Request for Applications: 2021 Shark Research Fishery

November 30, 2020

NOAA Fisheries is now accepting applications from commercial shark fishermen interested in
participating in the 2021 Shark Research Fishery.

Lauren Latchford
Fishery Management Specialist
(301) 427-8503

NOAA Fisheries is now accepting applications from commercial shark fishermen interested in
participating in the 2021 Shark Research Fishery. A completed application and required vessel
information must be submitted by December 30, 2020 for consideration. 

What the permit covers

Shark Research Fishery permits allow fishermen to land sandbar, other large coastal sharks,
small coastal sharks, smoothhound, and pelagic sharks from federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean,
Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea. The permit is subject to 100 percent observer
coverage—participants can fish without an observer when not on a Shark Research Fishery trip.
The scientific data collected by fishery observers is used in shark stock assessments. 
2021 Shark Research Fishery permits will be valid only through December 31, 2021, unless
otherwise specified, and for the specific vessel and owner(s) listed on the permit, subject to the
terms and conditions listed on the permit.

The specific conditions of the permit, including trip limits, gear requirements, and number of
trips per month, will depend, among other things, on the number of selected vessels, available
quota, and the objectives of the research fishery. 

Note that 2021 participants will be participating in a soak time study that will require the
installation and operation of an electronic monitoring system (EM) sensors.

How participants are selected 

We will select a limited number of qualified applicants to participate in the 2021
Shark Research Fishery based on the temporal and spatial needs of the research objectives, the
available quota, the availability of observers, and the availability of the qualified applicants.
Selected applicants will be issued Shark Research Fishery permits and will be subject to 100
percent observer coverage on all fishery trips. 

Which vessels qualify 

We will review applications based on the selection criteria described in the Federal Register 
notice and information provided on the application form to determine which applicants are
qualified to participate in the shark research fishery in 2021. 

Vessels that meet all of the qualifications below will be considered for the shark research fishery.
Qualified applicants are those that:

  • Possess a valid directed or incidental commercial shark permit. While incidental permit holders may apply, priority for 2021 will be given to qualified directed permit holders to meet the research objectives. 
  • Possess a valid United States Coast Guard safety inspection decal when the application is submitted.
  • Have not been charged criminally or civilly for any HMS-related violation.
  • Have complied with NOAA Fisheries observer programs and are able to take a NOAA Fisheries-approved observer. Priority will be given to vessels with past participation in the observer program. Priority will also be given to vessels that can participate year-round round and whose operators affirmatively state that they intend to do so. This is to ensure timely and accurate data collection needed to meet this year’s research objectives.   
  • Submitted a completed application no later than December 30, 2020. 

How to Apply

Applications are available for download and by email request.  

Completed applications can be submitted by email to
Please be advised your application may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.