Governor Charlie Crist signed CS/SB 1742 into law and repealed the resident shoreline exemption from the Florida Saltwater Fishing License. The shoreline exemption repeal was a top legislative priority for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and CCA Florida. With help from Senator Lee Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs), Senator Carey Baker (R-Eustis), and Representative Baxter Troutman (R-Winter Haven), the bill was carried through the Florida Legislature and placed on the Governors desk.
"The repeal means that shoreline anglers capable of buying a license will now be contributing to marine fisheries conservation," said Bill Bird, CCA Florida Chairman. "Most importantly the license amendment will save Florida anglers from having to pay 20 million dollars in additional federal angler registration fees."
Starting in 2010, The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires all anglers fishing in federal waters or for anadromous species to obtain a federal registration. The fee charged is anticipated to fall between $15 and $25 per angler, is authorized to commence in 2011, and will be deposited into the National Treasury. A provision in the MSA exempts states that have an adequate saltwater licensing system. The shoreline exemption, which kept Florida's licensing system from being qualified for the federal angler registry, has now been removed.
"The saltwater license will continue current exemptions for anglers over 65 and under 16 years of age," said Trip Aukeman, CCA Florida Deputy Director of Advocacy. New exemptions include those individuals who qualify for Medicaid or food stamp programs so that those persons fishing from the shoreline for sustenance would not have to buy a license.
CCA Florida successfully promoted the legislative establishment of a saltwater recreational fishing license in 1989. Since then, the license has provided more than 200 million dollars in revenues specifically dedicated to marine research, management and law enforcement. The new shoreline license is estimated to generate $900,000 in revenue the first year, plus an additional $860,000 in federal matching funds.
"CCA Florida has a long history of conservation advocacy. We are always in the front lines promoting management, research, and law enforcement funding for Florida's marine fisheries and its 18 billion dollar recreational fishery," said Ted Forsgren, CCA Florida Executive Director.