Coast Guard Licensing and Federal Laws

Welcome to

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program for Farmers delivered technical assistance to producers of agricultural commodities and fishermen who have been adversely affected by import competition. The TAA program delivered training to nearly 10,000 producers of Catfish, Asparagus, Maine Wild Blueberries, as well as Shrimp and Lobster fishermen.

Federal Laws

You can view any of the free online training courses developed for the TAA program. TAA participants also completed business adjustment plans using AgPlan (, the online business plan writing app; or AgTransitions (, an online transition planning app. Since the end of TAA the AgPlan development team has developed a fishing specific software call FishBizPlan (

Unfortunately, this program has ended because federal funding for the program was cut. If you have questions related to TAA for Farmers, please contact the Center for Farm Financial Management at

Section Image There are a number of federal laws that impact commercial fishing operations. Commercial fishing operations themselves, of course, are governed by provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. However, federal environmental laws passed to protect migratory birds, marine mammals, threatened and endangered species, as well as special marine places, all have some affect on commercial fishing operations. Because many of these laws have stiff penalties for violations, commercial fishermen need to be aware of what activities are prohibited. Due to the presence of endangered species, primarily sea turtles, in the Gulf of Mexico and the south Atlantic, the shrimp fishery is also heavily impacted by provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act. Federal laws also have some bearing on the human side of the fishery – the workers. Vessel owners and operators have certain responsibilities to their crew with respect to wages and work environment. Crew members injured on the job may also be entitled to compensation for their injuries from both their employer and the vessel owner.

  •   Introduction
      Magnuson Act
      Magnuson Act (Cont.)
      Endangered Species Act
      MBTA and Marine Sanctuaries
      Fishing Vessel Safety Act
      The Jones Act