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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Commercial Fishing FAQs

Marine Fisheries

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Shellfish License Questions

Q. – Can anyone purchase the Shellfish License?
A. –
No, only North Carolina residents can purchase a Shellfish License.

Q. – I am a commercial hand clammer. What license do I need?
A. –
You can purchase the individual Shellfish License or as a North Carolina resident you can purchase the Standard or Retired Commercial Fishing License with the Shellfish Endorsement. If you use a vessel, the vessel must have a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration.

Q. – Are there past requirements to purchase the Shellfish License?
A. –
No, there are no past license requirements to be eligible.

Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration (CFVR) Questions

Q. – Who can purchase the Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration?
A. –
Anyone can purchase the Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration for a vessel. There are no previous license requirements for someone to purchase this registration.

Q. – Is the Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration different from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's boat registration?
A. –
Yes, you must have a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration, in addition to the Wildlife Resources Commission's boat registration or U.S. Coast Guard documentation for the vessel to participate in commercial fishing operations in North Carolina.

Q. – Can anyone fish commercially on a vessel that has a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration?
A. –
Yes, anyone can fish if at least one individual on board has a Standard or Retired Commercial Fishing License on a vessel with a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration. Only the individual with the license can sell the catch.

Q. –Are there any endorsements available for the Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration?
A. - Yes, if the vessel is intended to be used in a for-hire operation you may elect to obtain the For-Hire endorsement on the CFVR.  This could be advantages if the vessel is used for both commercial fishing and for-hire fishing. The other options for for-hire vessels are blanket and non-blanket for-hire vessel licenses.

Q. – Do I have to remove my previous commercial vessel fishing license decal from my vessel?
A. –
Yes, only a valid vessel decal can be displayed.

Q. – When does the Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration need to be purchased?
A. –
It has to be purchased before the vessel is used in commercial fishing operations beginning July 1, of each license year.

Q. – What type of vessels need to have a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration?
A. –
Motorized vessels participating in commercial fishing activities need to have a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration. Non-motorized vessels not used in conjunction with a vessel in commercial fishing operations with a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration must have a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration.

Q. – Do run, buy, or purse boats working in conjunction with commercial fishing operations need to have a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration?
A. –
Yes, if the vessel is motorized and operating in a commercial fishing operation, it needs to have a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration.

Q. – How is the primary location status of a vessel determined for the Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration?
A. –
The primary location status is determined in one of three ways. 1) From the state boat registration; 2) Certified state vessel title; or 3) U.S. Coast Guard documentation papers.

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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