COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENCES

A Commercial Fishing License may be defined as a license issued to local fishermen on a basis in which the fishermen catch fish to sell as a mean of surviving. 

This type of license is only granted to a person who can provide proof of residential status.

It is unauthorized for a foreigner or foreign fishing vessel to fish commercially in the British Virgin Island waters without permission from higher authority.

Commercial fishing consist of methods such as:
•  Fish traps/pots
•  Seining
•  Hand-line
•  Fishing rods

Fish commonly caught may include: Trigger fish, Yellow tail, Red Hind, Doctor fish, King fish, Hard-nose, Angel fish, Parrot fish, Nassau Grouper, Shellfish etc. 

If granted by the Minister of Natural Resources & Labour, a Commercial Fishing License is valid for one year.     

 
Application for Local Fishing Licence 
Application for Registration of a Foreign Fishing Vessel 
Application for Registration of a Local Fishing Vessel 
Application for a Foreign Fishing Licence - vessel less than 25
Application for a Foreign Fishing Vessel Licence – vessel more than 25


BIG GAME/SPORT FISHING LICENSES

A Sport Fishing License is a license granted to Fishermen who escort mostly tourists on a fishing expedition.  This type of fishing is usually carried out by  Foreign Sport Fishing Companies and local fisher-persons.

The majority of persons applying for this type of fishing license are foreigners.  These foreigners mostly migrate from the surrounding islands e.g. U.S Virgin Islands. 

The BVI is known for it’s wealthy fishing banks such as:
•  The North Drop
•  The Sea Mount
•  The South Drop

The method used in Game or Sport Fishing is the use of a Fishing Rod/Reel, which can be termed as TROLLING. 

This type of fishing yields a more prosperous catch.  During the year 2000, the USVI economy generated over 80 million dollars from conducting fishing excursions in the BVI waters.  However, when these fishes are caught during these excursions, the boats then return to St. Thomas where a market will be made available. 

Species commonly caught includes: Wahoo, Kingfish, Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin, King Mackerel, Swordfish.

It is ILLEGAL to have more than thirty pounds of fish by weight in one’s possession per boat.

If granted by the Minister of Natural Resources & Labour, a Sport Fishing License is valid for one year.      

 Application to compete in a Sport Fishing Event



PLEASURE/RECREATIONAL FISHING LICENSES

A Recreational Fishing License is defined as a license granted to a person who catches fish on a catch-and-release basis.  Visiting tourists usually conduct this type of fishing activity.

Areas where this type of fishing may occur are called “FLATS”.  Flats are situated behind reefs and near mangroves with large portion of seagrass beds.

The gear used to catch these fishes is called a “FLY ROD”.

Fish commonly caught may include:
•  Bonefish
•  Tarpon
•  Snook

It is ILLEGAL to have in one’s possession billfish such as Blue & White Marlin, Sailfish and Sword Fish. It is also ILLEGAL to have more than thirty pounds of fish by weight in one’s possession per boat.

If granted by the Minister of Natural Resources & Labour, a Pleasure/Recreational Fishing License is valid for one month.

Application to compete in a Sport Fishing Event 


PLEASE NOTE:

While visiting the BVI and having any interest in fishing in the BVI, one should contact the Conservation & Fisheries Department. 

In situations where persons visit the BVI for only a short period of time and are interested in fishing, a fishing permit may be granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour and this permit is valid for one month at the cost of $45.00 (US).  Applications for a fishing permit should be made no earlier than two (2) before the intended date of arrival into the BVI. For persons desirous of applying online please complete and submit the relevant application below along our
 Credit Card Authorisation Form and Vessel Inspection Checklist.

The permit does not include catching fish for sale but catching fish for one’s personal use not exceeding thirty (30) pounds.

It is ILLEGAL to fish in the BVI waters without a valid fishing license or permit granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour.  Any one witnessing the practice of illegal fishing activities in the BVI waters should either contact the Royal Virgin Island Police Force or the Conservation & Fisheries Department immediately.


It is ILLEGAL to catch the following during Closed Seasons:

1st January –  31st March     Margate Fish (haemulon album)  
1st January – 31st March      Red Hind  (epinephelus guttatus)    
1st March – 31st May            Nassau Grouper (epinephelus striatus)   
1st April – 30th November     Marine Turtles  
31st July – 31st October        Lobsters               
15th August - 31st October    Queen Conch (strombus gigas)      
15th August - 31st October    Whelk (cittarium pica)             

Please select from the following Fishing Applications and Registration Forms

Application for Pleasure Fishing
Application for Local Fishing Licence
Application for Registration of a Foreign Fishing Vessel
Application for Registration of a Local Fishing Vessel
Application to compete in a Sport Fishing Event
Application for a Foreign Fishing Licence - vessel less than 25'
Application for a Foreign Fishing Vessel Licence – vessel more than 25'
Certificate of Registration of a Local Fishing Vessel

For further information on the different types of fishing licenses issued in the BVI please contact:

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour
Government of the
British Virgin Islands
Central Administration Complex
Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands

Telephone:  (284) 468 2700
Fax:  (284) 468-2781
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.