The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced that it will extend the renewal period of commercial fishing licenses, previously set to expire on January 13, until January 31, 2023.

DEM is experiencing a license renewal backlog as it continues to transition from combining several outdated licensing systems into one modern computing platform called Rhode Island Outdoors (RIO), which will have the functionality to handle nearly all the agency’s outdoors licensing and permitting services.

While DEM continues to integrate data from the old IT systems to the new, it is asking users to renew by mail or in person at the DEM Office of Boat Registration and Licensing located at 235 Promenade Street, Room 360, Providence, RI, 02908 or call 401-222-6647. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

Until the close of business, Tuesday, January 31, it will be permissible to fish with a valid 2022 license if your renewal has not been processed in time. DEM sincerely appreciates customers’ patience and regrets the delays and inconveniences experienced by some who have traveled to the main DEM office in Providence to process their applications.

DEM has mailed license renewal notices to all 2,800 current individual license holders in its system. The renewal window runs from Jan. 1 to midnight on Feb. 28 for the three categories with the most license holders: resident and nonresident standard fishing license (ranging from $150 to $425 for RI residents and from $300 to $1,750 for nonresidents, depending on the number of endorsements), multipurpose ($450 for RI residents, not available to nonresidents), and shellfish over 65 (available at no fee to RI residents 65 and older, it allows participation in the quahaug fishery sector at basic harvest and gear levels).

Failure to renew licenses by Feb. 28 will result in the assessment of a $200 late fee if license holders opt to renew their marine licenses during the 60-day grace period that follows immediately for late renewals. It runs from March 1 through April 29. Deadline dates and renewal grace periods do not extend the validity of expired licenses. Until further notice, from January 31 onward, it will be unlawful to fish without a valid 2023 license. The license year runs from January 1 to December 31, 2023.

Licensed fishers are obligated to comply with possession limits for finfish as provided in the Division of Marine Fisheries listserv, by dedicated phone line at 401-423-1920, or on the webpage. Licensed shellfishers are obligated to comply with conditional closure areas as provided on DEM’s dedicated phone line at 401-222-2900. Also, all applicants who harvest shellfish must complete a 30-minute online tutorial, which is located here. For more information on marine fisheries meetings and notices, please subscribe to the listserv by clicking here to stay up-to-date on marine fishery meetings and notices.

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