Stay connected with us
around the nation »

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail List icon


Exempted Fishing Permits

Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs), Display Permits, Letters of Acknowledgement (LOAs) Chartering Permits, and Scientific Research Permits (SRPs)

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) EFPs, display permits, LOAs and SRPs are issued under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) and/or Atlantic Tunas convention Act (ATCA). Issuance of EFPs, display permits, and SRPs may be necessary in situations where necessary research activities would normally be prohibited by the regulations. This could include, possession of certain prohibited shark and billfish species, possession of billfishes onboard commercial fishing vessels, fishing during closures in the for bluefin tuna, swordfish and large coastal sharks commercial fisheries, or for other reasons. EFPs, SRPs, and display permits can authorize collections of tunas, swordfish, billfishes, and sharks from Federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico for the purposes of scientific data collection and public display. Issuance of HMS EFPs, SRPs LOAs, and display permits are defined below.

Useful Links

2016 Exempted Fishing Permit Application Form

HMS Exempted Fishing Permit, Scientific Research Permit, and Display Permit Interim Report (Microsoft Excel version)

HMS Exempted Fishing Permit, Scientific Research Permit, and Display Permit Annual Report

Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program Information

EFP: Issued to individuals for the purpose of conducting research or other fishing activities using private (non-research) vessels.

SRP: Issued to agency scientists who are using NOAA vessels as their research platform. Also issued to non-agency scientists using research vessels and conducting research on species regulated by ATCA.

LOA: Issued to individuals conducting research from “bona fide” research vessels on species that are only regulated by MSA and not ATCA. NMFS does request research plans for these activities and indicates concurrence by issuing an LOA.

Display: Issued to individuals who are fishing for, catching, and then transporting HMS to aquariums for public display.

In order to apply for an EFP, SRP, LOA, or display permit, please download the application by following the link below. For more information, please contact the HMS management Division at

Recent News

11/03/2015 NOAA Fisheries Requests Comments on the Issuance of Exempted Fishing Permits and Related Permits for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species During 2016
Federal Register Notice | Listserv Notice | 2016 EFP Application

Past EFP news is available in the EFP News Archive.

Shark Research Fishery

Amendment 2 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP implemented a shark research fishery.  This research fishery is conducted under the auspices of the exempted fishing permit program.  Shark research fishery permit holders assist NMFS in collecting valuable shark life history and other scientific data required in shark stock assessments.  Since the shark research fishery was established in 2008, the research fishery has allowed for: the collection of fishery dependent data for current and future stock assessments; the operation of cooperative research to meet NMFS' ongoing research objectives; the collection of updated life-history information used in the sandbar shark (and other species) stock assessment; the collection of data on habitat preferences that might help reduce fishery interactions through bycatch mitigation; the evaluation of the utility of the mid-Atlantic closed area on the recovery of dusky sharks; and the collection of hook-timer and pop-up satellite archival tag information to determine at-vessel and post-release mortality of dusky sharks.  Fishermen who wish to participate must fill out an application for a shark research permit under the exempted fishing program.  Shark research fishery participants are subject to 100-percent observer coverage in addition to other terms and conditions (which in the past have included hook and soak time limitations and a requirement to land all dead sharks, unless the shark is a prohibited species).

Recent News

11/05/2015 NOAA Fisheries Requests Applications for Participation in the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 2016 Shark Research Fishery
Listserv Notice| Federal Register Notice | 2016 Shark Research Fishery Permit Application