Deadline to renew commercial fishing licenses extended to July 31

Commercial fishing provides a $25 million annual economic benefit in Dare County. [Coastal Review Online photo]

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has extended the deadline to renew current commercial and for-hire fishing licenses by one month in response to COVID-19.

Fiscal year 2019-2020 commercial fishing licenses, for-hire fishing licenses, and permits issued by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries with an expiration of June 30, 2020 will remain valid until July 31, 2020.

This extension does not apply to fiscal year 2018-2019 commercial fishing licenses that expired on June 30, 2019. These license holders must purchase a fiscal year 2019-2020 license by June 30, 2020 to remain eligible to purchase a fiscal year 2020-2021 license.

The extension also does not apply to Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses or Recreational Commercial Gear Licenses.

Recent legislation pertaining to COVID-19 authorized state agencies to delay until Aug. 1 the renewal dates and associated fees for licenses and permits in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare and for the economic wellbeing of citizens and businesses (see NCGA Session Law 2020-3 [], Section 4.38). The Division of Marine Fisheries has determined these circumstances apply.

“COVID-19 has had widespread economic impacts to North Carolina’s commercial and recreational for-hire fishing industries,” said division Director Steve Murphey. “This extension will allow fishermen more time to adjust financially to these circumstances.”

Division offices remain closed, and staff is facilitating license purchases and renewals by phone and mail.

License holders are still encouraged to renew their licenses through the mail. Renewal packets were mailed to each license holder earlier this spring.

Fishermen also may submit completed applications with payment (check, cashier’s check, or money order only) in drop boxes provided at the following division offices:

DMF Headquarters
3441 Arendell St.
Morehead City
Phone: 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

Manteo Field Office
1021 Driftwood Dr.
Phone 252-473-5734 or 800-405-7774

Pamlico District Office
943 Washington Square Mall, Highway 17
Phone: 252-946-6481 or 800-338-7804

Southern District Office
127 Cardinal Drive Extension
Phone: 910-796-7215 or 800-248-4536

Fishermen who have questions should call their local license office at the number listed above or email

Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses can be purchased or renewed onliner by calling N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission at 1-888-248-6834 during office hours.