Recreational Regulations

Recreational Regulations intended as a general summary of Massachusetts marine recreational fishing regulations. Please refer to the full laws and regulations page for complete details.

Recreational Saltwater Permits

Purchase or renew Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing, For-Hire, & Recreational Lobster Permits. 

Species Profiles

Profile pages for different sorts of species that live in the waters surrounding Massachusetts including finfish, shellfish, and crustaceans.

Electronic Recreational Angler Logbook (eLogbook)

The eLogbook is MarineFisheries’ electronic recreational angler logbook.  It does two jobs in one! Volunteer recreational anglers record their daily fishing log into the database through an online connection. These anglers can look through their logs by tables and colorful graphs, making it an easy way to keep track of personal fishing efforts.

Massachusetts Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide

Each year, the Massachusetts Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide provides you with basic information about the Commonwealth’s recreational fishing rules and opportunities.  Available at tackle shops throughout the state and at each of our offices (found here), this guide is updated annually to reflect the current regulations and hot topics in Massachusetts recreational angling.

Saltwater Fishing Derby

The Division of Marine Fisheries coordinates its longstanding and popular Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Derby in different categories such as Weigh-In Derby and Catch and Release Derby. This Derby is from January 1st through November 30th of each year also is free derby so no entry fees.

Massachusetts Saltwater Game Fish Records

Check here for up to date Massachusetts saltwater game fish records.

Public Access

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts plays an important role in supporting recreational fishing activity in the northeast region of the United States. In fact, about half of all regional participation occurs here. Nearly 700,000 men, women and children are estimated to participate in saltwater fishing in our tidal waters each year.

Sport Fish Restoration Funding

Sport Fish Restoration Logo

The Recreational Fishery Programs of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries are supported with funding from the USFWS Sport Fish Restoration Program – a “user-pays, user-benefits” program where anglers and boaters provide vital financial support for state fisheries management, boating access, and other related programs.  For more information on the Sport Fish Restoration Program, visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Head Boat Locations

Map of head boat locations. 

Tackle Shop Locations

Map of tackle shop locations. 

Boat Ramp Locations

This map is intended to identify coastal boat ramps in Massachusetts.

Sportfish Angler Data Collection Team (SADCT)

The Sportfish Angler Data Collection Team (SADCT) program is a group of volunteer anglers collecting biological samples of selected recreational fish species in Massachusetts marine waters. SADCT is part of an Atlantic coast-wide effort to manage and conserve recreationally targeted species. Information gathered through SADCT is provided to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to support conservation and sustainability efforts.

Fish Responsibly

All recreational anglers should act as responsible stewards of the marine environment. We value our fisheries resources and by minimizing our impacts on fish populations we help preserve, protect, and enhance these resources for future years. While we often only consider the impact of our harvest (what we bring home), the improper catching, handling, and releasing of fish cause many unintentional deaths. For example, while only about 300,000 striped bass are harvested by Massachusetts anglers each year, about 500,000 released striped bass die as a result of handling stress and injuries. The Responsible Angler uses fishing techniques that reduce these unintended injuries and deaths. A little forethought and common sense can go a long way to lessening our impacts. Below are several simple steps that anglers can take to help conserve our fishery resources. Please keep these in mind during all your fishing trips.

The Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund

In 2011, the Commonwealth established a recreational saltwater fishing permit to comply with the Saltwater Act, a state law prompted by a federal mandate enacted to improve estimates of saltwater fishing effort and catch data. The fee for the permit was set at $10 for both residents and non-residents alike, and is free for recreational anglers who are 60 years and older.  In conjunction to the permit, the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund was established as a dedicated fund, to ensure a ‘user-pay/user-benefits’ program. This means that all fees collected from the sale of recreational saltwater fishing permits can only be used on approved marine recreational fishing programs.