How to Obtain Alaska Federal Commercial Fishing Permits Online

alaska federal commercial fishing

Are you hoping to do some fishing in the Gulf of Alaska? Perhaps you have your eyes on the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. Regardless of which destination you have in mind, you’re going to need a Federal Fishing Permit, or FFP. This federally-issued document is necessary if you want to go fishing in these waters on a vessel registered in the U.S.

There is another commercial permit called the Federal Processor Permit, or FPP. This permit is necessary for any stationary floating processing vessels that operate exclusively in Alaskan waters. 

Why an Alaska Federal Commercial Fishing Permit Matters

Though they are called ‘fishing permits’, these documents are not actually a permit to go fishing. Rather, they are necessary for anyone involved in the Alaskan commercial fishing business. Technically a processing vessel doesn’t engage in the fishing itself, nor do any shoreside processors who receive and/or process the groundfish. Yet they are still involved in the commercial fishing industry, so they are also required to obtain a permit so they can legally operate their business.

alaska federal commercial fishing

Benefits of the Permits

The main benefit of obtaining these Alaska federal commercial fishing permits is that you are allowed to legally operate your vessel and use it to fish in waters that are part of the state of Alaska. Neglecting to obtain the correct permits before you’re on the water can result in serious legal consequences, and it’s not worth the risk.

Many state departments that oversee terrestrial wildlife, marine wildlife, and aquatic wildlife place restrictions on the species which you are allowed to hunt and catch.  Others encourage catch and release or limit that number that you’re allowed to hunt or catch. States often do this when they encounter population issues that can cause harm to the local ecosystem. This permit gives you the right to catch the following species of fish:

  • Alaska Groundfish
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Chum Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Pacific Halibut
  • Pacific Herring
  • Pink Salmon
  • Sablefish
  • Sockeye Salmon

What You Need to Obtain Your Alaska Federal Commercial Fishing Permit

You can submit an application for an FFP online. An FFP lasts for three years, so after three years you will need to apply for a renewal. Fortunately, there is only one document for new FFPs, renewing FFPs, amending FFPs, or surrendering FFPs. A separate document is used to request a replacement.

No matter the reason for submitting the application you will be required to supply the same information; anything other than an application for a new permit will need your existing FFP number though. First, you will need to supply personal information about the owner of the vessel, as well as the name and contact information for the business that they represent. 

The second block asks for information about the vessel that you are going to be using when you’re fishing on Alaska state waters. This includes (but isn’t limited to) the name, city, and state of the home port, gross tonnage, and USCG documentation number.

The third block covers information regarding the Alaska federal commercial fishing permit itself. This includes the area of operation, the type of vessel operation (catcher, catcher/processor, mothership, or tender vessel), gear types, and whether or not you would like a GOA inshore processing endorsement to be issued.

The fourth block asks you whether or not you intend to participate in fisheries with any gear other than jig gear. This includes Pacific cod, pollock, and BSAI Atka mackerel. If so you need to indicate if you will be trawl, hook-and-line, or pot gear type. The fifth and final block asks for your signature.

An FPP asks for similar information such as the contact information and indicating the type of application. Instead of information about the gear you’re using to fish you instead need to provide information about your SFP or CQE vessel, and information about the shoreside processor. 

A Better Way to Manage Your Commercial Fishing Permits Online

Only needing to worry about one document is extremely convenient. Not every type of permit application is like this, however. Finding the right forms and completing them properly can be a hassle, no matter how short they may be. Making a mistake might mean that you have to start over. Rather than take that risk you can avoid all of the hassles completely by using the Commercial Fishing Permits Center website.

 We make it easy to find and upload your documents, and manage the submission process for you. Not only is this a faster and easier way to process your national marine fisheries documents, we also offer auto-renewals up to five years in advance. If you have any questions about what we offer or need help completing a form you can contact us directly at (866) 292-4204. Our team is more than happy to help you.

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