All saltwater anglers are reminded by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission that they can register with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for free beginning Sunday, Jan. 1, through the PFBC's website. NOAA requires annual registration from both Pennsylvania residents and non-residents – 16 years of age or older – who target or catch shad, striped bass and river herring from the Delaware River below Trenton Falls or in the Delaware River Estuary.
Beginning January 1, anglers who fish in Pennsylvania and its boundary waters have the option to register through the free PA Saltwater Angler Registry Program (PA-SARP), or to register for a fee through the federal online registry or by calling toll-free 1-888-674-7411. A web button in the left column of the PFBC website called "PA-SARP" directs anglers to the free registration page.
"As a registered saltwater angler, you may be asked by NOAA to participate in surveys about your fishing activity," PFBC executive director John Arway said. "Information obtained from these surveys is used to determine the health and sustainability of marine fisheries and to make informed decisions about how many fish can be caught the following year."
Anglers must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license prior to registering with PA-SARP. Anglers do not need to register if they meet one of the following exceptions: Are younger than age 16; hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling Permit, fish commercially under a valid license, possess a valid registration with the National Saltwater Angler Registry administered by NOAA or from another exempted state.
River herring, also known as alewife and blueback herring, and hickory shad – an endangered species are regulated with a closed fishing season, year-round. These species are not to be targeted. If caught, they are to be immediately released.
"Saltwater anglers should carry their Pennsylvania Saltwater Angler Registration Card with them while fishing as proof of compliance with this registration program," Arway said. "Anglers should contact the applicable state agency when fishing the tidal waters outside of Pennsylvania to be sure they are in compliance with the states saltwater angler registration requirements."
For more information, visit the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com.
Landowners interested in developing "backyard habitats" beneficial to wildlife are encouraged to check out the book "Landscaping for Wildlife in Pennsylvania," available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Written by Marcus Schneck, a noted outdoors and nature writer from Hamburg, the 160-page book comes complete with descriptions, drawings and photos of ideal habitat for a variety of species, from hummingbirds to bats, as well as construction plans for a number of wildlife nesting boxes.
Also, the book contains a chapter on nuisance wildlife and steps to address certain situations, as well as the importance of planting native species and a listing of recommended plants. Copies sell for $9.43, plus state sales tax and shipping and handling, and are available on the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us by clicking on "General Store" in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then on "Visit the Outdoor Shop" in the drop down menu listing, then on "Pennsylvania Game Commission Outdoor Shop" in the lower left-hand corner, then choose "Merchandise" from the banner listing" and then click on "Books" in the categories in the left-hand column. Orders also are being accepted at 1-888-888-3459.
In a special meeting held Tuesday, Dec. 20, the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners approved a policy manual for the board by a vote of six in favor, one opposed and one abstention. Those voting in favor were board president Ron Weaner, vice-president Ralph Martone, secretary Dave Putnam, commissioner Tom Boop, commissioner Jay Delaney and commissioner Bob Schlemmer; voting no was commissioner Greg Isabella and abstaining was commissioner Dave Schreffler.
"These policies will be directed toward maintaining a balance between the critical factors that influence the health and natural function of the Commonwealth's various wildlife habitats and hunting and wildlife related outdoor opportunities," according to the policy manual. To view the complete document, visit the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us, click on "About Us" in the menu bar at the top of the page, then on "Commissioner's Page" in the drop-down menu listing and then click on "Board Policy Manual."
This week's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, Sunday, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature an interview with Craig Morgan, who was named the program's 2011 Schuylkill County Outdoors Sportsmen of the Year.
A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, Jan. 5, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will meet, Thursday, Jan. 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at West Penn Archery, South Tamaqua. For information, call Kevin Titus at 570-668-5903.