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SIP Frequently Asked Questions

Saltwater Information Program - SIP 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What’s this all about?

The Saltwater Information Program (SIP) permit is part of a nationwide effort to collect contact information annually for everyone who fishes recreationally in saltwater. Doing so will help state and federal fishing effort surveyors improve their ability to contact anglers periodically and ask them questions about their fishing activities. This information is the backbone of good saltwater fishery management. 

Having an accurate Georgia “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 populations, and will lead to better fishery management decisions to create and maintain sustainable saltwater fisheries.  It will also allow us to document the importance of saltwater recreational fishing so that services like boat ramps and fishing piers are provided and maintained. 

 I already have a Georgia saltwater fishing license. Why do I need this permit? 

There is only one type of saltwater fishing license in Georgia and that’s a 1-day license for fishing from shore in the saltwaters of the state. The SIP permit is automatically included when purchasing this 1-day license. All other short-term or annual Georgia fishing licenses cover both freshwater and saltwater and will require you to obtain the SIP permit when recreationally fishing in saltwater. Plus, tens of thousands of Georgians have lifetime, senior, honorary or other long-term licenses that are not renewed each year. 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: The SIP permit will help us to ensure fish are out there to catch when you, your children or grandchildren go saltwater fishing. Besides, this free permit exempts all Georgia anglers from having to register with the federal government through something known as the National Saltwater Angler Registry, and pay a federal registration charge every year.

How much does the SIP permit cost?

The SIP permit is free, whether you add it to an existing license or include it in the purchase of a new license. 

Isn’t this going to cost DNR money that won’t be available to spend on other fishery management activities like hatcheries, boat ramps, and such?

The company that manages the Georgia hunting and fishing license system is not charging the state any extra to administer the SIP permit process. The one-time cost of updating the computer programming of the license system to include the SIP permit was paid by a grant from NOAA Fisheries. 

Will the SIP permit be available like other hunting and fishing licenses?

You bet. We want this to be as easy and user friendly as possible. Your SIP permit is available through any license vendor currently selling hunting and fishing licenses in person, by telephone or internet. Please make sure you provide an accurate email address, if you have one. Then we can send you an automatic email reminder every year when it is time for you to renew your license and SIP permit. If you renew early, you will receive a “renewal discount” and be charged $2.75 less for your new license and SIP permit.

What does my SIP permit look like?

When you get a SIP permit you will receive an updated print out that adds the SIP permit to all your other valid licenses so you only have to carry one piece of paper. If you have a lifetime, senior or other long-term license, you will need to carry that along with the documentation of your SIP permit.

I’m a senior citizen and have a senior license. What does any of this have to do with me?

Even if you have a senior license you still need to obtain a SIP permit if you plan to fish in saltwater. We need contact information from all saltwater anglers age 16 and older to ensure that our survey results are accurate.

I bought a Georgia lifetime hunting and fishing license years ago. I don’t need to register, do I?

Yes, if you plan to fish in saltwater in Georgia. We need contact information from all saltwater anglers age 16 and older to ensure that our survey results are accurate.

 I only fish with a saltwater guide who has a license to cover everyone on board. What about me?

You do not need a SIP permit. Have a great time!

I only fish with a saltwater guide, but that guide does not have the license that covers everyone on board. Do I have to get a SIP permit?

Yes, you need a valid fishing license and the SIP permit. 

What happens if I lose my SIP permit?

You can reprint another copy of your permit by accessing the DNR Wildlife Resources Division website through the licensing portal "Online Licensing System for Georgia DNR". Or, you can go to a Georgia hunting and fishing license vendor, and they’ll do essentially the same thing for you. There is no cost to print another copy online or if you visit a license vendor.

What happens if my contact data changes after I register or I have an error in my SIP permit data? What should I do?

You can correct it yourself on the DNR Wildlife Resources Division website through the licensing portal at no cost. 

Do I also have to sign up with the National Saltwater Angler Registry, which went into effect in January 2010 and charges a registration fee?

No. We created the SIP permit to collect angler contact information required under federal law so Georgia anglers don’t have to register directly with the federal government and pay a federal registration fee. Because of the SIP permit, the National Saltwater Angler Registry no longer applies to anglers in Georgia. Forget about it.  Our program will collect the angler contact information necessary to maintain Georgia’s exemption, but we need your help. To keep Georgia exempt from the national registry, it is critical that anglers do their part and register with us if required to do so. It’ll only take a minute. 

 I have family and friends coming to visit and they want to saltwater fish from shore for a day. What do I need to do?

They can purchase a 1-day saltwater shore license for $5 and the free SIP permit will automatically be added to their shore license. They’ll give their contact information when they buy the license, and we’ll add their name to our database of saltwater anglers.

I fish on a private hotel pier that is commercially licensed, so I don’t need a fishing license. Do I need to register?

No, you do not need a SIP permit.

Does the SIP permit apply to commercial fishermen?

Commercial fishermen have commercial fishing licenses, and fill out extensive mandatory harvest reports. The SIP permit is only for those who fish for fun, not as a business. However, a commercial fisherman fishing recreationally in saltwater must follow all the recreational fishing rules and must have a valid SIP permit.

I have a federal highly migratory species permit, such as a tuna permit. Do I have to register?

Yes, if you’re going to recreationally fish in saltwater in Georgia with any license other than a 1-day saltwater shore fishing license, you need a valid SIP permit. It’ll only take a minute. It’s free.

My question isn’t answered here and now I’m really confused. Help!

Remember the general rule of thumb: As of Jan. 1, 2013, virtually every adult saltwater angler (16 and older) in Georgia will need a valid Saltwater Information Program permit along with a valid fishing license. If that doesn’t help, please call the Coastal Resources Division of Georgia DNR at (912) 264-7218.