NMFS Highly Migratory Species Permits

Swordfish

All vessels that fish for, or may incidentally take and retain, Atlantic Highly Migratory Species must have a vessel permit. These permits must be renewed annually. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species include:

  • Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
  • Bigeye, Albacore, Yellowfin, and Skipjack Tuna
  • Swordfish
  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Roundscale Spearfish
  • Sharks (requires endorsement)

See the NOAA Fisheries Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Permits web page to learn more.

North Carolina does not use the NOAA Fisheries' call-in or website reporting process. Instead, all anglers in North Carolina must fill out a catch card and recieve an HMS landing tag from a Reporting Station prior to the fish being removed from the vessel or the vessel from the water. Learn more below. 

For questions about the reporting process in North Carolina, please contact Dallis Tucker, 252-948-3816. 

Reporting Requirements

Reporting Requirements

Certain Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Roundscale Spearfish, and Swordfish) landed recreationally in North Carolina must have a Landing Tag affixed before removal from the vessel. Captains or operators from trailered vessels must have the Landing Tag affixed before the vessel is removed from the water. Captains or operators of permitted vessels in North Carolina must use this method instead of the NMFS call-in or website reporting process. HMS released alive should not be reported.

Landing Tags may be obtained at Highly Migratory Species Reporting Stations in exchange for a completed Catch Card. Catch Cards are available at all Reporting Stations. The following information must be included on each Catch Card submitted.

  1. Date
  2. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Permit Number
  3. Vessel Name
  4. Trip Type (headboat, private boat, or charterboat)
  5. Curved Fork Length Measurement (in inches)
  6. Tag Number
  7. Reporting Station Identification 

The date, Atlantic Highly Migratory Species permit number, vessel name, vessel type (charterboat, private boat or headboat), and curved fork length measurement must be provided by the operator or Captain of the permitted vessel. The tag number and reporting station identification will be assigned by the reporting station agent.

Highly Migratory Species Reporting Stations have been established throughout coastal North Carolina. North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries staff (dockside samplers) will also participate in the tagging process as Mobile Reporting Stations. If you have any questions about the reporting process, please contact Dallis Tucker (North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, 252-948-3816 or Dallis.Tucker@ncdenr.gov).

After Hours Reporting

Anglers arriving back to the dock after hours may use the DMF's 24 hour toll free number (800-682-2632) or 252-726-7021 to report their catch. The following information must be provided:

  1. Date of landing
  2. Permit holder name
  3. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species permit number
  4. Phone Number
  5. Vessel name
  6. Trip Type (headboat, private boat, or charterboat)
  7. Curved Fork Length (in inches)

The operator or Captain will be given a verification number that they can use to demonstrate reporting compliance. This method of reporting is restricted to after hours landings and landings in areas with no HMS Reporting Station (such as the White Oak area).

Reporting Stations

Reporting Stations

Reporting Station Location Phone
Anchorage Marina Atlantic Beach 252-726-4423
Captain Stacy Fishing Center  Atlantic Beach 252-726-4675
Chasin Tails Outdoors Atlantic Beach 252-240-3474
Seawater Marina  Atlantic Beach 252-726-1637
Olde Towne Yacht Club  Beaufort 252-726-3066
Town Creek Marina  Beaufort 252-728-6111
Hurricane Fishing Center  Calabash 910-579-3660
Harker's Island Fishing Center  Harker's Island 252-728-3907
Hatteras Harbor Marina  Hatteras 252-986-2166
Oden's Dock  Hatteras 252-986-2555
Teach's Lair Marina  Hatteras 252-986-2460
Holden Beach Marina  Holden Beach 910-842-5447
Oregon Inlet Fishing Center  Manteo 252-441-6301
Pirates Cove  Manteo 252-473-3906
Shallowbag Bay Marina Manteo 252-305-8726
Carolina Princess Morehead City 252-726-5479 
EJW Outdoors Morehead City 252-247-4725
Portside Marina  Morehead City 252-726-7678 
Ocean Isle Fishing Center  Ocean Isle 910-575-3474
Anchorage Marina Ocracoke 252-928-6661
Southport Marina Southport 910-457-9900
Outer Banks Marina Wanchese 252-473-9991
Creekside Yacht Club Wilmington 910-350-0023
Bridge Tender Marina  Wrightsville Beach 910-256-6550
How to Apply for a Permit

How to Apply for a Permit

You may apply for an initial or renewal permit in one of several ways. Regardless of which way you choose, you may always check the status of your application from the NMFS Permit Shop using the permit number or order confirmation number.

Apply Online at NMFS Permit Shop

Applying for an initial or renewal permit using the NMFS Permit Shop is your best option. You will need a valid credit card to complete your purchase and will have the option of printing your own permit(s) or having them mailed to you. To complete an online application, you will need contact information for the permitholder (e.g., name, address, and phone number). You will also need either Coast Guard or State registration information (number or other ID), vessel name, home and principal ports, vessel length, year built, crew size, type of construction (e.g., fiberglass), gross tonnage, propulsion type, engine horsepower and hold capacity. You may also renew permits by calling the automated voice response system at 888-872-8862, where you can also receive your permit by FAX.

Download an Application Package

You may download an initial or renewal application package in PDF format from the NMFS Permit Shop. Print and mail the form to NMFS at the address provided in the application. NMFS will then mail your permit to you. Provide a credit card number or include a money order with your paper application using this option.

Request an Application Package to be Mailed

You may request that an initial or renewal application package be mailed to you from the NMFS Permit Shop. Once you receive the package, complete it by hand and mail it to the address provided. NMFS will then mail your permit to you. You must provide a credit card number or include a money order with your paper application using this option. You may also request that an application package be mailed to you by calling the NMFS Customer Service Center at 888-872-8862.