Wildlife Observation through Diving and Snorkeling
Up to 12 visitors at any one time are allowed to participate in recreational diving and snorkeling programs. Two groups of up to 4 divers or snorkelers are allowed per boat at lagoon, channel or ocean reef sites at any given time. An additional 4 snorkelers are allowed using a third small skiff near the lagoon or channel area. Thus, the total capacity is a combination of up to 12 snorkelers and divers.
Bonefishing and Blue Water (Offshore) Fishing
Recreational bonefishing is conducted at Palmyra on a catch-and-release basis with artificial flies and barbless hooks. A total of eight anglers are allowed in the lagoons at one time, with no more then 2 fishing outings permitted per day. Catch rates are monitored through daily logs and tagging studies in order to assure sustainable fishery conditions.
The offshore sport fishing program at Palmyra allows visitors access to pelagic game-fish, including tuna (ahi), wahoo (ono), and mahi-mahi. Fishing is limited to 8 people per trip, with no more than 2 boats at a time, with up to 3 trips per day. Fishing logs are required for each trip. Only pelagic species are permitted to be kept for on-island consumption.
No sportfish of any kind are permitted to be shipped off the atoll for any reason. No bottom fish or reef fish are allowed to be targeted, and any that are accidentally caught are to be immediately released. Jacks can be fished on a catch-and-release basis, and none are permitted to be consumed or retained for any reason.
Sailing and Motorboating
With prior approval by the USFWS, privately owned vessels are permitted access to the atoll for up to 7 days to see and enjoy the natural resources of the refuge. A maximum of 2 vessels are allowed at one time and up to 6 yachts may visit in a month. Private vessels must have U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved holding tanks for sewage and an appropriate and current USCG inspection certificate. Additional precautions include the need for visiting yachts and ships to have clean hulls free of fouling organisms prior to entering the reefs and West Lagoon at Palmyra.