The Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area is located primarily in federal waters south of the Isle of Shoals and is closed to the use of recreational and commercial gear capable of catching cod in April, May, and June. Federal rules affecting the closure area state that recreational fishing will only be allowed “with handline or rod and reel gear that is designed to fish for, or that is being used to fish for, pelagic species no portion of which is designed to be or is operated in contact with the bottom at any time.” (Pelagic species are fish generally found in the upper part of the water column.) In addition, the catch or possession of any groundfish species (cod, haddock, flounders, etc.) while in this area is prohibited during the closure. However, a boat may transit through the area with groundfish caught outside the area, provided all bait and hooks are removed from the fishing rods or handlines or commercial gear is properly stowed in accordance with Federal Rule 50 CFR 648.23(b). Please call the Marine Fisheries Division (603-868-1095) for rules that apply to the state waters portion of this area.