Commercial Fishing in Federal Waters Vs. State Waters

commercial fishing

If fishing is more than just a passion and you have made it your business, you understand that there are rules and regulations to be adhered to. For the ongoing viability of your commercial fishing operation, making sure you are in compliance with state and federal laws is paramount. 

To keep your sales up, you also need to go where the fish are biting. With this in mind, if you find yourself in federal or state waters, it is crucial that you know the regulatory differences between the two.

Where Do State Waters End and Federal Waters Begin?

If the latest reports and radar findings are suggesting you cast your lines farther away from shore than usual, you may be uncertain of whether or not you are still in state waters. As a general rule of thumb, in the U.S., state waters extend from zero to three nautical miles from shore. In Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, however, that range is zero to nine nautical miles.

commercial fishing

Everything from the state water line out to a distance of 200 nautical miles is considered federal waters. As you can likely imagine, licensing requirements vary for these two distinct jurisdictions. To put it in simple terms, to fish commercially in state waters, you will need to carry the right state license. If you are fishing, trapping, or netting for commercial purposes in federal waters, federal licensing is required.

Another aspect to consider, particularly when fishing in both state and federal waters, is species-specific permits. Federal waters may protect certain species that state waters do not, so it is always wise to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations in your region.

Getting The Correct Commercial Fishing Permits

You may have a lifetime of experience out on the water. You know where to drop your nets and just the right weather conditions to maximize your catch. What you may not understand, however, are the in’s and out’s of commercial fishing permits. Fortunately, we can help.

At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we can assist you in getting the permits and licenses you need to fish commercially in your region. Our simple-to-navigate website features a plethora of forms covering all of the major U.S. coastline geographies. No matter if you need a basic longline permit, or something more situationally specific, like a pelagic squid jig permit, we have got you covered.

Take a moment to explore our website and see for yourself how many applications we offer. Utilizing our simple-to-fill forms, you can begin processing your permit request as soon as possible, getting you back out on the water where you belong.

Learn More About How We Can Help You

If you are seeking a commercial fishing license or endorsement for a region in the United States, we can help. Our streamlined forms and SSL-encrypted portal ensure that your application will be submitted accurately and securely. Do not delay – contact one of our helpful service representatives today.

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