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Welcome Letter

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Massachusetts offers some of the finest saltwater recreational fishing in the United States

This Recreational Fishing Guide was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) to help you enjoy the Commonwealth’s recreational fishing experience. It includes information and regulations for marine finfish, lobster and crab, plus an extensive listing of the state’s public boat ramps, bait & tackle shops, and charterboat and headboat operations. It also includes information about how to handle your catch and it encourages responsible fishing practices.

MarineFisheries commitment to achieving sustainable fisheries and a healthy marine ecosystem is supported by dedicating your saltwater fishing permit fees to improve public access to our resources and to build programs that advance management of our fisheries. During the recreational permitting program’s first year (2011), over 125,000 permits were issued, including over 900 to for-hire businesses. Of all angler permits issued, about 85% went to residents of the Commonwealth; a quarter was issued for free to seniors.

Working with the Marine Recreation Fisheries Development Fund, MarineFisheries has adopted a spending plan for the resulting total of over $1 million added to the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund, including nearly $40,000 in generous donations. New programs scheduled for 2012 that will benefit from the first proceeds from the Fund include: construction of a sport fishing pier on the Bass River in Yarmouth; expanded sampling of the recreational fishery to improve data used to assess stock conditions and regulate harvest; increased dissemination of informational and educational materials to the fishing public; and additional monitoring and enhancement of diadromous fish stocks (such as river herring and shad).

Supplementing the revenue from your saltwater recreational fishing permit fees, funding for this guide and much of MarineFisheries Recreational Fisheries Program is provided by one of the most effective “user-pays, user-benefits” programs in the nation – The Sport Fish Restoration Act – where anglers and boaters provide vital financial support for state fisheries management, boating access, and other related programs.

We hope this year’s guide will be a useful addition to your tackle box. Please enjoy and respect the richness of our marine resources.

Best Regards,


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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Conservation Partner Advertisements: The Division of Marine Fishieries allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Division of Marine Fishieries Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC &, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The Division of Marine Fishieries neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/ directly at 413-884-1001,
This is not the full law. Consult the Division of Marine Fishieries for further details. All persons are reminded that the statutes, code and regulations are the legal authorities.
JF Griffin Media
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