The Virginia Marine Resources Commission administers a program of mandatory registration for saltwater fishing. This program, called FIP, began in January 2011 and is part of a nationwide effort to collect contact information annually for everyone who fishes recreationally in the country’s saltwaters.
NOTE: if you have an annual Virginia saltwater fishing license of any type, or an annual Potomac River Fisheries Sport Fishing License, you DO NOT have to register with the state FIP. You will be automatically registered when you buy a license and give your contact information.
Bottom line: if you are over 16 and drop a line in saltwater, you need to be registered.
According to their website
“Having an accurate Virginia “phone book” of all recreational saltwater anglers will provide a better picture of how many people go fishing and what they catch. This will result in a better understanding of the impact of recreational fishing on fish stocks, and will lead to better fishery management decisions to create and maintain sustainable saltwater fisheries. Hundreds of thousands of Virginians are exempt by law from having to buy a saltwater fishing license. Without their contact information, there is no way to do more than make an educated guess how often they go fishing and how many fish they catch. That’s a problem. Bottom line: This registration program will help us to ensure fish are out there to catch when you, your children or grandchildren go fishing. Besides, this free program exempts all Virginia anglers from having to register with the federal saltwater fishing registry, known as the National Saltwater Angler Registry, and pay a federal registration charge every year.” (emphasis added).
Go online here to fill out the form and register. It’s free.
“Take a number…” If you register online, print out the final form that shows your registration information and your FIP number. Otherwise, just write down the number and keep it with you when you go fishing. Everyone gets a unique, counterfeit-proof number.