I am hopeful some of you older salts can advise me on a question. I have been in the inshore charter side for a few years now, and with the addition of a new boat, with greater range and options I am now trying to make business choices for my future. I can now run to lots of wrecks and reefs in my area mostly after permit and cobia, but theres also of course gags, mangos etc etc. I in no way can afford nor want any legal issues with NOAA on a federal fisheries issue against my name and reputation. So I am dreading that I may have no choice but to seek out GOM charter permits. Which sparks a few questions, called them and tried to ask direct, but did not quite understand what was said.
1. Is there a policy change that may come (quota system) that may make the permits not necessary or no longer the way of things? If this is even a possiblity in the next year or so then I do not/ nor again can afford to buy something that will be worthless in the near future.
2. Best way to find them, and an average of what I should spend? Also am I able to lease a portion of someones to fish on or must I have my own?
3. Will I be required to have a VMS? What the heck is it? How much is it and what all is involved with it?
I thank you in advance for any help that can be offered. I am trying to get started and do the right thing, but the powers that be seem to make it a little complicated.