Resources for Fishing
Resources for Fishing
Dear fishermen and dealers,
Please have patience with us as we work toward migrating all our regional content into this new website and improving your user experience. We will do our best to point you to all current content whether it lives in this new site or is still on one of our regional office or science center websites. If you get a message to take our ForeSee customer satisfaction survey, we'd appreciate your feedback on how we're doing so far.
The NOAA Fisheries Web Team
9 million recreational anglers
In 2015, 9 million recreational anglers took nearly 61 million trips.
9.7 billion pounds of seafood
In 2015, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.7 billion pounds of seafood, valued at $5.2 billion.
61 million recreational fishing trips
In 2015, approximately 9 million recreational saltwater anglers took 61 million saltwater fishing trips around the United States. The number of trips taken (or effort) is an important measurement used by our program to determine total catch estimates each year.
45 stocks rebuilt since 2000
NOAA Fisheries tracks 474 fish stocks managed under 46 fishery management plans
1.7 million jobs and $212 billion in sales
We monitor, protect, and sustainably manage the nation’s fisheries, which generated $212 billion in sales and created 1.7 million jobs in 2016.
Permits & Forms
There are a variety of permitting requirements associated with fishing in federal waters. Check out permit information for commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, for-hire fishing, and dealers and import/export.
Rules & Regulations
Find current rule-making actions—the latest notices and proposed rules open for comment, as well as final rules for various fishery management plans and related amendments.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species
Atlantic highly migratory species are very popular with saltwater anglers. These fish live throughout the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean waters and include tuna, sharks, swordfish, and billfish.
Regional Fishery Management Councils
The MSA created eight regional fishery management councils responsible for the fisheries in their region that require conservation and management. The councils develop and amend fishery management plans, set annual catch limits, develop research priorities, implement rebuilding plans, and conduct public meetings.
Permits & Forms
Search for fishing permits and related requirements by region, species, or fishery management plan.
Current Rules & Regulations
Find current rule-making actions—the latest notices and proposed rules open for comment as well as final rules for various fishery management plans and related amendments.
Tools and Resources by Region
Find out more about annual catch limits, seasonal closures, federal fishing regulations, and state regulations for commercial fishing.
Fishery Management Plans
We work with eight regional fishery management councils to implement regulations for 46 fishery management plans and their amendments. Each plan aims to protect, restore, and promote the long-term sustainability of U.S. fisheries.
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Do I Need a Permit or License?
State Regulations and Licenses
If you are fishing in state waters (generally 0 to 3 miles off shore), contact your state fish and wildlife agency for a fishing license.
Federal Fishing Permits
Since January 1, 2011, a saltwater recreational fishing license or registration from any state or U.S. territory except Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, automatically registers you in the National Saltwater Angler Registry and you do not need to take further action. Otherwise, please visit the registry to ensure you are registered. If you plan on fishing anywhere for highly migratory species—such as tunas and billfish—or for bottomfish in Hawaii, check out the links below to get the permits you need.
Where Can I Fish?
Anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts can use our comprehensive, online database of public recreational fishing sites from Maine through Mississippi and Puerto Rico. Use the “Guest Login” button to browse recreational access points--and the amenities at each location--in your state.
What Can I Catch in Federal Waters?
The eight regional fishery management councils establish specific management measures (such as fishing seasons, size limits, and bag limits) based on the best available science, which are then implemented by NOAA Fisheries. Be sure to review the recreational fishing regulations for the region you are fishing in.
Caribbean Federal Recreational Fishing Regulations (PDF, 14 pages)
Guam Federal Fishing Regulations (PDF, 22 pages)
Gulf of Mexico Federal Recreational Fishing Regulations (PDF, 40 pages)
West Coast Federal Recreational Fishing Regulations
Federal Rules & Regulations
In partnership with the regional fishery management councils, interstate marine fisheries commissions, international fisheries management organizations, and under the guidance of the Magnuson Stevens Conservation and Management Act, NOAA Fisheries plays a key role in the implementation and enforcement of federal fishery rules and regulations in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (3 to 200 miles off shore).
What Responsible Fishing Practices Should I Follow?
Learn what you can do to be a responsible steward of our ocean resources.
- Catch and release
- Seabird release
- Fishing tips to protect sea turtles and marine mammals
- Fishing around sea turtles
Reef fish in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, like snapper and grouper, suffer from barotrauma when brought to the surface, and many die. But these fish can survive when released at depth using fish descenders. See how easy they are to use in the video below.
How Can I Get Involved?
Find out how you can get involved in monitoring the health of our oceans and fish resources.
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Alaska: Subsistence Fishing
Pacific Islands: Non-Commercial Fishing
West Coast: Tribal Fishing
Many Pacific Northwest Indian tribes have treaties reserving their right to fish in “Usual and Accustomed” fishing places and include many species in addition to salmon and steelhead. These tribes are co-managers of the fishery resource in partnership with the states and federal government.
Fisheries by Region
NOAA Fisheries helps maintain the health and sustainability of our nation's fisheries through five regional offices and six science centers. Use the links below to find rules and regulations, permits and licenses, online resources, and other important tools for fisheries in your region.