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Finfish Commercial Regulations Table

Updated as of January 12, 2016
SpeciesFisherySeason (Open - Close)Size LimitPossession Limit
American Eel (1)AllJan 01 - Dec 319 inNo Limit
Black Sea Bass (2)WeirsJan 01 - Dec 3112 inNo Daily Limit
All Gears Except WeirsJan 01 - Mar 3112 in100 lb
All Gears Except WeirsApr 01 - Aug 01N/A0 lb
Fish PotsAug 02 - Quota Dep.12 in300 lb
Hook & LineAug 02 - Quota Dep.12 in150 lb
Mobile GearAug 02 - Quota Dep.12 in150 lb
BluefishAllJan 01 - Sep 18No Limit5,000 lb
Cod (3)(4)North of Cape CodJan 01 - Dec 3119 in200 lb
East & South of Cape CodJan 01 - Dec 3119 in1,000 lb
Dab (Plaice) (3)AllJan 01 - Dec 3112 inNo Limit
Fluke (5)P1: NetsJan 01 - Jan 3114 inProhibited
P1: NetsFeb 01 - Apr 2214 inw/o LOA: 500 lb
P1: NetsFeb 01 - Apr 22  14 inw/ LOA: 1,000 lb per week 
P2: Nets Apr 23 - Jun 9 14 in100 lb 
P2: Longlines Apr 23 - Jun 9 14 in100 lb 
P2: Handlines or Rod & Reel Apr 23 - Jun 9 14 inProhibited 
P2: Nets* Jun 10 - Quota Dep.14 in300 lb
P2: Longlines* Jun 10 - Quota Dep.14 in200 lb 
P2: Handlines or Rod & Reel*Jun 10 - Quota Dep.14 in200 lb 
Haddock (3)AllJan 01 - Dec 3116 inNo Limit
Illex Squid (6)AllJan 01 - Quota Dep.No Limit No Limit
Longfin Squid (loligo) (6)    AllJan 01 - Apr 30No LimitNo Limit
AllMay 1 - Jul 9No LimitNo Limit
AllJul 10 - Aug 31No LimitNo Limit
AllSep 01 - Quota Dep.  No LimitNo Limit
Menhaden (7)Open AccessJan 01 - Quota Dep.No Limit6,000 lb
Limited AccessJan 01 - Quota Dep.No Limit125,000 lbs until 75% of quota harvested
25,000 lbs until 95% of quota harvested
6,000 lbs until 100% of quota harvested
Monkfish (3)(8)AllJan 01 - Dec 3117 in536 lb tails, 1,560 lb whole
Ocean Pout (3)AllN/AN/AProhibited
Pollock (3)AllJan 01 - Dec 3119 inNo Limit
Redfish (3)AllJan 01 - Dec 317 inNo Limit
Scup (9)      Winter IJan 01 - Apr 309 in50,000 lb
Fish WeirMay 01 - Quota Dep.9 inNo Daily Limit
Trawlers*May 01 - Oct 319 in800 lb w/o LOA, Weekly aggregate limit allowed with LOA
Non-TrawlMay 01 - May 319 in 800 lb
Non-TrawlJun 01 - Jun 309 in400 lb
Non-TrawlJul 01- Quota Dep.9 in 1,500 lb
Winter IINov 01 - Quota Dep.9 inTBD
SmeltHook & Line OnlyJun 16 - Mar 14No Limit50 fish
Smooth DogfishAll Gears But LonglinesJan 01 - Dec 31No Limit100 lb
Spiny Dogfish All GearsMay 01 - Quota Dep.No Limit 5,000 lb
Striped Bass (10)  Rod & Reel and Individual Permits: Mon, ThursJun 23 - Quota Dep.34 in 2 fish
Boat Permits: Mon, ThursJun 23 - Quota Dep.34 in15 fish
Tautog (11)AllApr 16 - Quota Dep.16 in 40 fish
All Sep 01 - Quota Dep.16 in40 fish
WeakfishAllJan 01 - Dec 3116 in100 lb
Windowpane (3)All N/AN/AProhibited 
Winter Flounder (12)Gulf of Maine Jan 01 - Dec 3112 in500 lb
Southern New EnglandJan 01 - Dec 3112 in50 lb
Witch Flounder (3)(12)AllJan 01 - Dec 3113 in1,000 lb
WolffishAll N/AN/AProhibited 
Yellowtail FlounderAllJan 01 - Dec 3112 in250 lb


* May be subject to change for 2016

1) American eels are subject to regulation by the Division and the municipality. Please Consult Local Regulations.

2) Fish weirs are not subject to daily trip limits. However, the combined landings of all fish weirs are subject to a 10,000 pound annual quota allocation. From the first Tuesday in August until the annual quota has been landed, the open fishing days for all gear types are Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Black sea bass are to be measured from the tip of the snout or jaw to the farthest extremity of the tail, not including the tail filament.

3) Groundfish species are regulated under the federal Northeast Multispecies Management Plan and federal rules apply beyond state waters.  Federal permit holders may land groundfish in accordance with federal rules.  The trip limits listed apply to State Waters Groundfish Endorsement holders and federally permitted vessels while fishing in state-waters.  Commercial fishermen who do not hold a State Waters Groundfish Endorsement or federal limited entry permit may take up to 25-pounds of regulated groundfish per day while fishing in state waters.  Fishing for groundfish in state waters is subject various closures spatial/temporal closures, gear type closures and species closures. , species and area closures; please review 322 CMR 4.09 , 4.11 , 8.09 , 8.12 , 8.15 and 12.04 for more details.

4) It is illegal to harvest cod from portions of Massachusetts Bay during the period of November 15 to January 31 (Winter Cod Conservation Zone ) and April 16 to July 21 (Spring Cod Conservation Zone ).

5) The P1 daily trip limits for nets is 500 lbs or vessels may obtain an LOA to land 1,000 lbs per week. The P1 trip limit is reduced to 100 lbs for all participants once 25% of the quota is landed.  The P2 daily trip limit during for nets during the squid fishery (April 23 – June 9) is 100 lbs.  P2 open fishing days after the squid fishery (June 10 – Quota) are Sunday – Thursday; during this period it is unlawful to land fluke on Friday and Saturday. Year-round it is unlawful to land fluke during the period of 8PM to 6AM.

6) Illex and Longfin squid are regulated under the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid and Butterfish Management Plan. Seasons and limits may be adjusted by the federal government. Visit for more details.

7) Any commercial fisherman may catch and land up to 6,000 pounds of menhaden per day. Commercial fishermen with a limited entry menhaden commercial permit endorsement may take menhaden under the higher trip limits described in the table above; these trip limits are adjusted based on quota availability. The 1,000 pound bycatch limit applies once 100% of the menhaden quota is taken and the fishery is closed; when the bycatch limit is in effect, menhaden landings cannot exceed 5% the total weight of the commercial catch. The use of nets within inshore waters is prohibited without an inshore net permit; the use of small bait nets of no more than 250 ft is authorized exempt from this prohibition – consult 322 CMR 4.02 for more details.   

8) Monkfish may be processed at sea into tails and livers and landed as such products.  Monkfish tails must be 11 inches in length and the total weight of monkfish tails may not exceed 536 pounds. The weight of monkfish livers must not exceed 25% the weight of monkfish tails being landed or 10% the weight of whole monkfish being landed.

9) Fish weirs are not subject to daily trip limits. However, the combined landings of all fish weirs are subject to a 275,000 pound annual quota allocation. During the May 1 – October 31 inshore scup fishery, specific gear types are subject to closed fishing days. For scup potters and hook and line fishermen, the scup fishery is closed: on Fri/Sat from May 1 – May 31; Mon/Thurs/Fri/Sat from June 1 – June 31; and Fri/Sat from July 1 until the fishery closes for the season.  For draggers, the scup fishery is closed on Fri/Sat during the fluke season from June 10 until the fishery closes for the season. The Winter I and Winter II periods are managed by the federal government and seasons and limits may be adjusted by NMFS.  

10) Striped bass may be taken by hook and line gear only; netting, spearing and snagging striped bass is prohibited. High-grading and fillet striped bass is prohibited. The commercial striped bass open fishing days during the season are Monday and Thursday for all gear types. Possession limits apply to both permit holders, regardless of the number of permits held, and vessels, regardless of the number of permits on board.   

11) The spring tautog season runs from April 16 until 28% of the annual quota is projected to be landed. The winter tautog season runs from September 1 until 100% of the annual quota is projected to be harvested.

12) Winter flounder cannot be taken inside the spawning closure area or the inshore net areas between February 1 and May 31.