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Commercial Saltwater Fishing License Information

Welcome to the information page for the Rhode Island Commercial Saltwater Fishing Licensing System. To renew your license or landing permit, select the icon below or visit the RIDEM office of Boating and Registration located at 235 Promenade St., Providence, RI. If you have any questions regarding the license and endorsement types, please read the information provided below. After reading the information, if you still have questions, you may contact DEM's Marine Fisheries Program at (401) 423-1923 (M-F, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm).

 

KEY RESOURCES

Commercial Saltwater Fishing License Renewal


License Types and Endorsements

Rhode Island commercial fishing licenses fall into three basic categories:


There are two additional commercial license categories:


Rhode Island landing licenses allow transit through state waters for the purpose of landing at Rhode Island ports. The landing licenses fall into three categories:


Learn more about Vessel Declaration Stickers (VDECL)


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Commercial Fishing License (CFL)

The commercial fishing license is available to Rhode Island residents and non-residents. It is an entry level license intended to offer access to commercial fishing to new applicants. Fishing endorsements must be obtained and attached to the license for participation in the various state waters fisheries. The following endorsements are offered for the Commercial Fishing License:

Shellfish Endorsements:

  • Quahaug Endorsement (CQUOH): The quahaug endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of quahaugs (Mercinaria mercinaria) at a three bushel possession limit in state waters. This endorsement may be obtained by either actively fishing with a student shellfish license during the prior year or via participation in an annual lottery or via renewal to residents only.
  • Soft Shell Clam Endorsement (CSSCLM): The soft shell clam endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of soft shell clams (Mya arenaria) in state waters at basic harvest levels. This endorsement may only be obtained via participation in an annual lottery or via renewal to residents only.
  • Shellfish Other Endorsement (CSFOTH): The shellfish other endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of all molluscan shellfish species available for harvest except quahaugs, soft shell clams, or whelks in state waters. Available to residents only.

Crustacean Endorsements:

  • Lobster Endorsement (CLOBS): The lobster endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of American lobster (Homarus americana) in state waters. This endorsement is only available via renewal to residents only. Harvest using lobster pots requires the license holder to possess a lobster trap allocation issued by the RIDEM.
  • Non-Lobster Crustacean Endorsement (CNLOBS): The non-lobster endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of all crustacean species available for harvest except American lobster state waters. Available to residents only.

Finfish Endorsements:

  • Non-Restricted Finfish (CNFIN): The non-restricted finfish endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of all finfish species except those found on the restricted finfish list in state waters. The restricted species list consists of summer flounder, striped bass, tautog, black sea bass, and scup. Scup is only a restricted species between May 1 and Oct 31.

Gear Endorsements:

  • Purse Seine (CPURSE): The purse seine endorsement allows the license holder to use a purse seine to harvest fish in accordance with all other applicable regulations.
  • Mid Water/Pair Trawl (CMWPT): The mid water/pair trawl endorsement allows the license holder to use a mid water pair trawl to harvest fish in accordance with all other applicable regulations. Both pair trawl vessel captain must have the endorsement.

Other Endorsements:

  • Dockside Sales (CDOCK): The dockside sales endorsement allows the license holder to sell live lobsters and crabs directly to consumers at the dock. Finfish and shellfish species are prohibited to be sold to anyone other than licensed dealers. Lobsters and crabs offered for sale must have been harvested by the license holder from the vessel from which they were harvested. Additional data reporting requirements apply to this endorsement.
  • Logbook endorsement (CLOGB): The logbook endorsement allows the license holder to submit harvester catch and effort reports via paper logbooks supplied by RIDFW. If a license holder does not have this endorsement he/she must report catch and effort data electronically via the Standard Atlantic Fisheries Information System (SAFIS).

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Principal Effort License (PEL)

The principal effort license is available to Rhode Island residents and non-residents. Fishing endorsements must be obtained and attached to the license for participation in the various state waters fisheries. The following endorsements are offered for the principal effort license:

Shellfish Endorsements:

  • Quahaug Endorsement (PQUOH): The quahaug endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of quahaugs (Mercinaria mercinaria) at a twelve bushel possession limit in state waters. This endorsement may be obtained by actively fishing with a commercial effort license during the prior year or via renewal to residents only.
  • Soft Shell Clam Endorsement (PSSCLM): The soft shell clam endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of soft shell clams (Mya arenaria) in state waters at full harvest levels. This endorsement may only be obtained by actively fishing with a commercial effort license during the prior year or via renewal to residents only.
  • Whelk Endorsement (PWLK): The whelk endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of channeled whelk (Busycotypus canaliculatus) or knobbed whelk (Busycon carica) in state waters. This endorsement is only available to current license holders who have either the quahaug or soft shell clam endorsement or via renewal to residents only.
  • Shellfish Other Endorsement (PSFOTH): The shellfish other endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of all molluscan shellfish species available for harvest except quahaugs, soft shell clams, or whelks in state waters. Available to residents only.

Crustacean Endorsements:

  • Lobster Endorsement (PLOBS): The lobster endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of American lobster (Homarus americana) in state waters. This endorsement is available only via renewal to residents only. Harvest using lobster pots requires the license holder to possess a lobster trap allocation issued by the RIDEM.
  • Non-Lobster Crustacean Endorsement (CNLOBS): The non-lobster endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of all crustacean species available for harvest except American lobster state waters. Available to residents only.

Finfish Endorsements:

  • Restricted Finfish (PRFIN): The restricted finfish endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of all finfish species found on the restricted finfish list in state waters. The restricted species list consists of summer flounder, striped bass, tautog, black sea bass, and scup. Scup is only a restricted species between May 1 and Oct 31. This endorsement is only available via an annual lottery or via renewal.
  • Non-Restricted Finfish (PNFIN): The non-restricted finfish endorsement allows for the commercial harvest of all finfish species except those found on the restricted finfish list in state waters. The restricted species list consists of summer flounder, striped bass, tautog, black sea bass, and scup. Scup is only a restricted species between May 1 and Oct 31.

Gear Endorsements:

  • Fish Trap (PFTRP): The fish trap endorsement allows the license holder to set one or more fish traps in state waters in accordance with all other applicable regulations. Traps may only be set in specific locations leased from the state by the license holder. This endorsement is available via renewal only.
  • Purse Seine (PPURSE): The purse seine endorsement allows the license holder to use a purse seine to harvest fish in accordance with all other applicable regulations.
  • Mid Water/Pair Trawl (PMWPT): The mid water/pair trawl endorsement allows the license holder to use a mid water pair trawl to harvest fish in accordance with all other applicable regulations. Both pair trawl vessel captain must have the endorsement.

Other Endorsements:

  • Dockside Sales (PDOCK): The dockside sales endorsement allows the license holder to sell live lobsters and crabs directly to consumers at the dock. Finfish and shellfish species are prohibited to be sold to anyone other than licensed dealers. Lobsters and crabs offered for sale must have been harvested by the license holder from the vessel from which they were harvested. Additional data reporting requirements apply to this endorsement.
  • Logbook endorsement (PLOGB): The logbook endorsement allows the license holder to submit harvester catch and effort reports via paper logbooks supplied by RIDFW. If a license holder does not have this endorsement he/she must report catch and effort data electronically via the Standard Atlantic Fisheries Information System (SAFIS).

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Multipurpose Fishing License (MPURP)

The multipurpose fishing license is available to Rhode Island residents. This license allows participation in all fishery sectors at full harvest and allowable gear levels. Fishing endorsements may be obtained and attached to the license in order to use specific gear types. The following endorsements are offered for the multipurpose fishing license:

Gear Endorsements:

  • Gill Net (MGILL): The gill net endorsement allows the license holder to set one or more gill nets in accordance with all other applicable regulations. This endorsement is available via renewal only.
  • Fish Trap (MFTRP): The fish trap endorsement allows the license holder to set one or more fish traps in state waters in accordance with all other applicable regulations. Traps may only be set in specific locations leased from the state by the license holder. This endorsement is available via renewal only.
  • Purse Seine (MPURSE): The purse seine endorsement allows the license holder to use a purse seine to harvest fish in accordance with all other applicable regulations.
  • Mid Water/Pair Trawl (PMWPT): The mid water/pair trawl endorsement allows the license holder to use a mid water pair trawl to harvest fish in accordance with all other applicable regulations. Both pair trawl vessel captain must have the endorsement.

Other Endorsements:

  • Dockside Sales (MDOCK): The dockside sales endorsement allows the license holder to sell live lobsters and crabs directly to consumers at the dock. Finfish and shellfish species are prohibited to be sold to anyone other than licensed dealers. Lobsters and crabs offered for sale must have been harvested by the license holder from the vessel from which they were harvested. Additional data reporting requirements apply to this endorsement.
  • Logbook endorsement (MLOGB): The logbook endorsement allows the license holder to submit harvester catch and effort reports via paper logbooks supplied by RIDFW. If a license holder does not have this endorsement he/she must report catch and effort data electronically via the Standard Atlantic Fisheries Information System (SAFIS).

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Student Shellfish License (STUDSF)

The student shellfish license is available to Rhode Island residents 23 years old or younger. This license allows participation in the quahaug fishery sector at basic harvest and gear levels. Student shellfish license holders may upgrade to a commercial fishing license with a quahaug endorsement if they were actively fishing during the prior year.


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Over 65 Shellfish License (SFO65)

The over 65 shellfish license is available to Rhode Island residents 65 years old or older. This license allows participation in the quahaug fishery sector at basic harvest and gear levels. Over 65 shellfish license holders may upgrade to a commercial fishing license with a quahaug endorsement if they were actively fishing during the prior year.


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Resident Landing License (RESLND)

The resident landing license is available to residents only. This license allows the holder to transit state waters and land all marine species including restricted finfish at Rhode Island ports. The restricted species list consists of summer flounder, striped bass, tautog, black sea bass, and scup. Scup is only a restricted species between May 1 and Oct 31. This license does not allow fishing in state waters.


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Non Resident Landing License (NRLAND)

The non resident landing license is available to non residents only. This license allows the holder to transit state waters and land all marine species with the exception restricted finfish at Rhode Island ports. The restricted species list consists of summer flounder, striped bass, tautog, black sea bass, and scup. Scup is only a restricted species between May 1 and Oct 31. This license does not allow fishing in state waters.


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Non Resident Restricted Finfish Landing License (NRLNDR)

The non resident restricted finfish landing license is available to non-residents only. This license allows the holder to transit state waters and land all marine species including restricted finfish at Rhode Island ports. The restricted species list consists of summer flounder, striped bass, tautog, black sea bass, and scup. Scup is only a restricted species between May 1 and Oct 31. This license does not allow fishing in state waters. This license is available via renewal only, applicants must show evidence of 1,000 pounds of restricted species landings in four of the five prior years.


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Vessel Declaration Sticker (VDECL)

Any vessel engaged in commercial fishing in Rhode Island waters must be declared with RIDEM prior to the vessel being used for commercial fishing. Declared vessels must display decals on their hull or wheelhouse.

Contact
Boat Registration & Licenses (Hunting, Fishing, Shellfishing)
Office Hours: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
235 Promenade St.
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: 401-222-6647 (Boating)
Phone: 401-222-3576 (Licenses)

Marine Fisheries:

Title Questions:

Hunting & Fishing:

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