Federal Permit Proposed for Highly Migratory Species Anglers

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is seeking comment on a proposal to have recreational fishermen obtain an annual permit in order to fish for highly migratory species (HMS), which include tunas, marlin, sailfish, swordfish and sharks. For this rule, the public will be able to submit comments online as part of the agency's new pilot project called e-Comments. The proposed rule would require all HMS anglers to obtain an HMS recreational fishing permit annually. The rule also would define HMS charter and headboat requirements, and address the impacts that the new definition may have on the sale of fish and retention limits. It also contains some amendments to existing regulations. "The use of an annual permit in the HMS recreational category will allow us to better define how anglers participate in the Atlantic HMS fisheries and affect the economies of coastal communities," said Bill Hogarth, director of NMFS. For more information, visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov/.