If your dream is to operate a commercial fishing boat, there’s a lot that goes into being prepared for the job. Of course, having the right boat is a good first step. Beyond that, you’ll need to acquire the right equipment and hire a crew if you need one. There’s also the matter of paperwork. The National Marine Fisheries Service can help you get through the documentation as you apply for the proper permits and organize all of the paperwork that goes with owning a boat and running a business. Here’s what you should know.
What is the National Marine Fisheries Service?
Between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, the United States boasts thousands upon thousands of miles of shoreline. There are numerous stocked fisheries that can be accessed in all regions along every coast. Anything between 3 and 200 nautical miles out is considered federal waters, while the ocean closer to shore is generally under state jurisdiction. Federal waters are monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), under which the National Marine Fisheries Service falls. To legally fish in federal waters, including the Exclusive Economic Zone, you will need the proper permits, which are often issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
How to Get the Right Permits
Part of running a successful commercial fishing business is having a well-thought-out business plan. With that, you can create a budget, determine where you want to fish and for what species, and organize your paperwork so it’s current, accurate and up to date. Part of this process includes getting your fishing permits. Permits are granted based on region and you may apply for just one but could need more than one if you plan to cross regions. The regions are as follows:
Within each region are species-specific permits you will need if you plan to fish for any that are protected or under quota limitations and restrictions. For example, American lobster or tuna. Again, if you plan to fish for more than one species that requires a special permit, you will need to apply for all of them separately and keep them each current.
How to Apply
Fortunately, in today’s digital world, it’s a fairly simple and straightforward process to apply for your commercial fishing permits online. You can input all of the relevant information into the system and even pay the fees at the same time. This shortens the processing time and is a much more efficient way to get all of your permits in one easy place. As mentioned above, your permits will need to be renewed before their expiration date, so it’s important to keep track of when they are up for renewal to avoid fines and penalties.
Are you ready to apply for your permits and need more information about how the National Marine Fisheries Service is involved. We’re here to help. Contact the Commercial Fishing Permits Center today to answer all of your questions.