How to Measure Your Catch
Note: For Massachusetts marine waters minimum fish sizes are measured as total length. This is the greatest straight line length (not curved over the body) in inches as measured on a fish with its mouth closed from the anterior tip of the jaw or snout to the farthest extremity of the tail. Fish should be firmly grasped with both hands for proper measuring. Care should be taken so that the head of the fish firmly contacts the zero mark on rulers and tapes simultaneously with the tail extremity. On black sea bass the tail filament (tendril) if present, is not included in the measurement. For fish with forked tails, the upper and lower fork may be squeezed together to measure the tail extremity.
Tunas measurement is taken as curved fork length. This is in a line, tracing the contour of the body from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail, which crosses the dorsal insertion of the pectoral fin and the dorsal side of the caudal keel.
Sharks are measured from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail.
Billfish (swordfish, sailfish, marlin) are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the tail fork.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.