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Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

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Regulations listed below are subject to change during the 2015 season.

Species

Note

Min. Size

Open Periods

Possession Limits

American Eel

(1)

9″

All Year

25 fish

American Shad

(2)

None

All Year

Closed with exceptions

Black Sea Bass

(3) 14″ May 23 – August 27 8 Fish

Blue Marlin

Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries.

Bluefish

None

All Year

10 fish

Cod (North of Cape Cod)

(4) Prohibited.

Cod
(South & East of Cape Cod)

22″

All Year

10 fish

Dab (Plaice)

14″

All Year

None

Fluke

16″ May 22 – September 23 5 fish

Gray Sole (Witch)

14

All Year

None

Haddock

See www.mass.gov/marinefisheries for current regulations

Halibut

41″

All Year

1 fish

Monkfish

None

All Year

None

Pollock

None

All Year

None

Redfish

None

All Year

None

River Herring

Harvest, possession, sale and use are prohibited.

Sailfish

Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries.

Scup

Private 10″

May 1 – December 31

30 Fish
For-Hire Bonus 10″

May 1 – June 30

45 Fish
For-Hire Regular 10″

July 1 – December 31

30 Fish

Sharks
(excludes spiny dogfish)

See www.mass.gov/marinefisheries for current regulations.

Smelt

None

June 16 – March 14

50 fish

Spiny Dogfish

None

All year

None

Striped Bass

(5) 28″ All Year 1 Fish

Tautog

16″ All Year 3 Fish

Tunas

Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries.

Weakfish

16″

All year

1 fish

White Marlin

Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries.

White Perch

8″

All year

25 fish

Windowpane Flounder

Prohibited

Winter Flounder

(North of Cape Cod)

12″

All year

8 fish

Winter Flounder

(South & East of Cape Cod)

12

March 1 – December 31

2 fish

Wolffish

Prohibited

Yellowtail Flounder

13″

All year

None

Notes:

  1. Subject to regulation by the Division and local community. Consult local regulations.
  2. American Shad is a catch and release fishery, except for on the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers where anglers may retain up to 3 fish per day.
  3. Black sea bass are measured from the tip of the snout or jaw (mouth closed) to the farthest extremity of the tail, not including the tail filament.
  4. Federal rules apply beyond state waters. Consult NOAA Fisheries for permitting requirements and regulations.
  5. Striped bass must be kept whole, with head, tail and body intact – no mutilation permitted (other than evisceration). Note: Permitted party/charter vessel operators may fillet striped bass for their customers. See 322 CMR 6.07 (4)(g) for details.

Prohibitions

Snagging, snatching of anadromous fish: including shad, smelt, white perch, striped bass, trout, and salmon, but excluding alewives or blueback herring.

The taking of striped bass by any means other than hook and line.

To “high-grade” striped bass, i.e. the discard of dead, legal size striped bass.

To retain live striped bass in the water by attaching to a stringer or placing in a live well or holding car.

The taking of billfish using gear other than a rod and reel.

The taking of Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, all marine mammals, all sea turtles, and the diamond back terrapin from Massachusetts waters.

For anyone, except the owner, to handle, destroy, or molest any lobster or crab pot or other fishing gear, including any gear swept up on the shore, beaches or flats whether public or private, or to take fish there from.

To sell, barter, or exchange fish or shellfish without a commercial permit.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

Return to the eregulations.com home page
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