Mid-Atlantic For-Hire Vessel Permitting and Reporting: Electronic-only Submission Requirement Starts March 12, 2018

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has received questions about for-hire (party/charter) vessel permitting and reporting requirements. For-hire vessels need permits from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office if they fish for/retain the following Mid-Atlantic Council-managed species in these federal waters areas:


Area (federal waters, i.e. beyond 3 nautical miles)

Summer Flounder

North Carolina/South Carolina Border and North


North of Cape Hatteras, NC

Black Sea Bass*

North of Cape Hatteras, NC

Atlantic Mackerel

Atlantic Coast

Longfin or Illex Squid

Atlantic Coast

Atlantic Butterfish

Atlantic Coast


Atlantic Coast


Virginia/North Carolina Border and North

*Scup and black sea bass south of Cape Hatteras, NC and tilefish south of Virginia require a for-hire snapper grouper permit issued by the NMFS SE Regional Office

Once you have one or more of these permits, it doesn’t matter where you fish or what you’re fishing for – you must submit Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) for ALL fishing-related trips on that vessel, including reporting ALL fish kept or discarded (not just fish you have permits for). VTRs can currently be submitted either with paper forms or by electronic VTR applications/software. However, beginning March 12, 2018, all for-hire VTRs (not commercial) for permits associated with the Mid-Atlantic Council will need to be submitted electronically within 48 hours of ending each trip (reporting all trips and all fish). For more information about VTR reporting call NMFS at 978-281-9246 or visit this page on the GARFO website. 

Species encountered off the Mid-Atlantic that require other for-hire federal permits to fish for/retain include, but may not be limited to, New England groundfish, tunas, billfish, sharks, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, dolphin, wahoo, and snapper/groupers. Some of these species may have associated reporting requirements now or in the near future. It is the responsibility of the vessel owner or operator to know what permits and reporting are required based on the vessel’s location and species targeted.  Please consult your state agency and the following federal agencies about other necessary permits and reporting requirements:

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