Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY — In “the brief” this week, the only thing similar about the reports given by the MML (Maryland Muncipal League) and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is that both entities are commonly known by their respective acronyms.

Yet, when representatives from each organization visited city hall to give reports to the Mayor and City Council, one broached the subject of budget cuts and pending legislature, while the other touched on saltwater fishing licenses.

Town Still Pushing For Statewide Helmet Law

Mayor Rick Meehan continued to express his hopes that the state will follow Ocean City’s lead and pass a bill that would require helmets to be worn by scooter riders across the state.

Maryland Municipal League Executive Director Scott Hancock told Meehan, “several delegates have expressed interest in submitting such a bill.”

Councilman Jim Hall reported that during a recent breakfast with former Ocean City Mayor and current Delegate Jim Mathias that “Jim says he is on the case for the scooter helmet law, and he is going to be working on a bill for this year.”

Saltwater Anglers Now

Must Get NOAA Permit

The vast majority of saltwater anglers in the state will need to get a permit from NOAA in order to fish for any anadromous species in tidal waters or any fish in federal waters as of Jan. 1, 2010, according to NOAA Recreational Fisheries Coordinator Forbes Darby.

Darby briefed the Mayor and Council on Tuesday outlining a new federal regulation that will require saltwater anglers to register online with NOAA before being allowed to fish in federal waters.

“There will be no cost in 2010, but there will more than likely be a small fee in 2011, but we will not be making a profit on the permits, as the price of the permit will only be to cover administrative costs,” said Darby.

The permits, according to Darby, are more for data compilation, as the list of permitted saltwater anglers will be a “much more efficient way to tabulate information than our current method of randomly calling coastal homes, where maybe only one out of ten have active fisherman in the house.”

Darby called the database a “phonebook of fisherman” and stressed that the process to get the permit with NOAA is immediate via online registration, and a hard-copy permit would be sent after confirmation.

“Basically, it won’t make anyone have to wait to go fishing, because once you register, you’ll get a number to use until the actual permit is mailed to you,” he said.