N.J. to launch saltwater fishing registry

The Christie Administration on Wednesday will launch the state’s free web-based saltwater fishing registry, keeping recreational saltwater fishing in New Jersey a sport that anyone can enjoy without having to pay fees.

“This registry allows us to comply with a federal mandate to have a system in place to collect better data from recreational anglers and better manage fishery resources that are so important to our economy, at the same time exempting our anglers from fees and keeping saltwater fishing in New Jersey free,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.

Gov. Christie signed legislation creating a free state saltwater registry on Feb. 22. Martin signed an Administrative Order creating the registry.

The DEP’s free, web-based saltwater fishing registry — www.saltwaterregistry.nj.gov — replaces a fee-based federal registry that New Jersey was required to participate in and which has been in effect since January. All saltwater anglers and for-hire vessel operators will now be able to register through the no-fee state system rather than the fee-based federal system.

Anglers still must register with the state system even if they have already registered with the federal system.

Everyone 16 or older must register and carry the printed registration with them when fishing. People who fish for shellfish such as crabs, clams or lobster are not required to register, though existing license or permit requirements may be required depending on the gear used.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency that manages national fisheries resources, will not refund the $15 fee that New Jersey anglers have already paid by registering with that agency.

More than 1 million people fish in New Jersey’s salt waters. Saltwater fishing provides 38,000 jobs and a $1.2 billion annual boost to the state’s economy, Martin said.