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Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing

Regulations listed below are subject to change during the 2019 season.

Species

Note

Min. Size

Open Periods

Possession Limits

American Eel

(1)

9"

All Year

25 fish

American Shad

(2)

Catch and release only, with exceptions.

Black Sea Bass

(3,7)

15"

May 18 – Sept. 8

5 fish

Blue Marlin

Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries.

Bluefish

None

All Year

10 fish

Cod (North of Cape Cod)

(4,5)

See www.mass.gov/marinefisheries for current regulations

Cod
(South & East of Cape Cod)

(4,5)

See www.mass.gov/marinefisheries for current regulations

Dab (Plaice)

(4,5)

14"

All Year

No limit

Fluke (Summer Flounder)

5 fish

May 23 – Oct. 9

17"

Gray Sole (Witch)

(4,5)

14"

All Year

No limit

Haddock
(North of Cape Cod)

(4,5)

See www.mass.gov/marinefisheries for current regulations

Halibut

(4,5)

41"

All Year

1 fish

Monkfish

(4,5)

None

All Year

No limit

Pollock

(4,5)

None

All Year

No limit

Redfish

(4,5)

None

All Year

No limit

River Herring

Harvest, possession, sale and use are prohibited.

Sailfish

Federal rules apply. Consult NOAA Fisheries.

Scup, Private Vessel & Shore

(7)

9"

Apr. 13 – Dec. 31

30 fish

(150 fish/vessel maximum)

Scup, For-Hire Vessels

9"

Apr. 13 – Apr. 30

30 fish

May 1–June 30

50 fish

July 1 – Dec. 31

30 fish

Sharks
(excludes spiny dogfish)

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

Smelt

None

Jun. 16 – Mar. 14

50 fish

Spiny Dogfish

None

All year

No limit

Striped Bass

(6)

28"

All year

1 fish

Tautog

(10 fish maximum per private/rental vessel, year-round)

(8)

16"

Apr. 1 – May 31

3 fish

Jun. 1 – Jul. 31

1 fish

Aug. 1 – Oct. 14

3 fish

Oct. 15 – Dec. 31

5 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

(4,5)

Prohibited

Winter Flounder

(North of Cape Cod)

(4,5)

12"

All year

8 fish

Winter Flounder

(South & East of Cape Cod)

(4,5)

12"

Mar. 1 – Dec. 31

2 fish

Wolffish

(4,5)

Prohibited

Yellowtail Flounder

(4,5)

13"

All year

No limit

Notes:

1) Subject to regulation by the Division and the municipality. Please consult municipal 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, with no minimum size limit.

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) It is unlawful to fish with hook and line gear in the Winter Cod Conservation Closure from November 15 through January 31. It is unlawful to take cod from the Spring Cod Conservation Closure from April 16 through July 21.

6) Striped bass must be kept whole, meaning the head, tail, and body remain intact. Only evisceration is allowed. Permitted for-hire vessels may fillet striped bass for their customers.

7) Black sea bass and scup may be filleted but not skinned while at-sea. No more than two fillets per allowed fish may be possessed.

8) When the tautog fishery is open, private anglers are subject to 10-fish maximum tautog limit for the vessel. The most restrictive limit of the per angler bag limit or per vessel maximum limit applies.

* Possession limits are per person per day unless otherwise noted.