Permits and catch reports can be processed online through NOAA Fisheries.
NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. It has five regional offices, six science centers, and more than 20 laboratories in the United States and U.S. territories. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for managing the country’s ocean resources and their habitat.
NOAA Fisheries requires anglers and dealers to obtain federal permits if they fish, sell, buy or import Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS). These species include tuna, billfish, swordfish and sharks. Permits are also required to import all HMS and to export frozen bluefin, swordfish and bigeye tuna.
Recreational fishing for HMS in federal waters and Atlantic coastal state waters for tuna (except Maine, Connecticut and Mississippi), requires vessel owners to have a federal fishing license valid for their vessel. The type of permit depends on the fish species, fishing gear and fishing trip. Each license is issued to a shipowner for a specific vessel. All passengers on board a vessel holding a valid HMS license may fish recreationally for HMS Atlantic under specific terms and conditions.
To apply for a permit, the process is completed online at: hmspermits.noaa.gov
Once the permit has been obtained, it is important to review the types of paraphernalia and equipment that are permitted for use. This will vary by license type and fish species. Specific requirements are assigned to fishing gear, hooks and techniques.
An angler on a vessel licensed by HMS Atlantic may fish recreationally for HMS Atlantic in federal waters, except in areas closed to fishing. The areas currently closed to fishing are:
› Tortugas Marine Reserves
› Madison Swanson and Steamboat
› Closed Area Edges 40 Fathom Contour
› Gulf of Mexico bluefin tuna
› South Atlantic Swordfish
An important part of licensing regulations is reporting your catch. All recreational catches (landings and dead discards) of Atlantic bluefin tuna, as well as landings of swordfish and billfish (white and blue marlin, sailfish and round-scaled marlin) must be reported. A landing takes place each time these fish are brought ashore. NOAA Fisheries has developed an online portal and app to carry out this process: hmspermits.noaa.gov/catchreports
CAPT. JAKE DESVERGERS IS THE CHIEF INSPECTOR FOR THE INTERNATIONAL YACHT BUREAU (IYB), WHICH PROVIDES FLAG STATE INSPECTION SERVICES TO PRIVATE AND COMMERCIAL YACHTS ON BEHALF OF SEVERAL FLAG STATE AUTHORITIES.Topics: