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Request for Comments: Federal Permit Renewal Changes

August 20, 2018

FB18-058 Southeast Regional Office Fishery Bulletin; For More Information, Contact: Sarah Stephenson, 727-824-5305, sarah.stephenson@noaa.gov


NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on a proposed rule to make administrative revisions to the renewal process for federal vessel permits, licenses, endorsements, and dealer permits (hereafter referred to collectively as permits) in the Southeast Region.  NOAA Fisheries will continue to provide the permit holder notice of an upcoming expiration date, but this proposed rule would remove the requirement that renewal applications be printed and sent via mail.  


Comments are due by August 31, 2018.



  • Current regulations require NOAA Fisheries to mail a paper renewal application with instructions to a permit holder whose federal permit is expiring, approximately 2 months prior to the expiration date.
  • This proposed rule would remove the requirement that NOAA Fisheries mail the application to a vessel owner or dealer whose permit, license, or endorsement is expiring.
  • Instead, approximately 2 months prior to the expiration date, NOAA Fisheries would notify a vessel owner or dealer that renewal is required and methods to obtain the application.
  • Various methods for obtaining and completing the renewal application would include digital download from the Southeast Regional Office web site, electronic mail, traditional mail, and personal pick up from the Southeast Regional Office.
  • This proposed rule would also remove the requirement that NOAA Fisheries notify the applicant of any deficiencies in the renewal application through traditional mail, allowing NOAA Fisheries the flexibility to use other means to provide this notification.



The purpose of this proposed rule is to reduce the administrative costs of renewing federal permits, while still maintaining the needed information and services to the public.

  • NOAA Fisheries is looking for ways to make it easier to renew permit applications.  We are also continuing to expand our online permits system capabilities which is the fastest and easiest way to submit an application.
  • The Southeast Regional Office mails out approximately 5,500 renewal letters each year, and each renewal letter is accompanied by a 19-page blank application.  This proposed rule would greatly reduce the amount of paper used, decreasing the costs associated with printing. 
  • The proposed rule would also reduce the costs associated with mailing the renewal letters.  The renewal letter with application requires a larger envelope with higher shipping rates; whereas, the single renewal letter would fit in a standard sized envelope that costs less to mail.
  • The proposed rule would also save time associated with printing, preparing, and mailing out the renewal applications, which would allow staff more time to process permit applications.




The comment period is open now through August 31, 2018.  You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail.  Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.


FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER:  83 FR 37455, published August 1, 2018


Electronic Submissions:  Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0064-0001.

2. Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.

3. Enter or attach your comments.


Mail: Submit written comments to Sarah Stephenson, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. 


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


Other contacts:
Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
           Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 


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Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on March 12, 2019