Regulations for Recreational Fishing Vessels.

While on a recreational fishing trip last year I reeled in a very unusual catch.  The captain knew exactly what it was when pulled aboard.  He also knew the regulations in his ocean that allowed me to keep the rare catch.  This made me think about fishing regulations on a larger scale because I had never investigated the rules myself and have always counted on others knowledge of the regulations.  In the Pacific Ocean there are slightly different regulations and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) then in the Atlantic.  These regulations cover items such as HMS Permits, logbook requirements, observer programs, prohibited species, catch limits for non-HMS, prohibited catches and fishing techniques.  There is a lot to know for recreational fishing vessels and just because you may be fishing for say salmon does not mean you won’t hook something else you may want to keep. 

HMS Recreational Gear Regulations
Rod and Reel (pole and line): a hand-held (including rod holder) fishing rod with a manually or electrically operated reel attached.  Spear: a sharp, pointed, or barbed instrument on a shaft. Spears can be operated manually or shot from a gun or sling.  Hook and Line: one or more hooks attached to one or more lines (excludes mousetrap gear).  The area managed under these regulations applies to all U.S. vessels that fish for HMS on the high seas and land their fish in California, Oregon or Washington between 3-200 nautical miles off the coast. 

What are the HMS Logbook Reporting Requirements?
Since catch, effort, and catch disposition data is critical for monitoring HMS fisheries and assessing the status of the stocks, evaluating the effectiveness of management logbooks hold a important key to fishing the oceans.  All commercial fishing and recreational charter vessels are required to maintain logbooks.  All information specified on the logbook forms must be recorded on the forms within 24 hours after the completion of each fishing day.  The original logbook form for each day of the fishing trip must be submitted to NMFS or the appropriate state management agency within 30 days of each landing or transshipment of HMS. Each form must be signed and dated by the fishing vessel.

Since regulations are a key tactic to keep our oceans from being overfished these guides go into the needed detail on all regulations for the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic.