miller said.
Once all Delaware fishermen have obtained a F.I.N. number and the National Marine Fisheries Service has a copy of Delaware’s saltwater angler registry, Delaware will be exempt from the federal marine recreational fishing registry and charges.
To qualify for exempt status with National Marine Fisheries, the registry of Delaware’s saltwater anglers must also include those who are not legally required to have a recreational fishing license. Because of this requirement, resident senior citizens age 65 and older and unlicensed anglers who fish from a licensed vessel will also need to obtain a Delaware F.I.N. number.
The F.I.N. number will be available at no cost to anglers by calling a toll free number or by providing requested information online. Anglers will be asked for their name, address, phone number and whether they intend to fish in freshwater, tidal water or both. They will also be asked a couple of questions for internal Delaware purposes, such as the angler’s intention to go clamming or crabbing. Each person who requests a F.I.N. number should write this number on his or her Delaware fishing license, or for those who are legally unlicensed, be able to produce this number when asked by an authorized enforcement agent.
Both the website address and toll-free number will be advertised and made readily available to all Delaware anglers.
For more information, please contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Fisheries Section, at 302-739-9914.