This week in Biloxi, Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council took final action to allow people with historical captain permits the option to replace them with standard for-hire permits for federally managed reef fish and/or coastal migratory pelagic species. Each newly issued for-hire permit will have the same permit capacity as the historical captain permit it would replace. Only valid historical captain permits as of October 25, 2018 (last day of the October Council meeting) would be eligible for replacement with standard permits. Outstanding letters of eligibility will be invalid as of the implementation date of this action.
There are 32 historical captains eligible to replace their permits with standard for-hire permits. In contrast to standard for-hire permits, historical captain permits are not transferable and require the captain to be onboard the vessel when operating as a charter.
These suggested management changes will be transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval and implementation. NOAA Fisheries will contact historical captain permit holders and notify them of their eligibility for a standard for-hire permit.