The Four Most Common FAQs About Commercial Fishing Permits

commercial fishing permits

Having a commercial fishing permit is required if you plan to operate your vessel as part of your business. This can be quite a lucrative job that allows you to work for yourself, but there are plenty of considerations to keep in mind if you’re just starting out, including being properly licensed to operate. Even if you’ve been a commercial fisherman before, you may have questions. These are the four most common questions we get about obtaining a commercial fishing permit. 

Where Do I Get a Commercial Fishing Permit?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issues commercial fishing permits. This is the same entity that monitors weather conditions and puts out the forecast. You can apply for your permit online, which makes the process simpler and easier. Fishing without a commercial fishing license is illegal and can result in fines, legal problems, and loss of your vessel. It’s also important to apply for any necessary state fishing permits for the area where you plan to fish. 

What Types of Licenses Are There?

The NOAA divides the country into regions and each has its own commercial fishing license. Each is then divided into additional sections that may have additional or differing permits. These regions are as follows:

  • Alaska
  • New England/Mid-Atlantic
  • Pacific Islands
  • Southeast
  • West Coast
  • Atlantic highly migratory species

In addition, there are some species that require an additional permit to be allowed to catch them. That includes Atlantic tuna, Alaskan rockfish, and many more. Be sure you understand exactly what permits you need so that you aren’t caught without them. 

Should I Get a State or Federal Permit?

This depends on what you are catching and where you are catching it. From zero to three nautical miles from shore, you are considered in state waters. The regulations vary from state to state so be sure you familiarize yourself with the rules in your area. From three to two hundred nautical miles from shore, you are in federal waters and will need a federal commercial fishing license. If you’re fishing in both state and federal waters, you need a permit for each. 

commercial fishing permits

How Can I Apply for My Permit Online?

By working with us, it’s easy to get your commercial fishing permits online. Simply follow the easy steps on the website. You’ll need to fill out the proper paperwork and provide any necessary documentation. You can pay for your permits and submit them to our system. Once they are approved, you’ll be notified and can obtain the certificates that give you permission to fish. Using our online portal is much faster than the old way of filling out the papers by hand and mailing them in. It’s also a good way to reduce the risk of error because we check all paperwork for you. This cuts down on fees and wasted time while you wait for corrections to be made. 

Are you ready to apply for your commercial fishing permit? The Commercial Fishing Permits Center is here to help. Check out our website or contact us today to get started. 

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