Federal Reef Permits for Fishing Charters Explained
Updated: Mar 17
A federal Reef Fish permit is required for charter boats that fish for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico, including those operating out of Destin, Florida. This permit is issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is required for vessels that fish for reef fish species, such as red snapper, grouper, and amberjack, in federal waters (beyond nine nautical miles from the shore).
The federal Reef Fish permit is part of a broader effort by NOAA to manage and conserve reef fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico. The permit system is designed to ensure that the amount of fish caught does not exceed sustainable levels, and that the fishing industry remains viable and sustainable over the long term.
To obtain a federal Reef Fish permit, charter boat operators must meet a number of requirements, including:
Meeting vessel and gear requirements: The vessel must be registered with the state and have appropriate gear for reef fish species, including circle hooks, dehooking tools, and venting tools.
Participating in data collection: Charter boats with federal Reef Fish permits are required to participate in data collection efforts, such as providing catch reports and allowing on-board observers.
Adhering to catch limits and other regulations: The permit holder must comply with catch limits, size limits, and other regulations set by NOAA.
In addition, charter boats with federal Reef Fish permits must also comply with state regulations, which may include additional gear and reporting requirements.
In summary, a federal Reef Fish permit is required for charter boats that fish for reef fish species in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including those operating out of Destin, Florida. The permit system is designed to manage and conserve reef fish populations, and to ensure that the fishing industry remains sustainable over the long term.