The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is responsible for the conservation - including restoration, protection, and management - of fish and wildlife resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.

MassWildlife works to balance the needs of people and wildlife so wildlife will be available for everyone's enjoyment today and for future generations.

MassWildlife was founded as a state fisheries commission in 1866 in response to citizen concerns about the loss of Atlantic salmon to dams and pollution. The continuing development of the agency from that time until the present reflects the will of the citizens of Massachusetts to protect and restore our natural resources.

The conservation - including protection, restoration, and management - of Massachusetts' fauna and flora is the statutory responsibility of MassWildlife. Specifically, MassWildlife's charge is the stewardship of all wild amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and freshwater and diadromous fishes in the state, as well as endangered, threatened, and special concern species, including native wild plants and invertebrates. This responsibility is established and articulated in the Constitution and General Laws of Massachusetts.

As the base of scientific knowledge regarding the interdependence of all environmental factors has grown, coupled with progressive, pragmatic leadership, MassWildlife's mission has evolved to include all aspects of the environment. MassWildlife is committed to an evolving stewardship philosophy and to continued leadership in conservation and management of the environment.

A History of MassWildlife Book

A History of MassWildlife: 1866-2012

Written by retired MassWildlife biologist James Cardoza and published in 2015, this book chronicles the events that shaped the agency from its inception in 1866 as a Fish Commission. Significant dates; statistics on fish and wildlife populations through time; facts about hunters, anglers, and licenses; stocking data; along with information on staff are all outlined in this manuscript.

The book in its entirety is available for download enabling readers to peruse and search the whole document. For those who want to read one section at a time, the book has been divided into chapters, each covering about 25 years.

A History of MassWildlife: 1866-2012 pdf format of DFW History Full Version compressed with errata sheet
file size 8MB (complete text)