Do you have a passion for fishing? Are you considering turning that passion into a career? Starting your own commercial fishing business can be an exciting prospect–spending your days on the water, far away from the confines of a 9-to-5 office job, driving your own livelihood. Still, it can be a tough, dangerous business, and there is much preparation required before you can get your enterprise up and running. One aspect that you will need to address at the outset is obtaining the proper federal fishing licenses for your operation.
If you have a background or history with fishing, you probably are no stranger to fishing licenses. In most states, these are required even for recreational fishing. Additionally, you may have some familiarity with stamps and endorsements, which can be similar to certain federal requirements. Still, federal fishing permits have their own permissions, and before you head out to sea you will want to ensure that you have all of the paperwork you need.
What are Federal Fishing Licenses, and Who Requires Them?
Before you start thinking about applying for a federal commercial fishing permit, you should probably determine what exactly you need. First, you will want to ask yourself: Will you be fishing in federal waters? Typically, the area from zero to three nautical miles from shore is within the jurisdiction of the state, while everything from three to 200 nautical miles out is deemed to be federal waters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is tasked with managing fisheries in federal waters, and, as such, they issue federal fishing permits.
Though they may seem like a bit of a paperwork hassle, it is worth remembering that commercial fishing permits do serve a valuable purpose. At the federal level, permits and quotas allow for better, more effective management of U.S. fisheries. This is important as knowing who is accessing our fisheries, and preventing overfishing, allows for more sustainable fishing opportunities for the industry moving forward.
The Different Types of Federal Fishing Permits
The NOAA, as you may be able to deduce, faces a significant challenge. The U.S. is home to massive expanses of coastline. To simplify things a bit, the NOAA separates out their permits by region. Alaska, the Atlantic, the South, the West Coast, and the Pacific Island regions all have their own subsets of permits. For instance, you can obtain a Western Pacific Pelagic Squid jig permit for the Pacific Islands, and an American Lobster permit for New England.
Federal commercial fishing permits are typically species-specific, and they are valid for a specific territory. It is worth noting that fishing is rarely a stationary activity, and you may find yourself moving to wherever the fish are biting. That can mean fishing in both state and federal waters. With this in mind, it is often smart to keep permits for both state and federal jurisdictions.
Get Your Permits Online Today!
At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we have online forms for all of the permits you need. By working with us, you can prepare multiple commercial fishing permit applications via our SSL-encrypted web portal. To learn more, contact us today.