The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking input from the for-hire fishing industry about whether to restructure the current permit and license requirements, and if so, how to do so.
The division will hold three meetings to accept public comment on this issue at the following times and locations:
6 p.m., March 21
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wilmington Regional Office
127 Cardinal Drive
6 p.m. March 23
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West
6 p.m., March 29
Dare County Administration Building
954 Marshall C. Collins Drive
The state currently requires charter boat, head boat and guide boat operators to either hold a blanket Coastal Recreational Fishing License or a for-hire vessel permit to charge to take people fishing. The blanket Coastal Recreational Fishing License is an optional license that for-hire vessels can purchase to cover the fishing license requirement for all those fishing on the boat. The for-hire vessel permit is free, but does not cover the fishing license requirement for all those on the boat.
To obtain either the license or permit, a for-hire boat operator must hold a U.S. Coast Guard license, show proof of vessel registration, and show photo identification. License or permit holders are required to participate in statistical surveys, if asked. The fees and qualifications are the same for both residents and non-residents.
The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission has asked the division to establish whether there is public support for changing the requirements and if so, to write a proposal. Any major changes would require approval from the N.C. General Assembly.
Issues that have been discussed at past commission meetings include:
Should the state eliminate the free for-hire permit and require either the blanket Coastal Recreational Fishing License or create a new guide permit?
Should the state require mandatory liability insurance or other certifications to obtain a for-hire license or permit?
Should the state require captains to keep and submit logbooks?
Should the state require for-hire captains to take first aid and CPR training, drug tests or physicals?
Should the state require for-hire vessel inspections?
If the state should create a guide license, what should it cost for residents and non-residents?
Written comments may be sent to Don Hesselman, License and Statistics Section chief, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 796, Morehead City, N.C. 28557 or to Don.Hesselman@ncdenr.gov.
For more information, contact Hesselman at (252) 808-8099.