On July 5, 2013 new regulations affecting both the possession and landing of shad and river herring will be implemented. These new regulations ensure that Massachusetts remains in compliance with the interstate plan for these species.  A brief description of these regulatory amendments is provided below. 

The Atlantic State’s Marine Fisheries Commission recently approved Amendment 3 to the American Shad and River Herring management plan. This Amendment required that the harvest of American shad and river herring be prohibited in state waters unless the state could demonstrate sustainable harvest could occur on a particular run or river system.

With regards to American shad, MarineFisheries has the population data to authorize a 3 shad per day per angler bag limit only on the Merrimack and Connecticut River systems. Throughout the rest of the state, there is not sufficient data to demonstrate sustainable harvest can occur.  Accordingly, all other shad fisheries will be catch and release only. These new rules replace the previous state-wide 6 shad per day per angler bag limit.  

In 2012, MarineFisheries extended the moratorium on the harvest of river herring in state waters. To accommodate mixed catch in offshore bait fisheries there is a river herring bycatch tolerance.  At this time, MarineFisheries is clarifying that the river herring bycatch tolerance applies only to bait fisheries occurring in federal waters.  

For more information regarding the management of American shad and river herring, please visit our website at www.mass.gov/marinefisheries or call us at 617-626-1620. 
If you wish to obtain a copy of these regulations, please contact Jared Silva directly (jared.silva@state.ma.us or 617-626-1534).