Cost of Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License: Explained

Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License Costs – A Detailed Guide

Are you interested in starting a commercial fishing business in Massachusetts? One of the first steps is obtaining the proper licenses and permits. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the various types of commercial fishing licenses available in Massachusetts, their costs, and how to apply for them in 2024.

Types of Commercial Fishing Licenses in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers several types of commercial fishing licenses depending on the species you plan to catch and the methods you’ll use. Some of the main license types include:

  1. Coastal Lobster Permit – Required for harvesting lobster in coastal waters. Costs vary based on vessel size and resident status.
  2. Offshore Lobster Permit – Needed for lobster fishing in federal waters. Fees depend on vessel size.
  3. Shellfish and Seaweed Permits – Cover species like clams, oysters, mussels, and seaweed. Fees vary by species and quantity.
  4. Finfish Permits – Required for catching fish like cod, haddock, and tuna. Costs depend on fishing methods and quotas.
  5. Seasonal and Area-Specific Permits – Certain fisheries are only open during specific times or in designated areas. Permit costs vary.

How Much Does a Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License Cost?

Commercial fishing license costs in Massachusetts depend on several factors, including:

  • License type (lobster, finfish, shellfish, etc.)
  • Vessel size
  • Residency status
  • Fishing methods and gear
  • Target species and quotas

As of 2024, a resident commercial lobster permit for a vessel under 30 feet costs $195, while a non-resident permit is $585. Finfish permit fees range from $65 to $260 depending on the species and catch limits.

How to Apply for a Commercial Fishing License in Massachusetts

To apply for a commercial fishing license in Massachusetts, follow these steps:

  1. Determine which license(s) you need based on your target species and fishing methods.
  2. Visit the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries website to access application forms.
  3. Fill out the appropriate form(s) and provide supporting documents like vessel registration.
  4. Pay the required fees online, by mail, or in person.
  5. Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your license(s) and can start fishing commercially.

It’s important to note that some licenses may have limited entry or require additional permits or endorsements. Be sure to research the specific requirements for your desired fishery.

Frequently Asked Questions About Massachusetts Commercial Fishing Licenses

What is the difference between a permit and an endorsement?

A permit grants you the right to participate in a specific fishery, while an endorsement is an additional approval needed to use certain gear or fish in certain areas. For example, you may need a coastal lobster permit as well as a trap endorsement to harvest lobster with traps.

Are there any age restrictions for commercial fishing licenses in Massachusetts?

You must be at least 14 years old to obtain a commercial fishing license in Massachusetts. Minors under 18 need written consent from a parent or guardian.

Can I transfer my commercial fishing license to another person?

Most Massachusetts commercial fishing licenses are non-transferable and can only be used by the named holder. However, some permits, like those for certain shellfish fisheries, may be transferable with approval from the Division of Marine Fisheries.

The Bottom Line on Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License Costs

Obtaining the proper licenses and permits is essential for operating a legal and sustainable commercial fishing business in Massachusetts. By understanding the types of licenses available, their costs, and how to apply, you’ll be well on your way to starting your fishing venture in 2024.

Remember to stay informed about any changes to regulations or quotas that may affect your fishery. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can build a successful commercial fishing operation in the Bay State.

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