All owners/operators of vessels in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean must obtain a federal permit to recreationally or commercially fish for regulated Atlantic HMS (sharks, swordfish, tunas (bluefin, bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack), and billfishes (recreational only; white and blue marlins, sailfish, and roundscale spearfish)). There are regional and seasonal differences in the retention limits for Atlantic HMS by permit type. Vessels must comply with applicable U.S. Coast Guard and State regulations in addition to Federal requirements.
All permits are valid from date of issuance through December 31, 2022.
Atlantic HMS Angling Permit $26.00
Authorizes vessels to recreationally fish for or retain any Atlantic HMS with rod & reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with handline; and free-swimming tunas (excluding bluefin) with a speargun. NO SALE OF CATCH ALLOWED
Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat Permit $26.00
Authorizes charter and headboat vessels to take for-hire passengers to recreationally fish for or retain any Atlantic HMS with rod & reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with handline; tunas with green-stick or bandit gear; and free-swimming tunas (excluding bluefin) with a speargun. Authorizes some commercial sale of tunas, swordfish, and sharks, with restrictions depending on the for-hire status of the vessel and the additional possession of certain limited access permits.
A captain licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard must be onboard the vessel during all HMS fishing activities regardless of whether they are commercial, recreational, or for-hire, and the vessel must comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety gear regulations.
Commercial vessels must comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety gear regulations.
Atlantic Tunas Permits (General, Harpoon, and Purse Seine) $26.00
Authorize vessels to commercially fish for regulated Atlantic tunas (bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack, albacore, and bigeye).
General: rod & reel, bandit gear, green-stick, handline, or harpoon (also authorizes recreational fishing in registered Atlantic HMS tournaments for any Atlantic HMS; see the HMS Angling permit description above for authorized gears for billfishes, swordfish, and sharks)
Purse Seine: purse seine (limited access: may only renew or transfer an existing permit)
Swordfish General Commercial Permit $26.00
Authorizes vessels to commercially fish for North Atlantic swordfish using rod & reel, handline, harpoon, bandit gear, or green-stick. Also authorizes recreational fishing in registered Atlantic HMS tournaments for any Atlantic HMS (see the HMS Angling permit description above for authorized gears for tunas, billfishes, and sharks).
Combination Swordfish/Tunas Permit $52.00
Authorizes vessels to commercially fish for North Atlantic swordfish AND regulated Atlantic tunas. Combinations include the Swordfish General Commercial permit and one of the three Atlantic tunas permits available here (General, Harpoon, or Purse Seine).
Atlantic HMS regulations are summarized in Compliance Guides at Here