Commercial Fishing Licenses

Information: (916) 928-5822

Non-Resident Fee Differential Reinstated

Effective February 1, 2018, CDFW will resume charging differential non-resident fees for commercial fishing licenses, commercial vessel registrations, Dungeness crab vessel permits, and herring gill net permits. In November 2013, the department discontinued charging these differential non-resident fees following a judgment in a lawsuit brought against the state (Marilley, et al. v. Bonham, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149198). The state appealed this decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and ultimately prevailed following a hearing in June 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case in October 2017. As a result, the department now must resume charging the differential fees under California law. In doing so, CDFW has brought the fees current by applying the Implicit Price Deflator as required by Fish and Game Code section 713.

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Fees and Descriptions

You can renew your Commercial Fishing Licenses online, or at select license agents. Licenses purchased online, or at a license agent, will include a 5% non-refundable license agent handling fee. link opens in new windowList of Commercial Fishing License Agents (PDF)

Commercial Fishing License Requirement

Before a non-restrictive commercial fishing permit can be issued, an applicant must possess a valid commercial fishing license (resident or non-resident).

Commercial Boat Registration Requirement

Required for any resident or non-resident owner, or operator for any vessel operated in public waters in connection with fishing operations for profit in this State; or which, for profit, permits persons to sport fish.

Limited Entry and Restricted Access Permits

These permits are issued only to pre-qualified commercial fishermen or vessel owners. "Limited entry fishery" means a fishery in which the number of persons who may participate or the number of vessels that may be used in taking a specified species of fish is limited by statute or regulation (FGC §8100).

Limited Entry Permits Transfer Information