Do you own or operate your own commercial fishing enterprise? Or, are you thinking about getting into this difficult, though lucrative industry? In any event, if you are involved in commercial or industrial fishing, you know that there are certain responsibilities that you need to observe and follow through on. For starters, you need to adhere to standard safety practices. This means keeping a well-stocked first aid kit on your boat, along with an ample supply of life preservers for yourself and your crew. You also need to keep your boat well-maintained and in good working order. As you will be spending long hours and sometimes days or weeks out at sea, your vessel needs to be prepared for the rigors and demands that come with that. Of course, as a commercial fish operator, you also need to work within the confines of rules and regulations that are issued at the state and federal levels. While this is most commonly accomplished by having the proper commercial fishing permits, for Alaskan operators, you will also want to be educated on what Amendment 80 means for you.
One of the most appealing aspects of commercial fishing for a living is that it can be done nearly anywhere on the coastline. Of course, different regions of the U.S.–and the globe, for that matter–will be better than others when it comes to how bountiful the fisheries are. Certain areas will also have their own unique native species, some of which command a higher dollar on the open market. If you are a commercial fisherman by trade, there are not many better destinations than Alaska. Tucked way up north and grazing the Arctic Circle, this massive, largely untouched state features almost endless miles of coastline, and it is home to much sought-after halibut and snow crab. If you are thinking about commercial fishing in Alaska, it is important to develop a firm grasp on Amendment 80, as it may have a direct impact on your bottom line.
Amendment 80: An Explainer
You were likely drawn to the profession of commercial fishing because of the sense of freedom and simplicity it offers. After all, if you wanted to deal with rules and paperwork, you could have a number of regular 9 to 5 jobs. Still, if you own your own business, you know that sometimes bureaucracy is unavoidable, and in the case of Amendment 80, it can be beneficial to your livelihood and bottom line.
At a very basic level, this amendment delegates certain species of fish to the processor sector. It also affords qualified vessels the opportunity to form cooperatives in order to maximize their catch. This amendment was put into place more than 14 years ago now, and it covers a large volume of different species. The general qualification is Alaska Groundfish, which actually covers a number of different specific fish, such as yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, northern rockfish, Atka mackerel, and more. Certain species within this Amendment are also subject to sideboard limits, though there are some exceptions to that.
Getting the Right Alaskan Commercial Fishing Permits
As a commercial fisherman in Alaska, you have a duty to adhere to the rules of this amendment. However, you will also want to make sure that you have proper fishing licenses in order to operate your business. If you are fishing inland, or within three nautical miles of the coast, you will need to acquire permits from the state. If you are fishing beyond that–between three and 200 nautical miles from shore–you are in federal waters, which are governed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As Alaska covers such a large area of federal waters, the NOAA designates it as its own region with its own species-specific permits. For example, you can obtain crab permits, as well as licenses for halibut and sablefish. You can obtain the permits you need by visiting the state of Alaska’s website, or that of the NOAA, locating the applications you need, printing them out, filling them out by hand, and mailing them back to the correct office for processing. Or, you could get the fishing permits you need by using our convenient, one-stop website.
Apply Online Today
As a commercial fisherman, your free time is scarce enough as it is. Any time spent on land toiling away with paperwork or making trips to the post office is time that could be better spent out at sea making money. At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we built our business with the busy fisherman in mind. Whether you need NOAA or state permits, we have simplified, easy-to-fill web forms that you can complete in just a few minutes. To learn more about how we can help you get back out on the water, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page, or contact one of our helpful customer service agents by phone or email today.