To report any violations, please call (670) 888-5906, (670) 898-2264 or (670) 323-6004

The rules and regulations pertaining to non-commercial fishing in the CNMI are summarized below for your convenience. Fishermen are responsible to know and understand the full and authoritative Title 10: Division 1: §1841 - Creates a fish reserve in the Sasanhaya Bay of Rota, between and including Puña Point and the Coral Gardens

Allowed Fishing Methods
  • Throw net or talaya
  • Hand reel
  • Rod and reel
  • Spear fishing
  • Gleaning (Harvest by hand)
  • Trolling
  • Bottom fishing
  • Cliff fishing
Prohibited Fishing Methods
  • Explosives
  • Poison ()such as cyanide, bleach, derris, and saponin
  • Electric shock devices
  • SCUBA spear fishing
  • Hookah
  • Certain type of nets (See "Fishing Nets")

It is illegal to possess, sell, or buy any fish, or other aquatic life taken by means prohibited in the CNMI.

Fishing Nets
What nets are allowed in the CNMI?
  • Throw or cast net (talaya)
  • Scoop or landing net
What nets are NOT allowed in the CNMI?
  • Drag net/Beach seine (chenchulun and lagua)
  • Trap net (chenchulun managam)
  • Surround net (chenchulun umesugon)
  • Gill net (tekkeng)
Requirements for using fishing nets
  • License: You need a license to fish with a talaya. A fee must be paid for each net
  • Registration tag: Once a net is licensed, it will be marked with a registration tag with the license number. The license holder must notify the Division immediately if the registration tag becomes detached from the net.
  • Nets may not be abandoned in the water or (within 150 feet of the high water mark on any public beach)
  • Anyone who abandons nets may be subject to penalties, including confiscation of abandoned nets, fines, and confiscation of net fishing permit(s).
Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are designated areas of the ocean or lagoon where the harvest of marine animals and plants is restricted. MPAs in the CNMI have a number of names, such as sanctuary, reserve, or conservation area. These areas can be designated for many reasons, but are usually intended to increase fish populations inside and outside the protected areas. In some of the marine protected areas, known as the "No-take" or "fully protected" MPAs, marine animals or plants may not be harvested at any time. In other MPAs, only certain species are protected, while other species may be harvested.

No-take MPAs (areas where no fishing or other extraction is allowed)

  • Bird Island Sanctuary, Saipan
  • Sasanhaya Bay Fish Reserve, Rota
  • Mañagaha Marine Conservation Area, Saipan
  • Forbidden Island Sanctuary, Saipan
  • Tinian Marine Reserve, Tinian (except for seasonal cast netting)
Species-specific MPAs

Species-specific MPAs are areas where certain species are protected.

  • Lighthouse Reef Trochus Sanctuary
  • Lau Lau Bay Sea Cucumber Sanctuary

See CNMI MPA Pertinent Laws and Regulations for more information. Detailed information on each MPA is available on the Marine Protected Areas page.

Fishing Moratoriums

A fishing moratorium is a temporary suspension of fishing activities. There are currently moratoriums on Trochus (aliling tulompo) and Sea Cucumber (balati). Neither species can be harvested anywhere in the CNMI. After the moritoriums are lifted, these species will remain protected in their respective sanctuaries; the Lighthouse Reef Trochus Sanctuary and the Lau Lau Bay Sea Cucumber Sanctuary.


It is illegal to collect or remove all species of corals (hard reef-building corals, soft corals and stony hydrozoans) from the waters of the CNMI without a license. DFW may issue liceneses to collecting coral for scientific research, or to take dead coral for manufacturing calcium carbonate (afuk).


Lobster harvest is allowed under the following conditions that protect egg-carrying females and juvenile lobsters.

  • Lobsters are caught by hand (no spears, traps, etc.)
  • Lobsters are at least three inches (76.2 mm) in length measured in a straight line the ridge between the two largest spines above the eyes to the rear edge of carapace
  • Lobsters are not carrying eggs
  • Lobsters have not been stripped of eggs
Aquarium fish
  • Marine aquarium fish may not be sold or exported
  • Anyone who catches aquarium fish for personal use or enjoyment must hold a license
  • Poisons may not be used to collect aquarium fish, unless for scientific research, in which case, a scientific research permit must be obtained
  • The only legal methods of collecting aquarium fish are as follows:
    1. Certain hand nets
    2. Barbless hook and line
    3. Other collection methods may be allowed by special permit conditions
Importing and Introduction
  • A permit must be obtained from DFW before any animals can be imported into the CNMI
  • No species of reptiles or amphibians may be imported into the CNMI, dead or alive. No species of harmful invertebrates may be imported into the CNMI.
  • Any importation of animals must comply with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • It is against the law to release any fish or wildlife that is not native to the CNMI. The only exception to this is for species introduced by DFW for conservation programs.
  • Anyone who illegally or accidentally introduces non-native species is legally accountable for the cost of eradication, including but not limited to, personnel salaries, transportation and equipment.
Fishing Permits
Type of Permit Fee Amount
Scientific Research $10.00
Import/Export $10.00/species
Talaya/cast net(s)
  • A. Non-commercial
    • a. Resident
    • b. Non-resident
    • $10.00
    • $75.00
Dead coral for afuk, etc. $15.00
  • A. Collecting
    • a. Personal
    • b. Commercial
    • $10.00
    • $30.00
Enforcement & Penalties

Offenses Related to Moratorium and Prohibited Fishing Practices

  • Offense Maximum fines and penalties
    SCUBA spear fishing (Rota) Up to $500 and/or up to 3 months jail time
    SCUBA spear fishing (Tinian, Aguiguan) Up to $500 or up to 3 months jail time
    SCUBA spear fishing (Saipan) Up to $1,000 and/or up to 6 months jail time, and gear confiscation; up to $1500 and/or up to 30 days
    Cyanide fishing Up to $10,000 and/or 3 years jail time
    Other Prohibited fishing methods Up to $1,500 and/or 30 days jail time
    Illegal harvest against moratoria $500 and up to 6 months jail time
    Nets Up to $5,000 + up to 3 months jail time

Offenses Related to Sanctuaries/Preserves

  • Location of Offense Maximum fines and penalties
    Sasanhaya Fish Reserve (Rota) $100 - $2,500
    Mañagaha Marine Conservation Area (Saipan) Up to $10,000 per day
    Bird Island Marine Sanctuary (Saipan) $500 and/or up to 1 year jail time
    Forbidden Island Marine Sanctuary (Saipan) $500 and/or up to 1 year jail time
    Lighthouse Reef Trochus Reserve Up to $5,000
    Lau Lau Bay Sea Cucumber reserve Up to $5,000 and/or up to 6 months jail time

Offenses Related to Endangered Species

  • Offense Maximum fines and penalties
    Take, kill, harass, injure, or harm endangered species $5,000 and 6 month jail time
    Buying, selling, or bartering of endangered species $5,000 and 6 month jail time

The rules and regulations pertaining to hunting in the CNMI are summarized below for your convenience. Hunters are responsible to know and understand the full and authoritative Non-Commercial Fish and Wildlife Regulations.

Threatened or Endangered Species

Threatened or endangered species may not be harvested, captured, harassed or propagated (exceptions exist by permit for scientific needs).


  • any wildlife taken by or under control of the person
  • Pulattat (Ghereel Bweel, Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus G.c. guami, Mariana Islands subspecies)
  • Chachaguak (Leghekiyank, Guam Swiftlet, Aerodramus)
  • Aga (Mwii, Mariana Crow, Corvus kubaryi)
  • Ga'ga' karisu (Malul ghariisu, Nightingale Reed-Warbler, Acrocephalus luscinia)
  • Nosa (Littchogh, Rota Bridled White-eye, Z.c. rotensis)


  • Fanihi (Marianas Fruit Bat, Pteropus mariannus)
  • Payesyes (Sheath-tailed Bat, Emballonura semicaudata)


  • Haggan (Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas)
  • Haggan Karai (Hawksbill Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Gaali'ek (Micronesian Gecko, Perochirus ateles)


  • Trongkon guafi (Fire Tree, Serianthes nelsonii)
  • Cat's Tail or Disciplina (Lycopodium phlegmaria var. longifolium)
Protected Species

Protected species of wildlife may not be hunted without a license issued in advance by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

  • Sambar deer (Binado) - Cervus unicolor
  • Philippine Turtle-dove (Paluman apu) - Streptopelia bitorquata
  • Precious corals - Corallim spp.
  • Hermatypic and other hard corals, soft corals and stony hydrozoans
  • Land crab (Panglao tunas) - Cardisoma hirtipes, Panglao echung - Cardisoma carnifex and other terrestrial crabs
  • Coconut crab (Ayuyu) - Birgus lataro
Hunting License

Wildlife not listed as threatened or endangered or protected, are considered unprotected wildlife and may be taken at any time without a license. Protected wildlife may be taken with a license issued in advance by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

License Carrying and Inspection

A person must carry a valid CNMI hunting license while hunting. Anyone in possession of a game animal, or any part of a game animal must have a valid CNMI hunting license or a certificate of origin. A certificate of origin is a letter or statement signed by the valid CNMI license holder who killed the animal and which is certified by DFW. The certificate of origin must state:

  • Species and sex of animal
  • Date killed
  • Hunting license number and date issued
  • Person to whom given
  • Animal part and amount given, and be attached to the animal or animal part where it can be readily seen by the conservation officer or others.

A person to whom a license has been issued may not permit any other person to carry, display or use the license in any way.

Wildlife Take Inspection and Survey Requirements

Hunters and any person in possession of wildlife taken in the CNMI must allow a conservation officer or other authorized CNMI officer to immediately inspect:

  • Any wildlife taken by or under control of the person
  • Any licenses and permits
  • Any articles or materials used in such hunting

Hunters and any person in possession of wildlife taken in the CNMI must allow a requesting DFW biologist or technician to collect data on taken wildlife.

Legal Hunting Age

Persons eighteen years of age and older may be issued a hunting license in the CNMI. Persons sixteen years of age and under may be issued a hunting license for wildlife that can be taken without the use of firearms or bows. Persons sixteen and seventeen years of age may be issued a hunting license that allows the use of firearms or bows if they successfully complete an approved rifle or bow training programs.

Non-commercial License Resident Non-Resident
Sambar Deer $10 (Lottery) Not allowed
Wild Goat/Pig/Cow $5 $25
Philippine Turtle-Doves $10 $75
Sea Crab $10 $75
Land Crab $10 $75
Coconut Crab $10 $75
Aquarium Fish $10 $100
Net: 0-50 feet $10 $75
Net: 50-100 feet $25 $100
Scientific Research $10 $10

Duration License

Licenses are valid January 1st or the date of issuance (whichever is later), until end of the same year. Licenses are valid to hunt only the species indicated on the license, only during the period covered by the license.

Hunter Report Cards

Each hunting license comes with a hunter report card to be completed by the hunter and turned in to DFW within ten days after the close of the season.

Additional Requirements for Deer

A license to hunt deer comes with a single registered deer tag. If the hunter kills a deer, he or she must immediately attach the deer tag to the carcass in the manner prescribed on the tag instructions. After gutting the deer, the hunter must immediately bring the deer to the DFW designated deer check station and allow check station staff to weigh and inspect the deer, and to record the tag number. Possession of an untagged or unregistered deer is prohibited. Any hunter who brings any part of that deer to another CNMI island must obtain a certificate of origin from DFW. The hunter must present the certificate of origin to custom or quarantine officials upon entering another island.

Legal Hunting Hours

Hunting for game animals is only allowed from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, and only during the designated hunting season. Coconut crabs may be hunted during any time of day or night during the designated hunting season.

Prohibited Activities

It is illegal for a person to:

  • Hunt while under the influence of alcohol or a narcotic or other disabling drug.
  • Take wildlife while riding or on any motorized vehicle including automobiles, motorized bikes, motor powered boats, helicopters, or airplanes.
  • Take or pursue wildlife while riding on an animal.
  • Use fire or artificial light as an aid in taking wildlife, except that artificial light may be used to hunt coconut and land crabs during the specified season.
  • Discharge a gun, bow and arrow, or cross bow in an attempt to take a game animal within a village or within two hundred meters of a human dwelling. It is likewise illegal to discharge such weapons across a public road, or within twenty-five meters of a road.
  • Use dogs to hunt anything except game birds.
  • Sell or barter game animals or game animal products with the exception of feral goats, feral pigs, or feral cows.
  • Possess any game animal, mounted specimen, antlers, skin, meat, or any part thereof without having a hunting license valid at the time of kill or a "certificate of origin" letter.
  • Hunt, kill, or possess any threatened, endangered, or protected species, or any part thereof, without a valid scientific permit.
  • Start a fire in a designated wildlife area or wildlife sanctuary.
  • Hunt while on official CNMI government travel unless specifically authorized in writing by the DLNR Secretary prior to travel.
  • Discharge any weapon within five hundred meters of a known, occupied bat roost. This will be enforced even in the event of a bat season being opened.
  • Hunt in closed areas.
Hunting Areas and Access

Hunting may only be conducted on public lands designated by the Director or on private lands with permission from the landowner.

Hunting Seasons and Harvest Limits

Only the wildlife listed below are game animals in the CNMI. They may be legally hunted during their respective hunting seasons. The hunting season ends at midnight on the last day of the season. Individual hunters must be in possession of a valid hunting license for each game species to be taken and must abide by the respective bag limit, season limit and the season.

Game Animals Season Bag Limit (Total/CNMI) Season Limit (Total/CNMI)
Sambar Deer (Rota only) 9/1 - 11/30 1 1
Wild Goat/Pig/Cow Open all year No Limit No Limit
Philippine Turtle-Doves 4/15 - 5/31 5 20
Philippine Turtle-Doves 10/1 - 11/30 10 20
Coconut Crab 9/15 - 11/15 5 10
Land Crab 4/1 - 6/30 and 10/1 - 12/31 No Limit No Limit
Transportation of Game Animals

A certificate of origin issued by DFW is required to transport game animals in whole or part between CNMI islands after the end of the season. Certificates of origin are valid for up to fifteen days after the end of the season.

Special Regulations for Particular Species


(Also see Additional Requirements for Deer above under "Licenses".)

  • Only antlered, male deer may be taken. Visible evidence of the sex of the deer must accompany the carcass while in the field and during transportation to the check station and the hunter's residence.
  • Before the beginning of the hunting season, DFW will determine the number of deer licenses that will be made available for that season and announce a period during which people may register for deer hunting licenses. Licenses for deer hunting will be allocated based on a random drawing from among those people who have registered. A new registration file will be created each year.

Coconut Crabs

  • A coconut crab which measures less than three inches wide across the back may not be taken at any time.
  • A female crab, regardless of size, may not be taken when it is carrying eggs beneath the abdomen (berried).
  • The only legal means of taking coconut crabs is by hand.
  • The sale of coconut crabs captured in the CNMI is strictly prohibited.
  • The preserving or mounting of coconut crabs for display purposes or the sale of such crabs within the CNMI is strictly prohibited.

Bird Eggs

The taking of eggs from any species of land or sea bird is prohibited with a special permit from DFW.

Other Species of Birds, Reptiles, Mammals and Plants

Hunting for protected wildlife and plant species is prohibited.

Protected Wildlife Order, Family, Species Common Names
Seabirds (including, but not exclusive to:)

Order Procellariiformes

  • Family Diomedeidae
  • Phaethon lepturus
  • Sula leucogaster
  • Sula sula
  • Sula dactylatra
  • Frigata minor
  • Albatrosses
  • White-tailed Tropicbird
  • Brown Booby
  • Red-footed Booby
  • Masked Booby
  • Great Frigatebird
Long-legged, long-necked Waders

Order Ciconiiformes

  • Egretta sacra
  • Bubulcus ibis
  • Egretta intermedia
  • Pacific Reef-Heron
  • Cattle Egret
  • Intermediate Egret

Family Rallidae

  • Rallus owstoni
  • Gallunula chloropus
  • Guam rail
  • Mariana Common Moorhen

Order Charadriiformes

  • Anous minutus
  • Anous stolidus
  • Black Noddy
  • Brown Noddy
Native Forest Birds
  • Megapodius laperouse
  • Gallicolumba xanthonura
  • Ptilinopus roseicapilla
  • Aerodramus vanikorensis
  • Corvus kubaryi
  • Monarcha takatsukasae
  • Rhipidura rufifrons
  • Acrocephalus luscinia
  • Aplonis opaca
  • Zosterops rotensis
  • Cleptornis marchei
  • Micronesian Megapode
  • White-throated Ground-Dove
  • Mariana Fruit-Dove
  • Island (Gray) Swiftlet
  • Mariana Crow
  • Tinian Monarch
  • Rufous Fantail
  • Nightingale Reed-warbler
  • Micronesian Starling
  • Rota White-eye
  • Golden White-eye
  • Chelonia mydas
  • Eretmochelys imbricate
  • Perochirus ateles
  • Green Sea Turtle (Haggan)
  • Hawksbill Turtle (Haggan Karai)
  • Micronesian Gecko (uali'ek)
Marine Mammals
  • Cetaceans
  • Whales and Porpoises
  • Serianthes nelsonii
  • Lycopodium phelgmaria
  • Osmoxylon mariannense
  • Tabernaemontant rotensis
  • Fire tree (Trongkon guafi, Hayun lago)
  • cat's tail or discipina fern
  • (no common name)
  • (no common name)
Authorized Means of Taking Game
  • Only firearms meeting current CNMI caliber/gauge and registration requirements and bows of forty pound draw or more may be used to harvest game animals with the exception of live captures as otherwise provided herein for specific species.
  • If bows and arrows are used to hunt deer, goats, or pigs, the arrows must be fitted with arrow-heads that are at least seven-eighths inch across at the widest point and have no fewer than two cutting edges.
  • Unless authorized under this section, firearms, devices, nets, explosives, traps, snares, chemicals, etc. may not be used to take game animals. However, wild goats, pigs, or cows may be captured alive in nets, traps, and leg hold snares.
Subsistence Hunting

The Divison of Fish and Wildlife allows exemptions in the seasons, harvests, and regulations for individuals engaged in subsistence hunting. There are no exemptions to the regulations in the case of threatened or endangered species. Currently, the only valid subsistence hunters are permanent residents of the Northern Islands (those islands north of Saipan).

Wildlife taken under subsistence conditions must be utilized as a personal food source and not sold or traded. Permanent residents of the Northern Islands may legally offer game species taken as subsistence to legitimate off-island guests during mealtime. Such game must be consumed by the guest on the permanent resident's premises and may not be transported off island. Off-island residents may not legally take game in the northern islands except in accordance with normal season and license provisions.

Wildlife Conservation Area Prohibitions

Hunting is illegal in Wildlife Conservation Areas as are:

  • being in possession of any firearm, slingshot, bow and arrow, shot or any instrument that could be used for the purpose of hunting,
  • being in possession any animal, carcass, nest, egg, in part or in whole,
  • damaging, destroying, or removing a plant except those plants used for traditional medical purposes,
  • destroying or molesting animals or carcasses, nests, or eggs

Exceptions may exist by DFW special permit.

Special Rules Pertaining to Travel and Hunting in the Northern Islands

All vessels, including CNMI government vessels, traveling from any port to the Northern Islands must:

  • Notify the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) prior to departure.
  • Allow DFW to inspect the vessel prior to departure if anyone on the vessel is traveling to the Northern Islands for purposes of hunting.
  • Notify DFW upon docking or landing at a CNMI port, if during normal business hours; otherwise, all vessels must contact DFW by radio or other form of communication before arrival to ensure inspection of the vessel upon arrival in Saipan, Tinian or Luta (Rota).

The captain and the owner of the vessel are responsible for compliance with rules and regulations pertaining to hunting and fishing in the Northern Islands. See Non-Commercial Fish and Wildlife Regulations for full and authoritative rules and regulations.

The following is an excerpt from the CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations governing Scientific Research Licenses:

Subsection 85-30.1-205 Scientific Research License

(a) Purpose

The purpose of the scientific research license is to gain access to research data, acquired in the CNMI, for use in resource management.

(b) Persons Requiring License

  • A person conducting research on wild or feral animals in the CNMI, or on captive populations of such animals, which involves the capture, handling, collection or harassment of fish or wildlife, must have a scientific research license unless excepted by this section.
  • Research conducted by a team requires that only the team leader(s) have a license if:

    • The team leader is always during field studies.
    • All other members of the team are under the team leader's direct supervision.

(c) Issuance of License

  • Upon applying for the license, the applicant must provide a written statement including names and addresses (permanent and CNMI) of all the team members, description of research plan, approximate duration of the research, and any anticipated support (transportation, equipment, personnel participation, etc.) that might be requested from the CNMI government, and fee of $10.00.
  • Prior to issuing the license, the Director shall analyze the benefit of the particular research to the CNMI and determine whether it exceeds any potential harm to the resource involved.
  • The license may be issued only upon agreement by the license holder that a complete report on the results of the research (including data collected) will be submitted to the Division within one year from date of license issuance. The license may be conditioned by the Director to fulfill the obligations of the Division and the regulations in this subchapter.

(d) Exemption from Regulations

The Director may exempt license holders from specific requirements of this section provided that the Director specify the extent and duration of the exemption in writing and that this information accompany the license holder at all times that licenses activities are being undertaken.