How much does a Texas commercial fishing license cost?

How much does a Texas commercial fishing license cost?

Steering through the complexities of commercial fishing in Texas demands a keen understanding of the financial landscape. Whether you’re an industry veteran or a fresh face, grasping the monetary elements of securing a commercial fishing license in Texas is indispensable. This article serves as an exhaustive guide, detailing the fees, application process, and penalties for fishing without a license in the Lone Star State.

How much does a Texas commercial fishing license cost?

Types of Commercial Fishing Licenses in Texas

Texas offers a comprehensive range of commercial fishing licenses, each tailored to meet specific needs and requirements. These licenses are governed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 47 and managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Here’s a detailed look at the different types of commercial fishing licenses available in the Lone Star State.

Resident Commercial Fishing License

Available to any Texas resident, this license is a must-have for anyone engaged in fishing for commercial purposes within the state. It allows you to fish in both saltwater and freshwater regions. The license fees are set by the TPWD and are subject to change. This license includes a saltwater endorsement with a red drum tag, which is essential for fishing red drum in public waters.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Visit the nearest TPWD law enforcement offices to apply.
  2. Provide necessary documentation to prove Texas residency.
  3. Pay the fee amounts prescribed in the relevant subsection of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.

Non-Resident Commercial Fishing License

This license is designed for fishermen who are not residents of Texas but wish to fish in Texas waters. Similar to the resident license, it allows fishing in both saltwater and freshwater regions. However, the license fees for non-residents are generally higher.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Apply online through the TPWD license management system.
  2. Submit required documentation to prove non-residency.
  3. Pay the applicable fees.

Specialized Licenses

Texas also offers a variety of specialized licenses for specific types of fishing, such as crabbing, shrimping, and oyster boat licenses. These licenses are subject to Section 53.12 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code and may require additional fishing endorsements.

Types of Specialized Licenses:

  • Oyster Boat License: Required for any boat used in taking aquatic oysters.
  • Shrimping Licenses: Necessary for boats used in taking aquatic products like crabs and shrimp.
  • Commercial Finfish License: This license may be transferred to an heir or devisee of the deceased holder of the commercial finfish license.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Determine the type of specialized fishing you wish to engage in.
  2. Consult the TPWD for the specific requirements and fees for each specialized license.
  3. Complete the application process, which may include buying back licenses from previous license holders.

By understanding the different types of commercial fishing licenses in Texas, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your fishing goals. Always remember to consult the latest TPWD guidelines and Texas Parks and Wildlife Code for the most up-to-date information.

Benefits of Having a Commercial Fishing License in Texas

Owning a commercial fishing license in Texas is not just a legal requirement but also a gateway to numerous opportunities and benefits. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the advantages and the legal implications of not having one.

Legal Protections

Why It’s Crucial

Having a commercial fishing license ensures that you are fishing within the law, thereby safeguarding you from potential legal issues. In Texas, commercial licenses must be purchased at a Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Office or Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters in Austin.

Types of Licenses

Various types of fishing licenses and tags are available, including fishing guide licenses and lifetime licenses. The type of license or permit you need depends on the aquatic products in Texas taken and whether they are taken from outside state waters for commercial purposes.

Fees and Costs

The fee amounts prescribed in paragraph subsections reflect the total fee paid by the purchaser, which include the surcharges established in paragraph. For instance, a Resident Commercial Fishing Boat license costs $27.00.

Access to Fishing Areas

Unrestricted Access

A commercial license grants you access to multiple fishing areas, some of which may be restricted otherwise. You can fish in both freshwater or saltwater, but a saltwater endorsement is required for the latter.

Seasonal Benefits

The license is valid for the lifetime of the license holder and even transfers to heirs, which means you can plan your fishing activities without worrying about the license expiration.

Business Opportunities

Trade and Commerce

A commercial fishing license opens up various avenues for business and trade in the fishing industry. You can engage in unloading aquatic products in Texas or even take products from outside state waters for commercial purposes.


Being a licensed fisherman also allows you to connect with other commercial fishing boat owners, fishing guides, and businesses that deal with aquatic life.

Penalties for Fishing Without a License

Financial Consequences

Fishing without a license can result in fines ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The fee paid by the purchaser in such cases often includes additional surcharges.

Legal Repercussions

You could also face legal actions, including the confiscation of your fishing equipment. In severe cases, you may be required to pay a Non-Resident Commercial Crab Fisherman license fee of $2,520.00 if caught fishing without a license.

Having a commercial fishing license in Texas is not just a legal formality but a wise business decision. From legal protections to business opportunities, the benefits are manifold. Make sure you choose the right type of license to fully leverage these advantages.


  1. What types of commercial fishing licenses are available in Texas?
    • Resident and Non-Resident licenses, along with specialized licenses.
  2. How do I renew my commercial fishing license?
    • Renewal can be done online or in person at TPWD offices.
  3. Are there any additional permits required?
    • Yes, for specialized fishing like crabbing or shrimping, additional permits are required.


Grasping the financial and legal facets of a commercial fishing license in Texas is essential for anyone contemplating a venture into this sector. From the array of licenses and permits to the repercussions of unauthorized fishing, this guide offers a thorough rundown to equip you for a well-informed choice.

For a complete guide, visit Complete Guide to Fishing Licenses.

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