Get Email Updates

Get Text Alerts

Sign up for recreational and commercial text alerts

Fishing Permits

All vessels that fish for or possess fish or shellfish from Federal waters (EEZ) and that are regulated by the Greater Atlantic Region must have a fishing vessel permit from the Greater Atlantic Permit Office and must sell only to Federally permitted dealers.  For information on fisheries regulations and the species under management by the Greater Atlantic Region, please click here.

For Tuna, Swordfish, Shark and other HMS vessel permits:

Call 1-888-872-8862 or go to https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/ to buy or renew federal vessel permits for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks).

Call 1-727-824-5326 or go to http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/permits for shark and swordfish directed and incidental, and Atlantic tunas longline permits.

Vessel Permits

Initial Application

If you are permitting your vessel for the first time or you are a new owner of a vessel, please complete and submit an Initial Vessel Permit Application. Even if a previous owner of the vessel was issued permits, you must still obtain an Initial Vessel Permit Application for the vessel if this is the first time you, as a new owner,are permitting that vessel [50 CFR 648.4 and 50 CFR 697.4].

Special Considerations

Vessel Owner Form
Each time you apply for a Federal vessel permit or the ownership interest in your company or business changes, you must include this form with your application. (Vessel Ownership Form)

American Lobster Limited Access Permit
Federal lobster permit holders who intend to fish for lobster with trap gear are required to designate lobster management areas and tag all lobster traps, Read this for "Lobster Trap Tag Program" before applying.

Limited Access Gillnet Vessels
Limited access multispecies or monkfish permitted vessels using gillnet gear.

How to Apply

  1. Request an Initial Vessel Application Package be mailed to you.
    You may request that an initial vessel application package be mailed to you from the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region Permit Office by calling (978) 281-9370 ext. 6438 or by writing to the address listed above. Once you receive the package, complete the application and include all supplemental documents required. Mail it to the address provided on the application. If the package is complete and correct, NOAA Fisheries will then mail your permit to you within 30 days of receiving your complete application.
  2. Download an Initial Vessel Permit.
    You may also download an Initial Vessel Permit Application from this NMFS Permit Office Web Page. The download package is an Adobe Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) file. Note: Instructions and application are included on the form. This form can be filled out online, but must still be printed and mailed as directed in the instructions.
     

    Once you print the package, complete the application and include all supplemental documents required. Mail it to the address provided on the application. If the package is complete and correct, NOAA Fisheries will then mail your permit to you within 30 days of receiving your complete application.

Vessel Operator Permits

Operator cards are required for any operator of a charter/party boat or a commercial vessel (including carrier and processor vessels) issued a vessel permit from the Greater Atlantic Region and possessing or fishing for Atlantic sea scallops, Northeast multispecies, spiny dogfish, monkfish, American lobster, Atlantic herring, Atlantic surf clam, ocean quahog, Maine Mahogany quahog, Atlantic mackerel, Longfin (Loligo) squid, Illex squid, butterfish, scup, black sea bass, golden tilefish, skates, Atlantic deep-sea red crab, or Atlantic bluefish, in or from the EEZ.

How to Apply

  1. How to Request a Renewal Vessel Operator Permit Application be Mailed to you.
    Renewal vessel operator permit applications are pre-populated with individual operator information and mailed out 30-40 days prior to the expiration of the current vessel operator permit. If your vessel operator permit has expired you may contact the Permit Office at 978-281-9370 ext. 6437 to obtain a preprinted renewal application.
  2. Request an Initial Vessel Operator Permit Application be Mailed to you.
    You may request that an initial vessel operator permit application be mailed to you from the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region Permit Office by calling (978) 281-9370 ext. 6437. Once you receive the package, complete the application and include all supplemental documents required. Mail it to the address provided on the application. If the package is complete and correct, NOAA Fisheries will then mail your permit to you within 30 days of receiving your complete application.
  3. Download an Initial Vessel Operator Permit Application. 
    You may also download an Initial Vessel Operator Permit Application from this NMFS Permit Office Web Page. The download package is an Adobe Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) file. Note: Instructions and application are included on the form. This form can be filled out online, but must still be printed and mailed as directed in the instructions.

Once you print the package, complete the application and include all supplemental documents required. Mail it to the address provided on the application. If the package is complete and correct, NOAA Fisheries will then mail your permit to you within 30 days of receiving your complete application
 

Note that certain states may have additional permit requirements, including special permits to sell fish. Please contact the appropriate state fisheries agencies for more information.

Reasons that delay processing of permit applications

To allow permit processing to take place in a timely and accurate manner, please carefully read this before applying.

Renewal Permit Application

Applicants must fill out a preprinted renewal application if they currently possess a Northeast Federal permit.  To request a preprinted renewal application, contact the Permit Office at 978-281-9370, ext. 6438.

Privacy Act Statement

Authority:  The collection of this information is authorized under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C 1801 et seq., the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act, the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Convention Act, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFCIA; 16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq), the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Fur Seal Act.  The authority for the mandatory collection of the Tax Identification Number (TIN) is 31 U.S.C. 7701.

Purpose: In order to manage U.S. fisheries, the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) requires the use of permits or registrations by participants in the United States. Information on NOAA Fisheries permit applicants and renewing holders includes vessel owner contact information, date of birth, TIN and vessel descriptive information.  Permit holder information may be used as sampling frames for surveys, as part of Fishery Management Council (FMC) analysis to support FMC decisions.

Routine Uses:  The Department will use this information to determine permit eligibility and to identify fishery participants. Disclosure of this information is permitted under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. Section 552a), to be shared within NMFS offices, in order to coordinate monitoring and management of sustainability of fisheries and protected resources, as well as with the applicable State or Regional Marine Fisheries Commissions and International Organizations. Disclosure of this information is also subject to all of the published routine uses as identified in the Privacy Act System of Records Notice COMMERCE/NOAA-19, Permits and Registrations for the United States Federally Regulated Fisheries.

Disclosure:  Furnishing this information is voluntary; however, failure to provide complete and accurate information will prevent the determination of eligibility for a permit.