- NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule for a framework action under the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region.
- The framework action and final rule will provide an opportunity to replace reef fish and coastal migratory pelagic historical captain endorsements held by for-hire operators in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) with standard Gulf Charter/Headboat permits.
- These changes are based on the results of the recommendations of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council).
When will the rule take effect?
- Regulations become effective July 31, 2023.
What this means:
This framework action will allow the conversion of the remaining valid or renewable Gulf historical captain permits into standard for-hire permits.
- The Council previously took action to allow for the conversion of historical captain permits in 2018. Only historical captain permits that were valid (non-expired) or renewable on October 25, 2018, were eligible for replacement with standard for-hire permits. However, until the effective date of that action, individuals could still redeem outstanding letters of eligibility and receive a historical captain permit. All eligible historical captain permits were converted after the final rule implementing that action became effective in 2020.
- The conversion of a historical captain permit into a standard permit will be voluntary; the historical captain permit owner could elect to keep their historical captain permit. If an eligible historical captain wishes to maintain their historical captain permit, the historical captain will renew the permit as done in previous years.
- If an eligible historical captain wishes to convert their Coastal Migratory Pelagic or Reef Fish historical captain permit to a standard Coastal Migratory Pelagic or Reef Fish Charter/Headboat Permit they will submit an application along with their current historical captain permit (original document, not a copy) and supporting documents and fees. NOAA Fisheries Permit Office staff will verify that the vessel the new for-hire permit would be issued to is either:
(a) owned by the historical captain applicant and does not have an existing Coastal Migratory Pelagic and/or Reef Fish Charter/Headboat Permit associated with it, or
(b) leased to the historical captain applicant to attach their permit(s) to and does not have any other federal permit(s) associated with it in another permit holder's name.
Formal Federal Register Name/Number: 88 FR 42271, published June 30, 2023
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the changes?
- This rule will allow the conversion of the remaining valid or renewable Gulf historical captain permits into standard for-hire permits.
- The conversion of a historical captain permit into a standard permit would be voluntary; the historical captain permit owner may elect to keep their historical captain permit. If an eligible historical captain wishes to maintain their historical captain permit, the historical captain would renew the permit as done in previous years.
- If an eligible historical captain wishes to convert their Coastal Migratory Pelagic or Reef Fish historical captain permit to a standard or Reef Fish Charter/Headboat Permit, they would submit an application following the directions provided above.
Where can I find more information on the Historical Captain Permit Conversions into Standard Charter/Headboat Permits Framework Action?
- Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Rich Malinowski
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone: (727) 824-5305
- The framework action may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: https://gulfcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/HCaptain-Permit-Conversion-Final-508-May-2022.pdf.
Sign Up For Text Message Alerts - Find Out About Immediate Openings and Closures
NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery related alerts via text message (SMS). Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.
Text alerts you may receive include:
- Immediate fishery openings and closures
- Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly
Sign up for one or more of the following groups:
- Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
- Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
- Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
- Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
- South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
- Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
- South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
- Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
- Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
- Text CARIBFISH to 888777
Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office
Permits Mailbox: The Permits Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, now has a Permits mailbox in the front lobby (263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701). You can now drop off original permits for permit transfers. Envelopes with information labels will be provided so that your documents can be attached to the correct application. The mailbox will be checked daily. For more information, contact the Permits Office at 877-376-4877.
Media: Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750
Recreational Fishing Coordinator: Sean Meehan, 727-385-5202