Highly Migratory Species Exempted Fishing Permit applications for 2021

Application process

By means of exempted fishing permits (EFPs) National Marine Fisheries Service “may authorize, for limited testing, public display, data collection, exploratory fishing, compensation fishing, conservation engineering, health and safety surveys, environmental cleanup, and/or hazard removal purposes, the target or incidental harvest of species managed under an FMP or fishery regulations that would otherwise be prohibited” (50 CFR 600.745(b)).

The Council reviews applications for EFPs for highly migratory species and makes recommendations on their issuance based on the schedule described in Council Operating Procedure 20 (COP 20). According to COP 20 the Council accepts EFP applications each year at its June meeting for initial review and public comment. The Council may ask for revisions to the application or further clarification about the proposed activity. The Council then makes a final recommendation to NMFS on EFP issuance at its September meeting.

Applications must be received at the Council office (see addresses below) no later than 5:00 p.m., Thursday, May 27, 2021. Applications may be submitted by mail, FedEx or other overnight service, fax, or electronically.

Note to those considering submitting an EFP application for deep-set buoy gear (DSBG): In March 2021 the Council clarified the qualification criteria for a DSBG limited entry permit to fish in the Southern California Bight. These criteria would determine eligibility to receive a limited entry permit once such a program is implemented pursuant to Amendment 6 to the HMS FMP. The Council clarified the third qualifying tier such that only EFP holders approved by the Council prior to April 1, 2021 would qualify under Tier 3. (However, you may qualify under another tier depending on your fishing experience so consult the qualification criteria linked above. Note that Tier 8 covers any individual with documented commercial swordfish fishing experience between 1986 and the date regulations for the limited entry program come into effect.)

If submitting an application for DSBG you may use the application template provided below.


Mailing address:

Pacific Fishery Management Council
Attn: HMS EFP Application
7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101
Portland, OR 97220

Fax: 503-820-2299


Application contents

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with members of the Council’s Highly Migratory Management Team (HMSMT), Council staff, or National Marine Fishery Service staff when preparing an application. The HMSMT roster lists contact information for its members. Dr. Kit Dahl is the point of contact for Council staff; phone: (503) 820-2422 (toll-free 1-866-806-7204). Chris Fanning is the point of contact at the NMFS West Coast Region (phone: (562) 980-4198).

EFP applications must include the following information:

  1. Date of application
  2. Applicant’s names, mailing addresses, and telephone numbers
  3. A statement of the purpose and goals of the experiment for which an EFP is needed, including a general description of the arrangements for the disposition of all species harvested under the EFP
  4. Valid justification explaining why issuance of an EFP is warranted
  5. A statement of whether the proposed experimental fishing has broader significance than the applicant’s individual goals
  6. An expected total duration of the EFP (i.e., number of years proposed to conduct exempted fishing activities)
  7. Number of vessels covered under the EFP
  8. A description of the species (target and incidental) to be harvested under the EFP and the amount(s) of such harvest necessary to conduct the experiment, including harvest estimates of overfished species and protected species
  9. A description of a mechanism, such as at-sea fishery monitoring, to ensure that the harvest limits for targeted and incidental species are not exceeded and are accurately accounted for
  10. A description of the proposed data collection and analysis methodology
  11. A description of how vessels will be chosen to participate in the EFP
  12. For each vessel covered by the EFP, the approximate time(s) and place(s) fishing will take place, and the type, size, and amount of gear to be used
  13. The signature of the applicant(s)

EFP proposals must contain sufficient information for the Council to determine if there is adequate justification for an exemption to the regulations and the potential social and environmental impacts of the exempted activity.

Deep-set buoy gear exempted fishing permit application template

If applying for an EFP to use DSBG, you may use the application template provided here.

  • Application template in PDF format to be filled out by hand.
  • Application template as an online form. You will need to have all the information necessary to fill out the form at hand. It must be completed and submitted in one session. Therefore, you should download the PDF version of the application and review the information you will need to complete the online version.
  • Application form attachments: information on DSBG configurations, Council data gathering priorities, permit terms and conditions, and Council purpose for soliciting DSBG EFP applications.