Hawaii Division Aquatic Resources

Licenses and Permits

The Division of Aquatic Resources issues various permits and licenses for fishing, selling aquatic life, and other activities involving aquatic resources. These permits and licenses are authorized by State law and often require applicants to meet minimum qualifications and agree to specific conditions for their use. In some cases, special exemption permits allow persons or organizations to conduct certain activities that would normally be prohibited.

Note: most licenses and permits require the license/permit holder to report activities and take of marine life to the department. Non-reporting or delinquent reporting could lead to revocation or refusal of renewal.

Most licenses and permits are available from DAR offices statewide, except for Anuenue Fisheries Research Center. The Freshwater Game Fishing License is also available from certified license agents on O'ahu and Kaua'i and online. Please contact the nearest DAR office for more information.

Marine recreational fishing: No license required.

1) Commercial Marine License (Resident, Non-resident) - required for anyone to take marine life for commercial purpose. Also known as the commercial fishing license. Fees vary. Catch report required. HRS 189-2 & 3. Available for purchase online or from DAR offices.

2) Bait License - required for any commercial marine licensee to use a small mesh net to take certain fish for use as live bait. A current Commercial Marine License is also required. Fee. HRS 188-45. Available for purchase online or from DAR offices.

3) Kona Crab/Lobster Closed Season Sales Licenses (Wholesaler, Retailer, Hotel/Restaurant) - required for any dealer or restaurant to sell or serve during the closed season, any Kona crab or lobster lawfully caught during the open season. Fee. Inventory report required. HRS 188-57. Available for purchase online or from DAR offices.

4) Freshwater Game Fishing Licenses (Resident, Non-resident, Minor, Tourist 7-day, Tourist 30-day, Senior Citizen, Duplicate) - required for any person to recreationally take any introduced fresh water game fish. Fees vary. HRS 188-50. Available for purchase online, from authorized license agents, or from DAR offices.

5) Wahiawa Public Fishing Area Permit (Groups, Special Entry, Tournament) - required for entry to fish in the Wahiawa Public Fishing Area (O'ahu). A current freshwater game fishing license is also required. No fee.

6) Bottomfish Fishing Vessel Registration - required for any vessel owner to take or possess any of the seven species of deep-sea bottomfish regulated by Hawaii Administrative Rule Chapter 13-94. Identification of the vessel is required. No fee. Available online or from DAR offices. If you have questions about your Deep 7 bottomfish trip report or general questions about bottomfishing in the Main Hawaiian Islands, please email dlnr.ar.bf@hawaii.gov.

7) Aquarium Permit - required for any person to use fine mesh net for collecting aquatic life for an aquarium. Report required if commercial. No fee. HRS 188-31. Available online or from DAR offices. If you have questions regarding the collection of species for ornamental/aquarium purposes, please email dlnr.ar.aq@hawaii.gov.

8) Nu'uanu Entry Card - required to enter Nu'uanu Reservoir No. 4 for catfishing during open fishing sessions. A current freshwater game fishing license is also required. No fee.

9) Special Marine Product License for marine animal or product possession and sale - required for an importer, wholesaler, retailer, or restaurant to possess, sell, or offer for sale, any marine animal or product prohibited or restricted by regulations. Fee. Inventory report required. HRS 189-6. Available for purchase online or from DAR offices.

10) Aquaculture Facility License - required for a fish pond owner or operator to take regulated marine life including young mullet from the ocean or to acquire regulated marine life from non-ocean sources to stock their pond or facility with the intention of raising the marine life for commercial purposes. Fee. Taking report required. HRS 187A-3.5, HAR 13-74-43. Available for purchase online or from DAR offices.

11) Aquaculture Dealer License - required for any dealer, retailer, wholesaler, or restaurant to resell requlated marine life raised in a licensed aquaculture facility. No fee. HRS 187A-3.5, HAR 13-74-43. Available online or from DAR offices.

12) Special Activity Permit - required for any research, educational, management institution to collect aquatic life or to use certain fishing gear or methods, that are prohibited or restricted by regulations. A Special Activity Permit, for example, is required for anyone conducting sea turtle research in the State of Hawai'i. Reports usually required as a condition of permit. No fee. HRS 187A-6. The guidelines for application and the application form are available as pdf files.

13) Documents for Molokini Shoal MLCD Use Permit holders - required for permit holders as specified by permit.

You must register with www.molokiniuse.com to use the new online data entry system, which replaces the former mandatory Molokini Use Log (Attachment C). Consult the Frequently Asked Questions for guidance.

For further information, see Frequently Asked Questions or call the Maui DAR office at 808-243-5294.

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Entry Permit

HAR 13-60.5, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine Refuge, requires an entry permit for all activities taking place in state waters (0-3 miles) in the NWHI. Permit applications and instructions can be downloaded from and current applications viewed at the Papahanaumokuakea Monument's website.