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Welcome Letter

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing

Get caught up in the excitement of Massachusetts recreational saltwater fishing!

Some places offer a little bit of paradise, but Massachusetts goes well beyond that. For those expecting well-deserved relaxation and excitement, and a splendid saltwater fishing experience, Massachusetts really delivers. Few go away with unmet expectations because our coastline offers variety in many ways; from striped bass caught surfcasting to winter flounder taken from small boats fishing sandy flats, to swift tunas caught aboard charter vessels. Our commonly-caught species offer challenge to fishing skills easily honed by advice provided in our many bait and tackle shops or, for children, through MarineFisheries youth fishing clinics. We never underestimate the importance of instilling love of saltwater fishing into the “big game” anglers of tomorrow.

This 2016 Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide provides more than just where and when to fish. It profiles some of our groundbreaking research — such as post-release mortality of hooked fish — commonly done as partnerships with other scientists and fishermen. This research has contributed to a far better understanding of our fisheries and how anglers can better contribute to conservation efforts.

Another trademark of MarineFisheries is the manner in which we collaborate with recreational anglers. We look to your knowledge and opinion on the spending of funds obtained through our recreational saltwater permit. These funds are used to improve shoreline access for anglers and gain knowledge of the fish we target, ensuring a “user-pay / user-benefit” program. Our Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Panel is comprised of five citizens who give us critical advice as to which projects will be of greatest benefit to you, the anglers.

We appreciate all of our Commonwealth anglers and see, through your numbers, the extent and great importance of our recreational fisheries. We issue over 160,000 permits annually and that number doesn’t include young anglers, anglers on headboats and chartered vessels, and those anglers traveling from neighboring states that have a reciprocal permit. We work hard to provide you with the best possible fishing experience.

Our challenge and commitment is to advocate for recreational anglers and promote steps to protect and enhance not just target species like tuna, cod, and striped bass but also the forage base on which these fish depend. This has become even more important with a shift in emphasis to ecosystem-based fisheries research and management, and our needing to understand and respect predator-prey relationships.

Please be resolved this year to make many trips to the water and get caught up.