The 2016 Atlantic Tunas and Atlantic HMS Permitting System is now live and operational. Renewal notices are being mailed and therefore an increase in calls is expected. This system is issuing vessel open access permits to those fishing commercially for Atlantic Tunas and Swordfish, recreationally for Atlantic HMS, as well as Charter/Headboats targeting HMS. Constituents may access the permitting system via the hmspermits.noaa.gov website or the 1-888-USA-TUNA (1-888-872-8862) phone number.
PERMITTING: Permits will be valid from the date of issuance through December 31, 2016. So 2016 permits will also be valid for the remainder of 2015 The cost is $20, per permit or $40 for a Tuna/Swordfish combination permit. The system allows constituents to purchase initial, renew preexisting, or obtain permit applications for open access Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish or Atlantic HMS permits for the 2016 season. One item to note is the Atlantic Tunas Longline permit is being issued out of SERO. So if staff happen to field a call regarding renewal of these limited access permits please refer them to the NMFS, Southeast Regional Permitting Office, at (727) 824-5326.
SERVICE: If you happen to field any questions regarding the permit process, please ask the caller to dial our Customer Service representatives at (888) 872-8862 and press zero at the main menu to get them connected to a representative. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time. For regulatory type questions, please refer callers to the appropriate HMS office:
Sharks: Headquarters staff at (301) 427-8503
Atlantic tunas: Gloucester staff at (978) 281-9260
Swordfish/Billfish: St. Pete staff at (727) 824-5399