A Guide on Regulations for Commercial Fishing in the United States

Commercial Fishing

Is your professional life in desperate need of a shake-up? Are you growing tired of the 9 to 5 rat race and wasting away your days in a cubicle? If you match this description, and you have a passion for angling, commercial fishing might offer you an exciting–if challenging–new career path. If you have ever watched an episode of “Deadliest Catch”, you know that the world of commercial and industrial fishing is a far cry from staring at a computer screen all day. While you get to work outside on a boat doing what you love, fishing commercially can also net you a sizable livelihood. On a global level, industrial fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry and in the United States, this line of work creates hundreds of thousands of jobs every year. Before you start gearing up your boat to cast your lines, however, you may want to acquaint yourself a bit with the regulations surrounding the commercial angling industry.

With so much money changing hands, and industry centered around the extraction of a natural resource from state and federal waters, it is really no wonder that industrial fishing is rather tightly regulated. This is the case for a couple of different, though equally important reasons. For one, commercial fishing is a dangerous enterprise. As you need to brave difficult conditions for long periods of time, often handling heavy, unwieldy equipment, it makes sense that there are permit requirements involved. An additional consideration to think about pertains to the conservation of our environment. Permits, quotas, and licenses can greatly aid in the reduction of overfishing practices, ensuring that future generations of commercial fishermen are able to earn a living on United States waters.

Commercial Fishing Permits at the State Level

One of the great things about fishing as a hobby is that it can be done just about anywhere there is a body of water. To a certain degree, this is also true for fishing for commercial purposes. Most states, though especially those situated on the coast, will have a series of permits and licenses available for commercial and industrial fishing. As a general rule of thumb, state waters will constitute anything inland, as well as the area from zero to three nautical miles from shore. If you are planning to operate a commercial trapping or netting business on state waters, you will want to check with your state’s appropriate agency on what is needed to do so legally.

If you need state fishing permits, there are a couple of ways in which you can go about getting them. One option is to contact your state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife agency directly, either by visiting their website or an office location and tracking down a paper application. From there, you can fill it out by hand and mail it in for processing. Of course, as a business owner and operator, you probably do not have the free time required for such a tedious, arduous process. At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we make it easy to get the licenses and endorsements you need online. Simply locate your state in our easy-to-read navigation and you will find a landing page containing all of your state’s available fishing permits.

Obtaining Your Federal Fishing License

Fishing commercially at the federal level will subject you to slightly different rules and regulations. As a fisherman, you understand that you will need to go where the fish are, and it is not unusual for that to mean fishing on federal waters. Everything from three to 200 nautical miles from land falls under federal jurisdiction. These waters are regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As the United States is home to nearly 100,000 miles of coastline, federal waters are incredibly expansive, leaving the NOAA with a tall task.

One way in which the NOAA simplifies its considerable duties is by dividing its permit and license offerings by region. For example, you can obtain commercial angling permits for Alaska, the West Coast, the Pacific Islands, the Atlantic, and the South. Each of those aforementioned regions will have its own species-specific permits, e.g. Alaskan halibut or American lobster in New England.

By using our website, you can obtain all of the federal fishing permits you need. We offer easy-to-fill web forms for all major NOAA regions, making us a convenient, one-stop shop for your commercial fishing license needs. As a note, it is worth remembering that you will probably find yourself fishing on both federal and state glasses of water from time to time, so it is generally wise to have permits for both.

Commercial Fishing

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