Effective January 1, 2007, North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License is Required on the Outer Banks. North Carolina’s Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL), administered by the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), can be purchased on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis or combined with a variety of licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC). This license allows recreational fishermen to harvest finfish for personal consumption; Finfish harvested under this license cannot be sold. Fishermen using this license are held to the state’s recreational size and possession limits.

This license cannot be assigned or transferred and is required for ANY type of recreational finfish harvest not included under the Recreational Commercial Gear License. Fishermen holding the CRFL are required to comply with all DMF sampling and survey programs.

The license is required to recreationally harvest finfish in the state’s Coastal Fishing Waters, which include sounds, coastal rivers and their tributaries, out to three miles in the ocean. Recreational anglers who catch fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (3 miles – 200 miles offshore) will be required to have this license to land fish in state waters. Fishing in Joint Waters (areas managed by both the Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources commissions) will require either the CRFL or a WRC inland fishing license.

Exemptions are:

  • Individuals under 16 years of age
  • Individuals who purchase any of the following WRC licenses prior to Jan. 1, 2006:
    • All categories of Lifetime Sportsman licenses
    • Lifetime Resident Comprehensive Fishing License
    • Lifetime Combination Hunting and Fishing License for Disabled Resident Sportsman
    • Disabled Resident Sportsman
    • Lifetime Fishing License for the Legally Blind
    • Adult Care Home Resident Fishing License

Blanket Licenses: For-hire vessels and ocean fishing piers have the option to purchase a blanket license to cover their fishing patrons.

Waivers: A free license waiver will be available for subsistence anglers from their local Department of Social Services.

Sales Agents: The new license will be available from WRC license agents throughout the state and at any DMF office. The number of license agents will be increased in coastal areas.

Marine Resources Funds: Proceeds from the sale of this license will go into two marine resources funds managed by the state’s Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources commissions. Revenues must be used to manage, protect, restore, develop, cultivate, conserve and/or enhance North Carolina’s marine resources.

Fishing licenses may be purchased by calling 1-888-2HUNTFISH (1-888-248-6834) Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Visa and MasterCard accepted) or from an approved Wildlife Service Agent. Please note the outlet type. Some Agents can only sell licenses OR vessel registrations. Others can sell BOTH licenses and vessel registrations. Service Agents are presented for Dare, Currituck and Hyde Counties and are subject to change.

For more information, visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.