Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Division of Marine Fisheries
251 Causeway Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02114
Fax (617) 626.1509
May 25, 2012
Clarification on Rules Concerning the Mixing of Commercial and Recreational Fishing
During the Same Trip
With the closure of the black sea bass commercial fishery, Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) and Office of Environmental Law Enforcement have received many inquiries seeking clarification about the opportunity for commercial fishermen to retain some quantity of black sea bass for recreational or personal use.
Many fishermen hold both commercial and recreational permits; however it is not lawful to conduct both activities on the same trip. Be advised that to ensure the Commonwealth complies with interstate plan mandates and that data collection methods are not compromised, it is not lawful for any person or vessel engaged in commercial fishing to retain any species that are prohibited for commercial fishermen during the same trip.
There are numerous scenarios where this might occur. Specific to black sea bass, questions have been posed to MarineFisheries from commercial permit holders who fish commercially on a vessel for scup about whether they are allowed to retain black sea bass consistent with the recreational rules. There is no provision in the regulations to allow vessels or persons to simultaneously participate in both recreational and commercial fishing.
Consequently, Law Enforcement Officers have been instructed to consider all trips that are conducted by commercial permit holders who are in possession of quantities and/or sizes of fish that can only be authorized by a commercial permit - as commercial trips and therefore that trip and those persons aboard shall be bound by the commercial rules.
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