California Commercial Fishing Permits and Licenses

California commercial fishing permits

If you have a passion for angling, commercial fishing could be the career for you. Though the hours can be long and physically taxing, you may find spending your days out on the water casting lines to be immensely rewarding. You should know, however, that there is a bit more to this process than simply heading out on your boat and catching fish to sell back on land. On top of figuring out logistical matters, you will also need to make sure that you have the correct California commercial fishing permits before you leave the dock.

Why California, you may ask? Well, for one, California sits on a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, leaving ample room for commercial fishing operations. There is also a diverse array of species available, including high-dollar catches like tuna. The weather is also especially conducive to fishing year-round, allowing you to maximize your catch, and in turn, your profits. If this all sounds appealing to you, you are going to want to learn the ins and outs of fishing permits and licenses in the Golden State.

Becoming Familiar with the Different Types of Licenses and Permits

As you can likely imagine, navigating the bureaucratic labyrinth of permits and licenses can be a bit complicated. In California, there are a number of different permits available for both state and federal fisheries, so it is helpful to identify your starting point. You may wish to do this by determining if you will be fishing on state or federal waters.

Federal waters, which fall under the jurisdiction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), encompass the area between three and 200 nautical miles from shore. State waters, on the other hand, are everything from zero to three miles from the land. Depending on what you are seeking to catch, it is possible that you will need permits for both jurisdictions.

Identifying the Correct Permits for Your Business

Before you can apply for any species-specific permits in California, you will first need to apply for a commercial fishing license. These are available to residents and non-residents alike (though at different fees) and can be granted to generally anyone over the age of 16. Once you have obtained this license, you can then seek out the correct endorsements for your business.

Non-restrictive commercial fishing permits are broken down by different types of catch, and there are options for everything from anchovies to sea urchins. Remember, it is crucial that you have the correct permits before you sell anything you catch as you could be in violation of state law.

If you find yourself fishing in federal waters, you will want to review what the NOAA makes available in the West Coast region. They offer a similar, though slightly more broad approach, to the species-specific permits that they make available. 

California commercial fishing permits

How to Obtain California Commercial Fishing Permits Online

You can save yourself a considerable amount of time by seeking out the permits you need online. At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we offer easy-to-use web forms for all of the permits and licenses you need. To learn more, take a moment to browse our site, or contact one of our customer service representatives by phone or email.

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