Licensing and Registration of Fishers and Vessels

Fishers and their vessels (commercial or recreational) are expected to be registered with the Fisheries Division. Registration is important, in that, it legitimizes both fisher and vessel as being bona fide in the Fishing Industry. It is also a crucial indicator to estimate the value and size of the industry and therefore acts as a fisheries monitoring tool. Fishers and vessels are licensed under the due diligence and discretion of the Licensing Authority of the Fisheries Division once registered. This process occurs throughout the year as new fishers and vessels enter the industry. The licence usually expires within one year of issue. In other cases where there are Close Seasons, such as that for Conch and Lobster, the licence is authorized for the appropriate period. It is a breach of the Fishing Industry Act, 1975 to fish or attempt to fish without having a valid licence or permit issued by the Licensing Authority and will result in a penalty or summary conviction in a Court of Law.

Registration of Vessels

Fishers are expected to visit the Fisheries Division’s Head Office at 2c Newport East, Kingston 11 or any of the Fisheries sub-Offices island wide to pick up an application form. The completed form should be accompanied by the following documents to start the vessel registration process.

  • Proof of ownership
    • Bill of sale for boats
    • Bill of sale for engines
  • Engine serial numbers
  • Two (2) coloured photographs(at least 4x7in) showing front and side views of boats
  • Transfer of ownership forms (filled out by former owner and approved by the Fisheries Division, if the boat was previously owned).


All boats must be inspected before registration. An appointment will then be scheduled by the Division for an authorized Fisheries personnel to examine the vessel. Vessels will be checked especially on their safety and communication equipment, as well as the suitability of the vessel for rigging (that is setting up to use lines, nets, etc.) for the intended methodology which will be used for fishing.

Check Points

  • Hull and superstructure*
  • Propulsion system (motor, pair of oars)
  • Anchor
  • Transistor radio
  • First aid kit
  • Life jackets for all crew members
  • Waterproof flashlights
  • Distress handheld flares (3 day and 3 night flares. Pistol type not recommended.)
  • Marine compass, GPS)
  • Emergency supplies

 * The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) currently conducts a more stringent inspection on larger vessels and issues a Safety / Seagoing certificate which must be taken to the Fisheries Division as part of the registration process. The MAJ is seeking to undertake a full coverage of all sea-going vessels in the near future.

A registration number issued by the Fisheries Division will be painted on the vessel at specific areas mandated by Law. The boats will also be photographed for reference purposes.

Fisher and Boat Licence Application brochure

Issue of Certificate

Within five (5) working days, the Certificate of Registration and Licence will be issued for vessels passing the inspection and which have been approved by the Licensing Authority. Failed inspections will require that a new inspection date be scheduled with the applicant. The applicant will then be advised as to the necessary changes and repairs that must be done to the vessel.

  1. Complete an application form made available by the Fisheries Division Head Office or any of its sub-offices island wide.
  2. Provide the following documents:
    1. Identification (Driver’s licence or Passport or National ID or passport-size photo signed by a Justice of the Peace)
    2. Proof of ownership of vessel and/or engine
  3. The application will be processed within five (5) working days.
  4. Applicants are advised to call the Fisheries Division to check on the status of their application and will be advised where to collect the documentation.
  5. Applicants are also asked to visit the approved Identification Depot (currently in Kingston) to have their photographs taken and identification cards laminated.