SALISBURY The Maryland General Assembly has approved an increase in sportfishing license fees effective July 1, 2007. The legislation was proposed by recreational fishing organizations that recognized the need to restore and maintain sportfishing opportunities, which in Maryland results in an economic output of more than $1 billion.
The Fisheries Management Reform Act was conceived by recreational anglers in response to a renewed commitment by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Governor O'Malley to the importance of recreational fishing to all of Maryland, said William T. Windley Jr., President of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association. It supports the Departments efforts to employ scientific methods to improve fisheries management, quality and public access, as well as the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Further, Senate Bill 1012 gives recreational fishermen a strong, clear voice in fisheries management. In light of these advances on our behalf, it seems only fair that we accept some of the responsibility of supporting these efforts through modest fee increases.
The revised recreational fishing license fees as of July 1, 2007 are:
* Resident annual non-tidal waters - $20.50
* Nonresident annual non-tidal waters - $30.50 or a fee equal to the fee charged a Maryland resident by the nonresidents home state for a similar license
* Resident annual tidal waters - $15
* Nonresident annual tidal waters - $15
* Annual Consolidated Bay Sport Boat License, which is permanently affixed to a boat registered in any state - $50
The fees for the short term recreational fishing licenses and trout stamp remain the same.
We are extremely appreciative of efforts by the recreational fishing community and the members of the General Assembly to generate additional funds to support fisheries management in Maryland, said DNR Deputy Secretary Eric Schwaab. With spring striped bass season off to a great start and numerous other tidal and non-tidal species out there for the taking, we recommend anglers buy their licenses early, save a little money, and enjoy some terrific spring fishing!
As is the case with all funds received through recreational license sales, additional funds will be dedicated to sportfish restoration and management programs. The Department of Natural Resources plans to seek the advice of fisheries advisory groups to develop an implementation plan for the application of the new funds.
Areas of need include assessing essential populations of sportfish; identifying and conserving critical fisheries habitat; assessing impacts of fish disease; securing water supply for hatcheries and steams; developing and enhancing sportfishing opportunities; evaluating the expectations and successes of sportfishing in Maryland; documenting the economics of recreational fishing; and promoting the quality of life values of recreational fishing.
For up to date information on fishing in Maryland, visit http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/.
Source: Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR)