A website and a toll-free number are now available for Delaware anglers to obtain a Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) number as required by a new regualtion that goes into effect Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. As of that date, all prospective Delaware anglers age 16 or older, licensed or not, will be required to get a F.I.N. number on an annual basis before fishing in Delaware waters. There is no fee for the number.
To obtain a F.I.N. number or for more information, anglers may visit @link href=’http://www.delaware-fin.com’target=”_blank”>www.delaware-fin.com/link, or call 800-432-9228, any time of day, any day of the week. Those needing live operator assistance may call 866-447-4626 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (EST).
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 obtains a F.I.N. number must keep this number on his or her person while fishing and be able to produce it for a law enforcement official. Beginning Jan. 1, Delaware fishing license will have a space where the number can be written.
DNREC Fisheries Section Administrator Roy Miller explained the purpose of the F.I.N. program. “The federal National Marine Fisheries Service has been tasked to identify saltwater anglers for survey purposes. If we can provide a complete registry of Delaware’s marine recreational fishermen from our stae-issued fishing license program, our anglers will be exempt from participating in the federal registry and federal license fees. Our state registry was vreated to allow us to meet these federal requirements with no additional cost to our anglers,” Miller said, noting the nationwide federal registry goes into effect in 2009, with fees to be charged begiining in 2011. Those fees, he added, will be deposited in the federal treadury and will not be 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. “When you request a F.I.N. number, you will be asked, ‘freshwater, saltwater or both?’ Previously we had no way to dtermine this,” Miller said.
Once all Delaware fshermen 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 future federal registry charges.
To qualify for exempt staus with the 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 theis requirement, resident senior sitizens age 65 and older and unlicensed anglers who fish from a licensed vessel will also need to obtain a Delaware F.I.N. number.
For more information, please contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914 .