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Sashimi-grade frozen tuna at a seafood plan in China.

NOAA Fisheries administers various programs requiring a federal permit for activities under its jurisdiction.  The permits authorize commercial and recreational fishing within and beyond U.S. waters.  NOAA Fisheries also issues permits to allow import and export of certain fish and fisheries products.  The NOAA Fisheries Office of International Affairs coordinates issuance of high seas fishing permits and issues Antarctic marine living resource trade permits and foreign fishing permits. 

High Seas Fishing Permits
A vessel is required to carry a high seas fishing permit to fish on the high seas—i.e., the, the waters beyond the territorial sea or exclusive economic zone (or the equivalent) of any nation.  High seas fishing permits are issued under the authority of the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act.  Applications should be made to the NMFS Regional Office with whom you normally interact on fisheries matters. Learn more about high seas fishing permits.

Antarctic Marine Living Resource Permits
The United States monitors and controls the harvesting and associated activities of its vessels in the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Convention Area and the importation of Antarctic marine living resources.  NOAA Fisheries issues harvesting and dealer permits required for commercial fishing and import of Antarctic fisheries resources. Learn more about these permits.

Foreign Fishing Permits
Foreign fishing vessels engaging in commercial fishing in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) must have on board a permit issued under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.  The only foreign fishing permits issued in recent years have authorized foreign vessels to transship fish harvested by U.S. fishermen.  For more information on foreign fishing permits, please call the NOAA Fisheries Office of International Affairs at (301) 427-8375.

National Permit System website
A common front door to a large variety of commercial and recreational fishing permits issued by the National Marine Fisheries Services.