Standard and Retired Standard Commercial Fishing Licenses are required to participate in most commercial fisheries within the state. An individual who does not hold a Standard or Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License but wants to purchase a license through the Division of Marine Fisheries can apply to receive the license through the Eligibility Pool process. The application goes before an Eligibility Board that determines if the applicant is qualified based on criteria set out in rule. The number of licenses available in the Eligibility Pool is set annually by the Marine Fisheries Commission.
For questions on completing the application package, please contact the Division of Marine Fisheries' program assistant for the Eligibility Pool, Ann Bordeaux-Nixon, at 1-800-248-4536 or 910-796-7261.
To be eligible to apply for a Standard Commercial Fishing License, the applicant must provide proof of prior involvement in commercial fishing based on the following criteria:
- Significant involvement in the commercial fishing industry for three of the last five years; or
- Significant involvement in commercial fishing or in the commercial fishing industry prior to the last five years; or
- In the case of an applicant who is under 16 years of age, significant involvement in commercial fishing for two out of the last five years with a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or other adult; or
- Significant involvement of the applicant's family in commercial fishing. For the purposes of this sub-item, family shall include mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, children, grandparents, or legal guardian.
*Full information on the Eligibility Board and the rules governing the application process and approval can be found in Rules 15A NCAC 03O .0401 - .0406 in the Marine Fisheries Commission rulebook.
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