As to enforcement, I think they did they right thing by phasing in tickets. Notice they issued around 4800 citations for not having a license but 2800 were warnings. After 250 years of not having a license required to fish in the salty stuff it makes sense to phase it it. They did start issuing fines in the latter half of the year. I expect that will increase this year. BTW - I was checked 4 times last year but I'm on the water ALOT.
They did the same thing when the legislature repealed the "no license required for fishing in the county of your residence" portion of the inland water fishing license. We were mandated by the revised law to give a first time violator a written warning, but if that person was caught a second time, we were good to write a citation. I agree that when making a change like this, you absolutely have to give the public enough time to adjust. To do otherwise would be setting them up to fail.
Also, beginning Jan 1 of this year, there won't be any more mandatory warnings, so yes, there will be a lot more citations. The "break in" period for both the CRFL and the updated inland fishing license restriction have sunset.
However, if you do happen to end up with a citation, it isn't the end of the world. I can't speak for the rest of the state (but I'm almost certain that it is statewide), if you go and purchase a fishing license before your court date, the charge will be dropped. All of the WRC guys I know and work around will readily drop a fishing without a license charge if that person shows up to court with one. The goal of enforcing this regulation is to get everyone legal, not to collect the fines.