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RALEIGH, N.C. (Nov. 20) - Effective Jan. 1, anyone 16 years and older fishing recreationally in North Carolina's coastal waters will need a fishing license. Anglers under 16 will not need to purchase a license.

A Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL) will be required to harvest finfish in the state's coastal fishing waters, which include sounds, coastal rivers and their tributaries, out to three miles into the ocean. Recreational anglers who catch fish from three miles to 200 miles offshore will be required to have this license in order to transport fish back to the shore.

Anglers fishing recreationally in joint waters - areas managed by the Marine Fisheries Commission and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission - will need either a CRFL or an inland fishing license.

Currently, anglers 16 and over need a license when fishing in public, inland waters, which are managed by the Wildlife Resources Commission.
Revenues generated from sales of CRFLs must be used to conserve and enhance North Carolina's marine fisheries resources, according to Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Director Pres Pate.

"License revenues will go into two marine resources funds managed by the state's Wildlife Resources and Marine Fisheries commissions," Pate said. "A grant program is being established to disburse the revenues in four main areas: habitat protection, public access, resource enhancement and public information. We envision academic institutions, government agencies and conservation groups, among others, having the opportunity to apply for these grants."

In 2005, North Carolina had over 2 million recreational anglers fishing from coastal waters and was ranked third in the nation for the amount of recreationally harvested saltwater fish.

"In addition to providing additional revenues, data generated from the new license will also provide fisheries managers with more accurate estimates on the numbers of recreational anglers and the type and amount of fish they are catching." said Pate. "That enhanced data will help us make better decisions about allocations, about setting seasons and about resolving user conflicts."

Prices for the CRFL will vary depending on residency, age, duration and type of license purchased. For residents, the annual cost for a CRFL will be $15; for a 10-day license, $5. For non-residents, the annual cost for a CRFL will be $30; for a 10-day license, $10.

Those who purchased a lifetime sportsman or lifetime comprehensive fishing license, issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission, do not need to purchase a CRFL if they purchased their lifetime license before Jan. 1, 2006. To view a complete list of license options, visit DMF's Web site,, or the Wildlife Resources Commission's Web site,

The cost to fish in North Carolina's public, inland waters will remain at $15 annually for residents.

A CRFL, available for sale Jan. 1, can be purchased in four ways:

Call the Wildlife Resources Commission at 1 (888) 248-6834. Hours of operation are: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Go to the Wildlife Resources Commission's Web site,
Visit a Wildlife Service Agent. Most are located in bait-and-tackle shops, hunting and sporting good stores and larger chain stores across the state.
Visit one of six DMF offices located on the coast. For locations, visit the agency's Web site,

Those who receive food stamps, Medicaid or Work First Family Assistance can obtain a subsistence waiver through their county Department of Social Services. This annual waiver allows the holder to fish recreationally with hook-and-line in inland waters (with the exception of Public Mountain Trout Waters), joint waters and coastal waters.

For more information on the CRFL, including a comprehensive list of all available licenses, or to download a frequently asked questions document, visit the Wildlife Resources Commission's Web site,
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