Atlantic Highly Migratory Species

For-Hire Fishing

NOAA Fisheries manages the for-hire fishery (or chartering a vessel for recreational fishing purposes) for Atlantic tunas, swordfish, sharks, and billfishes in federal waters of the U.S. Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.

Rules & Regulations 

For-hire fishing for Atlantic HMS species are required to comply with a variety of regulations:

  • Rules and regulations for Atlantic HMS.
  • For a plain language summary of how to comply with the HMS regulations for Atlantic tunas, swordfish, sharks, and billfishes while on a for-hire fishing trip, refer to the Recreational Compliance Guide.
  • Recent regulatory updates as well as current fishing seasons and retention limits are posted under Announcements.
  • For regulations applicable to HMS charter/headboat permit holders on a non-for-hire trip, refer to the Commercial Compliance Guide.


The HMS charter/headboat permit 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.
  • Free-swimming tunas (excluding bluefin) with a speargun

Learn more about HMS permits

Recreational Fishing 

Anglers must report all landings of swordfish, billfish, and bluefin tuna (including bluefin tuna dead discards) either online or by phone.