Is Your Business Covered by NOAA Commercial Fisheries Permits?

NOAA Commercial Fisheries

If you operate a commercial fishing business, it’s required that you have a permit. The NOAA commercial fisheries regulations vary by state and region, so it’s vital to ensure that you have the proper licenses before you start your fishing operation. Not only does this mean you can efficiently run your business, but it also saves you the risk of fines and penalties that can arise if you are not properly permitted. Use this guide to help you understand everything that’s involved.

Licensed Regions

It’s imperative that your license applies to the region in which you operate your commercial fishing business. If you fish in more than one region, you will need a permit for all of them. The most likely region will be the one where you live, but if you travel to fish, it will be that region. The NOAA-defined regions are as follows:

  • Alaska
  • Southeast
  • New England/Mid-Atlantic
  • Pacific Islands
  • West Coast
  • Atlantic Highly Migratory Species

To legally fish in any of these regions, you must have the appropriate permit, so pay close attention to the dividing lines so you apply for the correct one. Remember that you can apply for more than one region, if necessary.

Why Do You Need a Fishing Permit?

Recreational fishing permits are not the same as commercial fishing permits. To legally fish as a business, you must have a commercial license to do so. To operate a legitimate business, make sure you apply for the correct permit in the correct region and keep it up to date, following all renewal guidelines as needed.

State or Federal Fishing License?

There are some differences between state and federal fishing licenses. A federal permit applies if you are fishing three to two hundred nautical miles from shore. A state permit applies for fishing from the shore to three miles out. In some cases, licenses are restricted to a given species and if you plan to fish for it, you will need the appropriate permit to make it legal. You can apply for any and all of the commercial fishing permits you need, but keep in mind that you cannot fish until you have the approved and current permit on hand. 

NOAA Commercial Fisheries

How to Apply for a Commercial Fishing Permit

It’s fast and easy to apply for your commercial fishing permit online. Simply access our site, navigate to the form and fill in the necessary information. You can select which type of license you are applying for and narrow it down to the region and species, as it applies to your commercial fishing business. Once you complete the form, you will pay the fee and submit it. Then you wait for processing and approval before being granted your permit. Once you have it in hand, you’re ready to get out on the water and start fishing. 

Do you need help with the NOAA commercial fisheries application process? We’re here to help. Contact the Commercial Fisheries Permits Center today for all of the assistance you need to get the documentation you need to operate your fishing business. 

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