As Part of the Magnuson Stevens Act Reauthorization, In 2009, you will have to buy your MD Fishing License AND get a (FREE) FIN# from NOAA by telephone. The FIN# add's you to a national angler registry. This registry allows managers to better capture recreational fishing effort, AND to strengthen the MRFSS survey. I believe your FIN# covers you wherever you fish, but you will still have to have a state issued fishing license if you intend to fish in a state that does not have reciprocity.
Unfortunately the Final Rule regarding exact details of the implemintation has not yet been released, so our MD license system has not been updated to satisfy the requirement. As I understand it from countless fisheries task force meetings, the Department plans to upgrade the MD Fishing License system so that the extra step of calling NOAA for the FIN# will not be necessary.
I'm sure the MD-DNR will be releasing all the info you need before Jan 1, 2009.
How much you want to bet that the "free" license costs us $25.00 in a few years . Same thing happened with the offshore license - first few years it was free, then the Feds saw $$$ signs and charged us.
There's already a provision in there that they will start charging in 2011.
As stated in the Capital article, MD has a ways to go before their licensing scheme is compliant. Unfortunately, it looks like it will mean the addition of seaside licenses. I expect that it will mean a change to a statewide saltwater license like is used in VA. Then they have to figure out how to count the number fishermen on boat licenses. Until MD figures all that out, we'll be stuck with having to buy the Federal license.
OK, so from what I understand, I don't have to do anything at all for the 2009 season. I have already mailed a check for my boat registration and my Chesapeake Bay Recreational Boat fishing Liscence. Also, in the FIN law they speak about Federal Waters but I do not fish Federal Water anymore, but when all this takes place will I need to register and obtain a FIN# ? Thanks Bob