Virginia Marine Police will begin enforcing the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program registration requirement after the Fourth of July weekend.
The new registration program went into effect on Jan. 1, and requires adults who fishes in Virginia’s saltwaters, or for saltwater species in tidal freshwater, to register with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission if they are exempt from buying a saltwater fishing license. Registration is quick, easy and free.
Anglers who buy a Virginia saltwater fishing license of any type are automatically registered.
Anglers who fail to register if required to do so could be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a fine up to $500 at the discretion of the judge.
Virginia anglers who must register each year with the Fisherman Identification Program include: Those who fish on a boat licensed to cover all anglers; from a commercial pier or private property; who are age 65 and older; and those who fish in tidal freshwater for anadromous species such as striped bass, shad or other marine species.Anglers may register annually in the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program by going to www.mrc.virginia.gov/FIP now or by calling toll-free 800-723-2728 at any time of the day, any day of the week.
Anglers with a valid Virginia saltwater fishing license or a Potomac River Fisheries Sport Fishing License do not have to register with the state FIP. Their contact information will be collected when they buy a license.
Anglers under the age of 16 also are exempt from registering. Also exempt from registration are paying customers of licensed charter boats or head boats.