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Saltwater Fishing

Updated on November 1, 2014

Inshore, Offshore, Surf, Pier, Fly and Other Saltwater Fishing

Recreational fishing is the most popular outdoor activity in the USA and much of that is done in saltwater.

Approximately 11 million anglers took over 71 million saltwater recreational fishing trips in 2013. Anglers caught nearly 430 million fish and released 61 percent of their catch.

Saltwater fishing has many forms with something for nearly everyone. The wide variety of saltwater fishing locations allows anglers of any age, sex or physical state a change to enjoy the sport.

Inshore saltwater fishing occurs in bays, estuaries, near river mouths, along shorelines, jetties, bridges or piers. Saltwater fishing is also done in the open sea. Ocean fishing from boats is often called offshore or deep sea fishing.

Saltwater angling can be enjoyed solo, with friends, as a guest on a fishing charter boat, or with a fishing guide.

USA Recreational Fishing

According to NOAA, more than 10 million anglers made almost 75 million marine recreational fishing trips in the 2009. It is estimated that recreational anglers fishing in saltwater caught over 390 million fish, of which nearly 56 percent were released alive. The estimated total weight of harvested fish was more than 200 million pounds.

Saltwater Angler Registry

To comply with federal law, unless states have a marine license or other program that supplies NOAA Fisheries Service with an accurate count of marine anglers, most saltwater anglers will need to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry beginning January 1, 2010.

The Registry is an important part of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) which has been initiated by NOAA Fisheries Service to improve estimates of recreational fishing activity.

Anyone who is angling or spear fishing for anadromous species (such as striped bass or American shad) in tidal waters or for any fish in federal waters (3 to 200 miles from shore for the U. S. east coast) will have to register.

Who Does NOT have to Register?

Anglers will NOT need to register if they:

* Are under 16;

* Only fish on licensed charter, party or guide boats;

* Hold a state fishing license that also meets registry requirements

* Hold a federal recreational Highly Migratory Species or subsistence fishing permit;

* Are fishing commercially under a commercial fishing license.

Charter/party vessels (commercial for-hire vessels who take anglers fishing or spear fishing) will only need to register federally if they do not already have another federal permit or license for their for-hire activities.

What does it Cost to Register?

NOAA will not charge a fee to register in 2010, but expects to charge about $15 to $25 in 2011. Fees collected will go into the U. S. treasury. State license fees may be directed by the state to supplement state fisheries management programs.

National Saltwater Angler Registry Poll

Is a national saltwater angler registry needed?

See results

Discuss Saltwater Fishing

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What are the benefits to sea fishing over freshwater fishing?

    • DailyRogue profile image


      6 years ago

      I didn't realize recreational fishing contributed so much to the economy. Thanks for the great site and for the excellent list of fishing books/DVDs. I'm going to check out a few of them.

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      9 years ago

      Don't really know much about fishing, espescially salt water, but I have to say after this lens, I actually leaned a lot of interesting stuff. thanks

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Very nice lens. I really enjoyed seeing the Fish identification posters. Nice how you added all the fishing lenses.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 

      9 years ago from Idaho

      Great lens, well done daybreak! Linda

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent info on the NOAA. Conservation and getting the word out, nice job. 5 stars


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