A Guide on the Federal Fishing License

federal fishing license

Getting paid to be out on the water catching fish is every fisherman’s dream. Commercial fishing, while logistically challenging and often physically demanding, can be lucrative when done properly. One important aspect to consider before launching any sort of commercial fishing business is the process of acquiring a federal fishing license.

Every state in the U.S. has different rules and regulations when it comes to commercially fishing on their respective waters. In most places, however, state waters end about three miles from shore, and everything beyond that (up to 200 miles) is under federal jurisdiction. Since the odds are good your desired catch will lead you into federal waters, having the appropriate license is paramount.

federal fishing license

Obtaining a Standard Federal Fishing License

The U.S. government offers an assortment of licenses and permits for commercial fishing. Depending on what you are seeking to catch and sell, you may need to carry more than one license concurrently. Regardless of where your business will take your licensing needs, a good place to start is generally with a standard commercial fishing license.

Residents and non-residents alike are eligible to receive a commercial fishing license, so long as they do not have any current license revocations or suspensions. You can acquire a license by completing the necessary application and paying the requisite fee to the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Knowing Your Endorsements

While a standard commercial fishing license is an appropriate starting point, it is more than likely not the end of your licensing journey. You will want to consult with your local regulatory authority about any specific endorsements you may need for your commercial fishing operation. 

In many cases, endorsements are state-specific and serve as preservation tactics for the catches local to that area. Take, for example, a shellfish endorsement. If you are a commercial fisherman in North Carolina interested in harvesting shrimp, you will need a shellfish endorsement, which is only valid on state waters.

Applying for Your License Online

There is no sugarcoating it – applying for a federal fishing registration can be a complicated business. This is also true for various state licenses. Rounding up the right form, putting ink to paper, and making sure that you are mailing everything to the correct office can be a difficult path to traverse.

The Commercial Fishing Permits Center can help. We are a private, web-based service that specializes in helping commercial fishermen acquire the permits they need to grow their businesses. From standard federal permits, to state- and species-specific endorsements, we offer easy-to-fill forms to make your application process a breeze.

The Commercial Fishing Permits Center Can Help You

Are you new to commercial fishing and need some basic federal licensing? Our team of customer service representatives can help you. Take a moment to survey our site – you will see that we offer online applications for licenses, permits, and endorsements in all major U.S. commercial fishing regions. Do not submit your applications on your own – use our SSL-encrypted portal to transmit your personal data securely to the appropriate authority.

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