All persons engaged in the wholesale or retail trade of raw fish, shellfish, lobsters, or bait, whether frozen or unfrozen must have a Dealer permit from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and may be subject to inspection from the Department of Public Health. Shellfish dealers must check Food & Drug regulations for tagging and record keeping.

Dealer Permit Descriptions and Additional Requirements 

Bait Dealer Permit:

  • Allows the holder to take (in conjunction with a commercial fisherman permit) and sell marine bait.
  • No inspection is required.
  • Consult local regulations (i.e. on worms, eels, etc.).

Retail Boat Seafood Dealer Permit

  • Allows the holder to sell “whole” fish, lobsters and crabs lawfully harvested under the authority of their commercial fisherman’s permit from his/her boat (does not include shellfish).
  • Allows the holder of any commercial lobster permit to transport live lobsters or live crabs, caught aboard the holder's permitted vessel, for sale to the public including to persons and businesses that are not retail or wholesale dealers of raw or processed fish or shellfish.
  • A commercial fisherman’s permit is required in addition to this permit.
  • A boat waiver (*see application page 2) must be filed in lieu of a health inspection.

Retail Seafood Dealer Permit

  • Allows the holder to sell raw fish, whether frozen or unfrozen, shellfish and lobsters at one retail location.
  • The holder must purchase shellfish only from a holder of a wholesale dealer or wholesale truck permit, or from a certified out-of state wholesale dealer.  Shellfish CANNOT be purchased directly from a harvester.
  • Does not allow the holder to shuck, re-label or repack shellfish.
  • An approved inspection from the Massachusetts Food Protection Program is required.
  • A copy of the inspection report must be submitted with the application to the Division of Marine Fisheries.
  • The name and address must be the same on the inspection report and permit.
  • This permit may be endorsed for bait (excluding shellfish).  The inspection must specifically state “Approved for retail and bait permit”.

Retail Seafood Truck Dealer Permit

  • Allows the holder to sell fish or lobsters at retail from a mobile unit (does not include shellfish).
  • Does not allow the holder to process, fillet, shuck, cook, etc.
  • An inspection is required from a town or county Board of Health.
  • A copy of the inspection must be submitted with the application.
  • The name and address must be the same on the inspection report and permit.
  • A Hawkers and Peddlers permit may also be required. Contact the Division of Standards at (617) 727-3480 for further information.

Wholesale Seafood Broker Permit

  • Allows the holder to act as an agent who negotiates contracts of purchase and sale of seafood.
  • The brokerage activities will not involve the actual handling, processing or reshipping of finfish, shellfish or other marine resources.
  • A “broker only” waiver (*see application page 2) must be filed in lieu of a health inspection.

Wholesale Seafood Dealer Permit

  • Allows the holder to acquire, handle, store, distribute, process, fillet, ship or sell raw fish and/or shellfish, whether frozen or unfrozen, in bulk or for resale.
  • Also allows retail sales from the same single, fixed location.
  • An approved inspection from the Massachusetts Food Protection Program is required.
  • A copy of the inspection report must be submitted with the application to Division of Marine Fisheries.
  • The name and address must be the same on the inspection report and permit.
  • This permit may be endorsed for bait (excluding shellfish), the inspection must specifically state, “Approved for retail and bait permit”. 
  • Requires a HACCP plan.

Wholesale Seafood Truck Dealer Permit

  • Allows the holder to acquire, handle, distribute, ship or sell raw fish, whether frozen or unfrozen, in bulk or for resale from a truck only.
  • Does not allow the holder to process, re-label, repack, or store seafood, whether frozen or unfrozen.
  • Does not allow the holder to purchase shellfish directly from harvesters or shuck, re-label or repack shellfish.
  • An approved inspection from the Massachusetts Food Protection Program is required.
  • A copy of the inspection report must be submitted with the application to the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Primary Buyer & Quota Managed Species Authorization

Beginning in 2004, any MA seafood dealer who purchases seafood products, even if for bait purposes, directly from fishermen is considered a primary buyer, and must indicate so on this application. For businesses with multiple locations, this application must be completed for each location in MA which is purchasing any seafood product(s) directly from fishermen. In addition, all Federally permitted dealers must complete this application regardless whether they are a primary buyer or not.