New York saltwater fishermen will get a free pass for two years under a budget agreement between Senate and Assembly leaders and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that would suspend a controversial $10 state license.

The agreement hammered out Tuesday night would deprive New York of $2.4 million in annual revenue, as well as $1.4 million in federal sportfishing aid that was anticipated in 2012-13, according to Cuomo's budget office. A free registry will replace the license program.

The license program was set up in 2009 to satisfy federal reporting requirements intended to improve data on the number of fish anglers catch.

Long Island's recreational fishing industry vigorously opposed the license, which costs residents $10 per year. They called it a tax on a previously free resource and said the requirement hurt local tackle shops and party and charter boats.

"It's a bright sunny day for saltwater fishermen," state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said Wednesday. He has sponsored bills that would have repealed the saltwater licensing.

In December, seven Long Island towns won a lawsuit against the state over the program. They said the license infringed on their jurisdiction over town waters as conferred by historic patents.

But conservation advocates and some recreational anglers defend the license. They say the fees are equivalent to those paid by other sportsmen, and support fisheries research, artificial reefs and other programs that serve saltwater fishermen.

The change came out of a Senate budget provision that proposed to repeal the program. Cuomo's office confirmed the agreement Wednesday.

The changes include issuing refunds to anglers who already shelled out $150 for a lifetime license -- a total of $0.7 million, state environmental officials said. Lost revenue would be made up by the general fund, according to Zeldin and Stephen Liss, counsel to Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), the Assembly environmental chair and a staunch defender of the license.

New York will also forfeit $1.4 million in federal sportfishing aid because, Liss said, the money only goes to states with license programs that make at least $1 more than they cost to administer -- criteria the free registry does not meet.

Charles Witek of West Babylon, a member of the Coastal Conservation Association angler group, said the decision would hurt the state's ability to safeguard marine resources.

"It's embarrassing that saltwater anglers are coming out and saying that it's fine for freshwater fishermen and hunters and trappers to pay for licenses and for us to fish for free," Witek said.

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