NOAA Fisheries Seeking Public Comment on Changes to Charter Vessel and Headboat Reporting Requirements

Release Date: 12/05/2018

NOAA Fisheries has proposed a new rule that would modify reporting requirements for owners or operators of vessels with a federal Gulf charter/headboat reef fish permit or Gulf charter/headboat coastal migratory pelagics permit. These proposed changes would require the owner or operator of a vessel with one of these permits to:

  • Electronically declare (hail-out) a fishing trip before leaving port.
  • Submit an electronic fishing report for each trip prior to the vessel offloading fish, or within 30 minutes after the end of the trip if no fish are landed.
  • Install NOAA Fisheries-approved hardware/software with global positioning system (GPS) capabilities that, at a minimum, archive vessel position data and transmit data to NOAA Fisheries. This requirement would not preclude the use of GPS devices that provide real-time location data or vessel monitoring systems (VMS). The GPS portion of the hardware must be permanently affixed to the vessel and turned on at all times, unless a power-down exemption is granted. 
  • Comply with these reporting requirements no matter where the vessel is fishing.

You can submit comments electronically via or by mail to:

Rich Malinowski

Southeast Regional Office, NMFS

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Comments are due January 9, 2019.

NOAA Fisheries will review public comments and modify the proposed changes if necessary then submit the rule to the Secretary of Commerce for review and approval. If the Secretary of Commerce approves the rule, NOAA Fisheries would implement the changes in phases during 2019.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved these changes to improve data collection and fisheries management. NOAA Fisheries has compiled several Frequently Asked Questions on these proposed changes. For more information, contact Chris Schieble at or 504-284-2035.