Virginia Fisherman Identification Program

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Each fishing season, Virginia officials remind saltwater anglers to register with the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) if they are required to do so.

The program went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011 and requires everyone 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.

The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates 750,000 people a year fish in Virginia’s saltwaters.

State law requires license-exempt anglers (those who are exempted by law from having to buy a saltwater license) to register with the new Virginia Fisherman Identification Program for free and supply their contact information before they fish every year.

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 who register are issued a unique, counterfeit-proof identification number to keep with them while fishing to prove they have registered.

Virginia’s saltwater anglers should not sign up with the national registry or pay that federal registration fee.

Virginia has been exempted from the national registry because the Virginia Marine Resources Commission created the free Virginia registration program.

Anglers may register annually in the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program by going to 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.

Based in Newport News, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission manages Virginia’s saltwater fisheries, both recreational and commercial.

The Fisherman Identification Program is authorized by state law, and annual registration of non-licensed saltwater anglers is required.

source: Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Published: June 1, 2011 | Updated: January 31, 2018