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Welcome Letter

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing

On behalf of Governor Raimondo, I am pleased to introduce the sixth annual Rhode Island Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide. The Ocean State offers some of the best saltwater recreational fishing around. Whether you fish the waters of Narragansett Bay or the coastal waters stretching from the south shore out to Block Island and beyond, anglers in Rhode Island have many fantastic opportunities to enjoy the diversity and abundance of our local catch.

As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and supporting a treasured tradition for Rhode Island families. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16+) in Rhode Island. And recreational fishing contributes more than $130 million to the economy each year. People love to fish in the Ocean State!

This guide is written for both novice and seasoned anglers. I hope you will find it filled with useful information on our efforts to provide superior recreational fishing opportunities in Rhode Island as well as with helpful guidance on fishing regulations. In these pages, you will learn about new habitat restoration initiatives, menhaden, aquatic resource education programs, climate change, marine mammal strandings, and much more. Local businesses that provide fishing-related services and supplies are also featured.

This is your publication, funded by contributions from saltwater anglers, including the federal Sportfish Restoration Program and the Rhode Island Recreational Saltwater License Program. Thanks to your support, our Marine Fisheries Division carries out a range of programs and activities supporting the interests of recreational fishermen. We monitor and conserve our local fish stocks. We work closely with recreational fishing organizations on initiatives like our special shore program for scup. And we continue to engage in outreach and education programs, such as this guide.

Getting people to and on the water is a core part of our mission at DEM. And we invest heavily in improving boating and fishing access to ensure anglers can easily reach their favorite spots on the water or along the shore. This past fall, we celebrated with Federal partners the completion of repair work to the Camp Cronin jetty and breakwater, a popular fishing area in Narragansett. Also, last year saw a major upgrade to the boat ramp at Goddard Memorial State Park – a popular access point in west Narragansett Bay. Improvements include a new, extra-wide precast concrete boat ramp with an adjacent, ADA-compliant floating dock. And we anticipate construction of a new fishing pier at Rocky Point State Park to begin this summer.

DEM works in close partnership with the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) to promote recreational fishing and introduce the sport to young Rhode Islanders through a popular fishing camp at Rocky Point State Park. The RISAA Foundation sponsored the first camp in 2016, teaching 50 children how to safely fish from boat and shore, some for the first time. Now in its third year, the camp takes place this summer from June 26 – 28. Little is more thrilling than casting a line and reeling in that first fish – especially on our beautiful Narragansett Bay. Kudos to RISAA for bringing this camp to Rocky Point and inspiring both a love of fishing and for this park in our children. It is through efforts like this that we forge the next generation of environmental stewards.

Beyond the fun it brings, saltwater fishing is a great way to enjoy fresh, delicious seafood. From bluefish to scup to our beloved summer flounder, Rhode Island is well known for the wealth of seafood harvested year-round from our waters. But ultimately, whether you fish for fun or food, the common denominator is that you are part of a time-honored tradition made possible by Rhode Island’s amazing marine life. And we are committed to expanding this special opportunity to explore the briny wonders of our state and to providing a sustainable future for our precious marine resources.

I hope this guide enhances your recreational fishing experiences. Be safe, respect the great outdoors and each other, and enjoy the magic of fishing in beautiful Rhode Island. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Janet Coit

Director