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Commercial Fishing/Reptile and Amphibian Collecting Licenses and Permits

Commercial Fishing and Reptile and Amphibian Collecting Licenses and Permits

To take or possess shrimp, crab, oysters, or finfish in Louisiana waters or gather reptiles and/or amphibians for commercial purposes, you must have one or more of the following licenses issued by LDWF. Application forms are available below.

License and Permit Types and Fees

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Operate a commercial fishing vessel Commercial Fisherman License OR Senior Commercial Fisherman License (if a resident age 70 or older) $55 resident, $460 nonresident; senior: $20 resident (includes all gear licenses except annual shrimp gear fee). License is personal and not transferable. It allows you to transport and sell your catch to any licensed wholesale/retail seafood dealer in Louisiana. If you transport your catch out of state, sell to a retail seafood dealer, restaurant, or retail grocer, or purchase fish for resale, you must become a licensed Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer. You must have a Fresh Products License to transport and sell your catch to a consumer within the state. See below.
Are an apprentice to a licensed and permitted commercial fisherman taking saltwater fish Apprentice License $27.50 resident, $230 nonresident; must meet qualifying income criteria and be an apprentice for at least two years onboard a commercial saltwater fishing vessel; after two years, may apply for a regular commercial fisherman’s license or permit for spotted seatrout, rod and reel, mullet, or other restricted species
Gather reptiles and amphibians for sale Reptile and Amphibian Collector License $25 resident/$10 resident under age 16, $200 nonresident
Have a vessel fishing commercially in the saltwater areas of Louisiana Vessel License $15 resident, $60 nonresident; this license is specific to the individual’s vessel and must be in the vessel owner’s name.
Produce fish in privately owned waters or ponds and transport and sell such fish Domesticated Aquatic Organism License $15 resident, $400 nonresident
Sell your catch to anyone who doesn’t have a Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer License (besides consumers) or transport your catch out of state Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer License $250 resident, $1,105 nonresident
Sell your catch directly to consumers within Louisiana Fresh Products License $20 resident, $120 nonresident. Your spouse may purchase a Fresh Products-Spouse License for $5 to sell directly to consumers.

Additional Species-Specific and Federal Licenses and Permits

You also must have additional licenses and permits to harvest some species and/or operate in federal waters. 

Shrimp

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Harvest shrimp in federal waters Federal shrimp permit issued by NOAA Fisheries There is a moratorium on these permits; you may only apply for one if an original permit is transferred to you. View the current list of transferable permits. Contact NOAA Fisheries at 877.376.4877 for more information.
Commercially harvest shrimp for live bait Special Bait Dealer Permit $110; see regulations for more details

Oysters

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Are the captain of commercial vessel harvesting or possessing oysters Oyster Harvester License $100 resident, $400 nonresident; see ***Oyster Harvester License Training Requirements****
Are in charge of an oyster cargo vessel Oyster Cargo Vessel Permit $250 resident, $1,105 nonresident; permit holders must have a vessel monitoring system (VMS) acceptable to LDWF’s Law Enforcement Division
Harvest oysters from Calcasieu Lake Calcasieu Lake Oyster Harvester Permit No fee
Take and carry oysters from public oyster seed grounds and/or reservations (not including those in Calcasieu or Sabine Lakes) Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit $250 resident, $1,000 nonresident for a single scraper vessel; $500 resident, $2,000 nonresident for a double scraper vessel; issued in the name of the vessel owner; identifies the permitted vessel; cannot be sold, exchanged, or transferred. LDWF is currently prohibited by law from accepting applications for new permits but will be accepting them once a professionalism program is developed.
Harvest oysters from a private lease in Louisiana and land them outside of Louisiana Out-of-State Oyster Landing Permit $100 resident and nonresident; the permit is valid for one calendar year; apply in person at LDWF; permit holders must have a VMS acceptable to LDWF’s Law Enforcement Division
Grow oysters in cages, on- or off-bottom, on permitted state-owned or private water bottoms for commercial harvest
  • Alternative Oyster Culture Permit
  • Oyster Harvester License
  • Commercial Fisherman License
Permit application fee is $100; permits are granted for a 10-year period. You must be 18 years old and a Louisiana resident (or a corporation organized in Louisiana). You must also have a Coastal Use Permit from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources as well as a Section 10 and/or Section 9 Obstruction to Navigation Permit and Section 404 Fill Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Reef Fish (Triggerfish, Amberjack, Wrasse, Snapper, Grouper, and Tilefish)

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Harvest or sell reef fish (triggerfish, amberjack, wrasse, snapper, grouper, and tilefish) in state or federal waters NOAA Fisheries-issued Commercial Reef Fish Vessel Permit Federally-permitted reef fish vessels must carry a VMS onboard. Additional federal regulations apply to the harvest of reef fish. For reef fish fishery management, Louisiana waters extend to 9 nautical miles. Fishermen should stay informed of the state/federal jurisdictional boundary as future congressional actions may affect current boundary demarcation as it applies to reef fish. If a future congressional action modifies the state/federal jurisdictional boundary, it will not impact the type of fishing gear reef fish fishermen may use.

Mackerel

If you: You must have a/an:
Harvest king or Spanish mackerel in federal waters NOAA Fisheries-issued King or Spanish Mackerel Permit

Mullet

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Harvest and sell mullet (unless harvesting for live bait) Mullet Permit $100 resident, $400 nonresident; to qualify, you must have had a Saltwater Gill Net License during any two years from 1993 to 1995 and provide state and federal income tax returns (including Schedule C of the federal 1040 form) demonstrating more than 50% of your earned income came from the capture and sale of seafood in at least two years from 1993 to 1995

Pompano

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Harvest and sell pompano caught with a strike net Pompano Permit No fee; application period is from January 1 to April 30 each year

Spotted Seatrout

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Harvest and sell spotted seatrout Spotted Seatrout Permit $100 resident, $400 nonresident; to qualify, you must have had a Saltwater Gill Net License during any two years from 1993 to 1995 and provide state and federal income tax returns (including Schedule C of the federal 1040 form) demonstrating more than 50% of your earned income came from the capture and sale of seafood in at least two years from 1993 to 1995; saltwater guides may not obtain a Spotted Seatrout Permit.

Sharks

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Harvest sharks LDWF-issued Shark Permit No fee
Harvest sharks in federal waters Federal Shark Permit  

Swordfish

If you: You must have a/an:
Harvest, possess, or sell swordfish caught in state or federal waters Federal Commercial Swordfish Permit

Tuna

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Harvest, possess, or sell Atlantic albacore, bigeye, bluefin, skipjack, and yellowfin tuna caught in state or federal waters Federal Commercial Tuna Permit See NOAA Fisheries or call 888.872.8862 for current information.

Tilapia

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Import, export, transport, culture, possess, dispose of, transfer, or sell tilapia in Louisiana Tilapia Culture Permit Bond: $25,000; fee: $50. For more information, call 225.765.0765.
Possess and sell live tilapia in Louisiana Tilapia Holder Permit Bond: $10,000; fee: $50. For more information, call 225.765.0765.

Gear Licenses and Permits

License and Permit Types and Fees

You must also have a license for each piece of gear you’re using unless otherwise noted. Gear licenses are temporarily transferable between licensed commercial fishermen of the same residency status. Nonresidents may not purchase licenses for gear that is prohibited in their home state.

In addition:

If you: You must have a/an: Fees and notes:
Transport gill nets, seines, strike nets, and trammel nets across state waters to use in federal waters Traversing Permit Free. You may not use these gears in state saltwater areas (unless you have a special permit to use strike nets). You may not possess red drum or spotted seatrout on vessels carrying these gears. You must notify LDWF at 800.442.2511 or 225.765.2441 four hours before you leave port to traverse or fish under the conditions of the Traversing Permit and immediately when you return from the permitted trip.
Develop experimental fishing gear to harvest underutilized species and develop new fisheries Experimental Fisheries Program Permit For more information, call 225.765.0765.