Getting Started — Commercial Fishing Permits & Licenses
This page provides information and links to resources on permits, licenses, and registrations needed to fish commercially and buy, sell, and transport fisheries resources. Please contact the Seafood Industry Technician at (907) 465-6131 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Commercial Fishing Permits, Vessel License and Registration, Crew Licenses
- The Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission issues commercial fishing permits and licenses commercial vessels.
- The Division of Motor Vehicles requires registration for Coast Guard (USCG) documented vessels or licensing and registration for vessels that are not documented by the USCG.
- The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) oversees federally managed fisheries in Alaska including walleye pollock, rockfish, flatfish, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod; the Pacific halibut and sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fishery; and the Community Development Quota (CDQ) fisheries.
- The Restricted Access Management Program (RAM) manages Alaska Region permit programs, including those that limit access to the Federally-managed fisheries. RAM determines eligibility and issues permits; processes transfers; and collects landing fees.
- Crew member licenses are available through the ADF&G Online Store
- Contact the nearest ADF&G Commercial Fisheries area office for information and registration requirements for your fishery.
Buying, Selling, & Transporting Commercially Harvested Fisheries Resources
- See the Allowable Activities Matrix to find the permit or fisheries business license that you need for your intended buying, selling, or transporting activities. Contact the Seafood Industry Technician at (907) 465-6131 or email@example.com if you have questions.
- "Dock Sales" — ADF&G Commercial Fisheries issues Catcher-Seller permits to fishermen who sell unprocessed fish across the dock and to appropriately licensed restaurants, grocery stores, and fish markets. See the Catcher-Seller page for details and restrictions.
- "Direct Marketer" — The Department of Revenue issues fisheries business licenses to fishermen who want the option to process their own fish or have the fish custom processed for them, and market their fish in Alaska and out-of-state. Fishermen who want to process their own fish also need permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation. See the Direct Marketer and Catcher Processor page for more information.
- "Exporter" — The Department of Revenue issues Catcher Exporter fisheries business licenses to fishermen who have their fish custom processed and export out-of-state, and Buyer Exporter fisheries business licenses to individuals who plan to buy fish from fishermen and export the fish out-of-state, unprocessed or custom processed.
- "Processor" — The Department of Revenue issues fisheries business licenses to shore-based and floating seafood processing facilities that purchase fish from fishermen; provide custom processing services for others; and market fish in-state and out-of-state. Processors also need permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to ensure sanitary seafood processing. See the DEC's Seafood page for more information.
- "Transporter" — ADF&G Commercial Fisheries issues Fish Transporter permits which allow individuals to act as agents for fishermen in order to transport the fishermen' salmon, herring, or Pacific cod from the fishing vessels to processors. See the Fish Transporter Permit page for more information.
If you sell fish by the pound, you must use a scale certified for commerce by the Department of Transportation, Division of Weights and Measures. To have your scale certified:
- Operations in Southeast - contact the Juneau office at (907) 789-9763
- Operations in all other areas – contact the Anchorage office at (907) 365-1240
The Marine Advisory Program is a great resource for Direct Marketers.
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a marketing organization with the mission of increasing the economic value of Alaska seafood. For more information, visit their ASMI