When To Apply


• When should I apply?

ESA Section 10(a)(1)(A) Research Permits (Pacific marine and anadromous fish)

To allow for processing time, you are urged to apply at least six to nine months before you need to start your proposed activities, though certain permit actions may take even longer to process.

ESA Section 10(a)(1)(A) and MMPA Section 104(c) Research and Enhancement Permits (Marine mammals and endangered species, excluding Pacific marine and anadromous fish)

Submit applications involving threatened or endangered species at least one year prior to the planned initiation of research or enhancement activities.

Submit applications for non-ESA listed marine mammals at least six months in advance of the proposed research or enhancement activity. Note that if only non-ESA listed species are the subject of your permit application, but your activities may adversely affect threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat (aquatic or terrestrial), you should submit your application at least one year prior to the planned initiation of the activity.

4d Rule Research Authorizations (Pacific marine and anadromous fish)

Applications for approval to take NMFS threatened listed species under 4(d) limit 7 are accepted in September. Authorizations are good for one calendar year and can be renewed during subsequent application periods.

Oregon Scientific Take Permits

You may apply for an Oregon Scientific Take Permit (STP) at any point throughout the year. However, we request four to six weeks lead time. Oregon STPs are only valid during the calendar year, in other words, all permits expire on or before December 31st of the year in which the permit was issued. If you also require a NOAA Fisheries 4d authorization, your Oregon STP is coupled with that application.

• What is involved in processing an application?

ESA Section 10(a)(1)(A) Research Permits (Pacific marine and anadromous fish)

Once we receive a complete permit application, it is subject to a 30-day public comment period. NMFS then conducts an ESA section 7 consultation on the proposed issuance of the section 10 permit, resulting in a biological opinion. NMFS may also be required to conduct the following consultations on the potential effects of the activity proposed in the application: (1) Consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential effects on species under their jurisdiction, (2) Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultation, and (3) consultation with the National Ocean Service if the action takes place in a National Marine Sanctuary. In some cases we may be required to conduct an analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Any issues that arise during these consultations may delay the permit process.

ESA Section 10(a)(1)(A) and MMPA Section 104(c) Research and Enhancement Permits (Marine mammals and endangered species, excluding Pacific marine and anadromous fish)

Please provide complete and specific information according to the instructions in this Help Document. We cannot process incomplete applications. We will return incomplete applications with explanation or request additional information. If we request additional information and do not receive it within 60 days, we will withdraw the application.

Once we receive a complete permit application, it is subject to a 30-day public comment period. We concurrently send the application to the appropriate NMFS Regions, subject matter experts, and where takes of marine mammals are involved, to the Marine Mammal Commission, for review and comment. All permits are subject to analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Additional analysis under the ESA is applicable when ESA-listed species or designated critical habitat may be affected, and in these cases, NMFS conducts an ESA section 7 consultation on the proposed issuance of the permit, resulting in a biological opinion.

NMFS may also be required to conduct the following consultations on the potential effects of the activity proposed in the application: (1) Consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential effects on species under their jurisdiction, (2) Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultation, and (3) consultation with the National Ocean Service if the action takes place in a National Marine Sanctuary. Any issues that arise during these consultations may delay the permit process.

4d Rule Research Authorizations (Pacific marine and anadromous fish)

State fishery agencies must provide for NMFS’ review and approval a list of scientific research activities planned for the coming year. The state agencies screen research applications and then work with NMFS to ensure authorized research does not over utilize the resource. NMFS then conducts an ESA section 7 and Magnuson-Stevens Act consultation on the proposed issuance of the approval of the research program, resulting in a biological opinion. NMFS lets the agency know whether the submittal has been approved or rejected within 6 weeks of the date a complete submittal is received. Researchers are covered under the research limit as soon as the state fishery agency receives a letter from NMFS’ Northwest or Southwest Regional Administrator that their submittal has been approved.

Oregon Scientific Take Permits

Generally speaking, projects requiring only an Oregon STP will be processed based on the start time you designate. Once the application has been submitted, your application is filed for processing. The application will be reviewed for completeness, scientific or educational relevance, and concurrence from the local ODFW District Biologist. New applications may also be sent to our research section for review. We make every effort to issue the permit prior to your start date. In those instances where work load issues make this a challenge, we may issue an interim permit based on a preliminary review of the application. If you are applying for an Oregon STP as well as NMFS 4d authorization, your application will be reviewed through the 4d process.