On January 2, 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a new rule requiring that all fish caught by boats in certain areas must be tagged.
This is a major victory for the public, and it will require fishing licenses for all fishers on federal lands, as well as in federal waters, including the waters of the Grand Canyon and the Atlantic Ocean.
As of January 2018, more than 90% of all fish found in U.S. waters are tagged, with most of them caught within 100 miles of the coast of California.
The rule will not be in place forever, however, and the Fish and Wildlife Service will issue more fishing licenses to fishers in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
The vast majority of fish caught in the Grand, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico are tagged.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) oversees fishing in the Gulf of Alaska, the Mississippi River, the Gulf, and other waters.
For more information on this important conservation issue, check out the NMFS website.
However, the agency did not release its full list of approved fishers until the fall, which means many are not yet registered with the agency.
In addition, fishers who are not listed in the NMFSS fishery registration will still be required to pay fees to the BLM.
For the sake of simplicity, the BLM will require fishers to pay a $20 fee to the Fish & Wildlife Service for each catch, plus an additional $10 for each additional catch in a three-month period.
This fee is separate from the $10 fee for each fish that the Fish Department is required to release into the wild.
Fishing license renewals have been frozen for 2018, and fishers can expect to receive a renewal notice sometime in 2019.
The fish fishing industry has been extremely vocal in their opposition to the rule, with many saying it is unfair, unnecessary, and will lead to less competition in the industry.
Fishing licenses will still cost a fee, however.
To renew a fishing license for 2018 and 2019, fishery owners must fill out a form on the FishCare website.
The fee is $100 for one year and $150 for two years.
To apply for a renewal, visit the Fish Care website.
For 2019, renewal fees will be $150 per year for the two-year renewal period, and $200 for the three-year period.
The catch fee is still $10.
The Fish and Game Bureau (F&G) is in the process of finalizing a final rule on fishing licenses, and as of January, 2019 they will be issuing licenses to all fishery operators.
For those interested in learning more about the Fish&G program, please visit their website.