Laws and Regulations

As our human population grows and cities expand, interactions between people and wildlife are becoming more common. While conservation efforts of the USFWS, our partners, and you can help minimize the negative impacts of these encounters, there are some activities that cannot avoid some disturbance to wildlife.

To address this reality, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife has set up a series of permits that help to balance the needs of people and wildlife and minimize the impact of certain activities. Explore the topics below to find general information and application instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hunting and Fishing Permits

We do not issue hunting and fishing licenses. Instead, those are issued by State Wildlife Agencies.

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources
Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife 

Section 10 Endangered Species Permits

Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act is designed to regulate a wide range of activities affecting plants and animals designated as endangered or threatened, and the habitats upon which they depend. With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities affecting these protected species and their habitats unless authorized by a permit from the USFWS of NOAA-Fisheries.

The most commonly requested permits are native endangered and threatened species permits under the Endangered Species Act.  Permits are issued to qualified applicants for the following types of activities:  

Enhancement of Survival Permits are designed to...

Provide landowners with a mechanism to promote endangered species conservation their land and are used in with Safe Harbor Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. 

Incidental Take Permits are required for...

Non-federal entities, when otherwise lawful activities may result in take of endangered or threatened animal species. A habitat conservation plan must accompany an application for an incidental take permit to ensure that the effects of the authorized incidental take are adequately minimized and mitigated.

Recovery Permits are required for...

Activities that help the recovery of listed species. A typical use of a recovery permit is to allow for scientific research on a listed species in order to understand better the species’ long-term survival needs.