How to Obtain Your Federal Fishing License

Federal Fishing License

For some, commercial fishing offers an ideal, though challenging profession. If you have a love for angling, and an itch to spend your days outdoors, this line of work may be right for you. Of course, as you may already know, it can be a rigorous and physically demanding job. Anyone who has caught an episode or two of “Deadliest Catch” can tell you that. If you are willing to spend hours–sometimes days–at sea, often navigating hazardous conditions, you may find that commercial fishing is a rewarding and lucrative career path. Before you can leave the harbor, however, you are likely going to need a federal fishing license. Not too much unlike the fishing license you obtain from your state every year for recreational and catch-and-release fishing, a federal license has the enhancement of allowing you to commercially fish in federal waters.

The United States is home to almost 100,000 miles of coastline. Off those shores, in the areas from three to 200 nautical miles out, are waters that fall under federal jurisdiction. These territories are regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Faced with a sizable task, the NOAA is in charge of protecting our nation’s fisheries, and one way they accomplish this is by monitoring who is on our waters. By issuing permits and licenses, the NOAA can also prevent overfishing, ensuring that future generations of commercial fishermen will be able to earn a livelihood on federal waters.

Finding the Right Federal Fishing License for You

With such a large area of water to govern, the NOAA simplifies things a bit by issuing permits by region. They offer licenses for Alaska, the West Coast, the Pacific Islands, the Mid-Atlantic/New England, and the South. Each region will have species-specific licenses and permits that are applicable to that geography. For example, you can obtain a permit for King Mackerel in the South Atlantic, or a halibut license for Alaska.

Once you have determined where you will be fishing and what you will be fishing for, you can set out to obtain your permits from the NOAA. There are a couple of ways in which you can accomplish this. You can visit the NOAA’s website and locate the right PDF application, print it out, fill it out by hand, and return it to their offices for processing. You can also work with a private service such as ours at the Commercial Fishing Permits Center and submit your application online using our SSL-encrypted web portal.

Federal Fishing License

Assistance with State-Level Permits

If you find yourself fishing within 3 miles of shore, you are going to need a commercial fishing license for your state. It is not unusual for a commercial fishing business to carry both state and federal permits. At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we can also help you in applying for your state permits. Simply select your state from our navigation, and you will be brought to an easy-to-understand landing page laying out all the available permit options. To learn more about our services, contact us by phone or email today.

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