An Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is a permit issued by the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO, Regional Office) that authorizes a fishing vessel to conduct fishing activities that would otherwise be prohibited under the regulations.

Generally, EFPs are issued for activities in support of fisheries-related research, including:

  • Landing undersized fish or fish in excess of a possession limit for research purposes;
  • Seafood product development and/or market research;
  • Compensation fishing; and
  • The collection of fish for public display.

The GARFO Regional Administrator reviews each application and makes a preliminary determination on whether the application contains all of the required information and constitutes an activity appropriate for further consideration. If the Regional Administrator determines that an application warrants further consideration, notification of receipt of the application is published in the Federal Register with a brief description of the proposal and an associated 15- to 45-day comment period.

A complete description of the EFP application process and related information is posted on the NOAA Fisheries website at Scientific Research and Exempted Fishing Permits.

The New England Fishery Management Council often submits written comments on EFP applications. Here are the Council’s comment letters from 2020 to the present.

2023 EFP Comment Letters

NEFMC to GARFO re 6.0-inch Gillnet Mesh Exploratory Fishing EFP – February 17, 2023

NEFMC to GARFO re High Vol Discard Chute EM EFP – March 1, 2023

NEFMC to GARFO re Blue Planet Strategies Ropeless Gear EFP – April 21, 2023

NEFMC to GARFO re Comments on 2023 Monkfish RSA EFP – June 1, 2023

NEFMC to GARFO MDMR 2023 Alternative Gear Retrieval EFP – June 22, 2023

NEFMC to GARFO re NEFSC On Demand Gear - June 30, 2023

2022 EFP Comment Letters

NEFMC to GARFO re NEFSC Study Fleet – May 23, 2022

NEFMC to GARFO re NEFSC Ropeless Lobster Gear EFP – June 2, 2022

NEFMC to GARFO re GMRI Third-Party DSM Pilot EFP – August 29, 2022

2021 EFP Comment Letters

NEFMC to GARFO re South Fork Wind fish pot EFP – March 11, 2021

NEFMC to GARFO re South Fork Wind Gillnet EFP – March 11, 2021

NEFMC to GARFO re Sea Watch Surfclam EFP – April 1, 2021

NEFMC to GARFO re Nordic Scallop Transplanting EFP – August 6, 2021

NEFMC to GARFO re GMRI MREM EFP extension – August 12, 2021

NEFMC to GARFO re CFF Seasonal Scallop Survey EFP – August 23, 2021

NEFMC to GARFO re Comments on NESSN 6-Inch Mesh Gillnet EFP – October 29, 2021

2020 EFP Comment Letters

NEFMC to GARFO re GSC HMA EFP – February 5, 2020

NEFMC to GARFO re CCCFHA Longline EM EFP – February 6, 2020

NEFMC to GARFO re 2020 NEFSC Study Fleet EFP – April 16, 2020

NEFMC to GARFO re GMRI EFP – April 24, 2020

NEFMC to GARFO re CFF Scallop EFP – July 6, 2020

NEFMC to GARFO re CFRF Beam Trawl Survey - September 29, 2020

NEFMC to GARFO re Monkfish RSA EFP – October 26, 2020