Recreational Fishing Regulations
Recreational fishing in Maine's coastal waters is regulated by the Department of Marine Resources. Complete, current Laws and Regulations for DMR regulated recreational species can be found in the DMR Laws & Regulations section of the DMR website.
Note: If fishing in the tidal portion of rivers, DMR Regulations Chapter 55 lists Gear Restrictions and Closed Areas by body of water for your reference.
With certain exceptions, to engage in recreational saltwater fishing, people need to register with Maine's Saltwater Fishing Registry. Information on the Registry can be found here.
The Department of Marine Resources issues a saltwater fishing operator's license for charter boat captains, recreational smelt camp owners, owners of private docks or piers who charge for its use for recreational fishing, and anyone who possesses a current tidewater guides license. A license application can be found here.
All for-hire (party and charter) vessels must adhere to current reporting requirements that include electronic reporting for all for-hire vessels. For more information, go to NOAA's Vessel Trip Reporting web page or contact your local Port Agent.
Federal Recreational Fishing Permits
A saltwater recreational fishing license or registration in Maine's Saltwater Fishing Registry automatically registers you in the National Saltwater Angler Registry.
All for-hire vessels fishing for federally managed species 3 to 200 nautical miles offshore must obtain required permits prior to fishing. The only way to apply for new vessel and dealer permits is by using the electronic forms found in NOAA's Fish Online web portal.
All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling permit. Find out more at hmspermits.noaa.gov.
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Commercial fishing in Maine's coastal waters is also regulated by the Department of Marine Resources and enforced by the Maine Marine Patrol.
Federal Commercial Fishing Permits
All commercial vessels fishing for federally managed species 3 to 200 nautical miles offshore must obtain required permits prior to fishing. Information on applying for a federal permit can be found here.