Table of Contents

General Licensing FAQs
Division of Fisheries and Wildlife FAQs
Division of Marine Fisheries FAQs

General Licensing FAQs

Q: I've never purchased licenses on the Internet before. How do I use MassFishHunt?
Q:
What types of licenses CAN be purchased via MassFishHunt?
Q:
What types of licenses CANNOT be purchased via MassFishHunt?
Q:
How do I know if I am an Existing or New Customer?
Q:
I have determined that I am an Existing Customer. How do I know what licenses and permits I have in the MassFishHunt system?
Q:
What is a Customer ID, and why is it important?
Q: I created a New Customer record for myself and later realized that I was already in the database. Will this create a problem?
Q: What will my e-mail address be used for?
Q: How can I find out in advance what the various licenses, permits, and stamps cost?
Q: Can I pay for my lobster permit and freshwater fishing license at the same time?
Q: Can I purchase licenses for others as gifts?
Q: Which credit cards are accepted by MassFishHunt for Internet transactions?
Q: Does MassFishHunt accept debit cards for Internet transactions?
Q: How can I be sure my credit card information is secure?
Q: How can I be sure the fees from my Internet license purchase are credited to the correct agency?
Q: How long must I have lived in Massachusetts to be considered a resident?
Q: I lost my license or permit. How do I get a duplicate?
Q: Can I purchase any licenses and/or permits over the phone?
Q: What do I need to purchase a MassFishHunt license via the Internet?
Q: I don't have a computer or printer.  Where can I buy a license or stamps or apply for permits?
Q: How can I pay for my license, permits, and stamps at different locations?
Q: Are there any additional fees for purchasing MassFishHunt licenses?
Q: What if I lose or damage my license, tags, or permits?
Q: Who do I contact if I have questions about using MassFishHunt?

Q: I've never purchased licenses on the Internet before. How do I use MassFishHunt?

Online shopping is similar to grocery store shopping in that you, the Customer, can select among several items for purchase, individually placing each item in a "shopping cart". Once you have finished shopping, you have the option of paying for all items in your shopping cart, adding new items, or removing existing items. In MassFishHunt, all licenses, permits, and stamps must be purchased with an accepted credit card.

Q: What types of licenses CAN be purchased via MassFishHunt?

MassFishHunt was designed to provide one-stop shopping for outdoor recreational licenses, permits, and stamps. Through this site, you will be able to buy a Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, or Sporting license; a Recreational Lobster Permit, and the new Recreational Saltwater Fishing permit.

Q: What types of licenses CANNOT be purchased via MassFishHunt?

MassFishHunt only issues recreational licenses, permits, and stamps. Commercial fishing permits issued by the Division of Marine Fisheries and special licenses and permits issued by the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (e.g., scientific collection, taxidermy, etc.) are not currently available online. In addition, some licenses and permits that require additional documentation are not offered online (e.g., resident alien hunting licenses require alien gun permit, minor hunting/sporting licenses requiring proof of age and parental consent, etc.)

Q: How do I know if I am an Existing or New Customer?

If you were previously issued a Massachusetts Recreational Lobster permit, Saltwater Fishing Permit, Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, or Sporting license via the former "MassOutdoors" licensing system or via MassFishHunt, then you are most likely an Existing Customer. Your Customer ID appears on all licenses, permits, and/or renewal notices.

If you have never been issued a Massachusetts license or permit via "MassOutdoors" or MassFishHunt, then you are most-likely a New Customer.  MassFishHunt will issue you a Customer ID after you submit your personal information via the Customer Profile Summary screen. Your Customer ID will not change, and you should use it for all future MassFishHunt transactions.

Q: I have determined that I am an Existing Customer. How do I know what licenses and permits I have in the MassFishHunt system?

Existing Customers can view their inventories of licenses, permits, and stamps at any time by clicking the "License Inventory / Reprint" link on the Customer Menu. The License Inventory / Reprint screen will display Purchase Dates, Item Names, and Valid From / Valid To dates for your active items.

Q: What is a Customer ID, and why is it important?

The Customer ID is a system-generated number that uniquely identifies each customer/licensee record. When you use the MassFishHunt system, your personal information will be recorded and you will be issued a Customer Identification number. Your Customer ID will stay the same from year to year allowing you to easily reprint your license if lost, track your purchases, add permits or stamps to your current license and purchase future licenses. All MassFishHunt customers should use the Customer ID during Internet licensing sessions and at authorized License Agent locations.

Q: I created a New Customer record for myself and later realized that I was already in the database. Will this create a problem?

In order for us to maintain complete and accurate records of all licenses and permits, we need to have ONE Customer record for each licensee. If you have accidentally duplicated your Customer record, please contact us immediately at 617-626-1520 or 617-626-1590.

Q: What will my e-mail address be used for?

Providing your e-mail address is entirely up to you; however, we believe that it improves our ability to communicate with you in the future when there are important announcements, regulatory changes, and other information that is important to you.

Q: How can I find out in advance what the various licenses, permits, and stamps cost?

The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game website provides links to license and permit fee information. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife fishing, hunting and trapping license types and fee are found here , and the Division of Marine Fisheries permit fees are available here . Check these pages for additional information regarding costs and special requirements.

Q: Can I pay for my lobster permit and freshwater fishing license at the same time?

Yes. A major goal of the MassFishHunt initiative was to provide one-stop shopping for you the Customer. Through this system, you will be able to select from a variety of licenses, permits, and stamps offered by the Divisions of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) and Marine Fisheries and make a single payment using one of the accepted credit cards.

Q: Can I purchase licenses for others as gifts?

Yes. You may purchase licenses, permits, and stamps for others; however, please remember to use the gift recipient's personal information (not your own personal information) when completing the Customer Profile Summary.

Q: Which credit cards are accepted by MassFishHunt for Internet transactions?

Currently, we accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Please note that your credit card statement will reference all MassFishHunt transactions as "ACT*MADFG MassFishHunt 615-263-4257".

Q: Does MassFishHunt accept debit cards for Internet transactions?

Currently, MassFishHunt only accepts credit cards. However, if your debit card bears the logo of one of our accepted credit card companies, you can probably use this card. If your debit card has no credit card company logo (i.e. it can only be used as an ATM card with a PIN), you will not be able to use this card.

Q: How can I be sure my credit card information is secure?

Once you enter MassFishHunt, your transmissions with us are encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. We use standard security measures to ensure that your personally identifiable information is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed.

Q: How can I be sure the fees from my Internet license purchase are credited to the correct agency?

In designing and developing MassFishHunt, we preserved all organizational and revenue fund and source codes to ensure that each Division's revenue streams are maintained.

Q: How long must I have lived in Massachusetts to be considered a resident?

To purchase a Resident Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, or Sporting license, you must have legally resided in Massachusetts for a period of at least six (6) consecutive months immediately preceding the date of license purchase. Resident Saltwater Fishing and Recreational Lobster Permit purchases have no specific requirement for length of residency in Massachusetts.

Q: I lost my license or permit. How do I get a duplicate?

In the event of a lost or damaged license or permit, MassFishHunt allows you to reprint your items from your home computer free of charge. Please follow the 'License Inventory / Reprint' link on the Customer Menu.

Q: Can I purchase any licenses and/or permits over the phone?

Yes. You may purchase a Saltwater Fishing Permit or donate to the "Marine Fisheries Recreational Saltwater Fishing Fund" via the information below:

Telephone Sales: 1-866-703-1925
Hours of Operation: Seven Days a Week, 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET

(Note: Please DO NOT call the Help Desk number for telephone purchases.)

Q: What do I need to purchase a MassFishHunt license via the Internet?

To purchase a license online, you will need the following: 

  • A major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Amex)
  • Access to an online computer and printer
  • Plain, white, letter-sized printer paper

Note: Your MassFishHunt transactions will be identified on your credit card statement as ACT*MADFG MASSFISHHUNT 615-263-4257

Q: I don't have a computer or printer.  Where can I buy a license or stamps or apply for permits?

If you don't have a computer or printer at home, you can go to one of the following locations:

  • Authorized License Agents - participating Retail Stores and City/Town Clerk offices.
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) Offices - Districts, Westborough Field Headquarters, and Boston office.
  • Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Offices
  • Public Libraries or other venues with Internet access and printers

Q: How can I pay for my license, permits, and stamps at different locations?

  • Internet - credit cards and debit cards that also work as credit cards.
  • Retail Stores - most stores accept checks, cash, and credit cards.
  • City/Town Clerks - normally accept cash or checks and money orders, but no credit or debit cards.
  • DFW and DMF offices - accept cash, checks, and money orders only - no credit or debit cards .

Q: Are there any additional fees for purchasing MassFishHunt licenses?

That depends on how and where you purchase your MassFishHunt license. If you purchase a license via the Internet or at an authorized license agent location (Retail Store or City/Town Clerk office),  you will be charged a convenience fee by Active Outdoors, the provider of this electronic licensing system. This fee pays for the development, hosting, and maintenance of the MassFishHunt system and the new benefits it provides. The convenience fee consists of a $1.50 charge for each license purchased plus a 3% Handling Fee for Internet transactions.  Convenience fees are NOT charged at Division of Fisheries & Wildlife and Marine Fisheries Offices.  In all cases, convenience fees (if applicable) will be itemized and clearly identified in your Shopping Cart and on your receipt. 

Q: What if I lose or damage my license, tags, or permits?

You can protect licenses, tags, and permits by storing them in either a plastic license holder or zip-lock plastic bag, but accidents do happen. You can reprint your license, tags, and permits from your home computer or visit any license vendor to reprint your license. Keep in mind that your ability to reprint or produce copies of licenses, permits, and tags does NOT authorize you to use more than the legal number of tags issued to you. 

Q: Who do I contact if I have questions about using MassFishHunt?

The Department of Fish and Game has contracted with ActiveOutdoors, a division of Active Network, for system development, maintenance, and support. You may contact the ActiveOutdoors Help Desk via the information below:

Help Desk phone: 1-888-773-8450
Help Desk email: mahfwebmaster@als-xtn.com

 

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DFW Licensing FAQs

Q: Is it true that all Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Licenses are now sold by computer?
Q: Can I print out my own license, tags, and permits?
Q:
Are there any additional fees for purchasing Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Licenses via MassFishHunt?
Q: Can you provide examples of how the license fees, Agent commissions, and convenience fees are totaled?
Q: How do blind, paraplegic, or intellectually disabled people obtain a license?
Q: Can I buy a trapping license through my computer or at a License Agent location?
Q: Can a minor buy a hunting or sporting license on his or her own computer?
Q: Can a minor (15-17 years of age) get a freshwater fishing license at a home computer?
Q: What if I lose or damage my license, tags, or permits?
Q: I know that MassWildlife issues several different types of Hunting, Fishing, and Sporting licenses. How will I know what type of license I should buy?
Q: Where are the "authorized License Agent" locations?
Q: What is a Sporting License?
Q: I already purchased this year's Massachusetts hunting license at my Town Hall. Can I buy hunting permits and stamps for this license via MassFishHunt?
Q: Do I really have to enter my height and weight to purchase licenses, permits, and stamps?
Q: Once I purchase a license though MassFishHunt, can I immediately go hunting or fishing?
Q: If I purchase my Hunting, Sporting, or Freshwater Fishing license online, how do I obtain a copy of the "Massachusetts Guide to Hunting, Freshwater Fishing & Trapping"?
Q: Why do I have to complete an affidavit to purchase a Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License?
Q: I purchased my Sporting License via MassFishHunt back in December, and now I would like to buy an Archery Stamp. Do I need to Duplicate my Sporting License when I add the stamp?
Q: If I want to take my children freshwater fishing, do I need a Freshwater Fishing License?
Q: What licenses and stamps do I need to hunt waterfowl?
Q: I only hunt woodcock. Do I need to complete a Harvest Information Program survey?
Q: I collect Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamps. Will I still be able to obtain them?
Q: I've already purchased my Hunting/Sporting license through MassFishHunt, but I didn't apply for an Instant Award Antlerless Deer Permit. How do I apply for one now?
Q: Where are the Massachusetts Wildlife Management Zones?
Q: I didn't purchase my hunting or sporting license online. Can I still apply for an Antlerless Deer Permit online?
Q: When can I buy next year's hunting, fishing, and sporting licenses?
 

Q: Is it true that all Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Licenses are now sold by computer?

Yes. Starting in 2012, all Massachusetts freshwater fishing, trapping, hunting and sporting licenses, permits, and stamps are sold electronically through an online licensing system called MassFishHunt. MassFishHunt replaces traditional paper licenses, stamps, and hunting permits formerly issued from license and stamp books or via postal mail.

Q: Can I print out my own license, tags, and permits?

Yes. MassFishHunt allows you print your own license with tags and permits from your home computer.  Washed your license or lost it in the field? MassFishHunt also provides the ability to reprint  licenses and permits free of charge.

Q: Are there any additional fees for purchasing Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Licenses via MassFishHunt?

That depends on how and where you purchase your MassFishHunt license. If you purchase a license via the Internet or at an authorized License Agent location (i.e. Retail Store or City/Town Clerk office), you will be charged a convenience fee by Active Outdoors, the provider of this electronic licensing system. The convenience fee pays for the development, hosting, and maintenance of MassFishHunt and the new benefits it provides. The convenience fee consists of a $1.50 charge for each license purchased plus a 3% Handling Fee for Internet transactions.  In all cases, convenience fees (if applicable) will be itemized and clearly identified in your Shopping Cart and on your receipt.

Additional Notes:

  • License Agents (Retail Stores and City/Town Clerk Offices) are authorized to also charge an Agent commission (usually $1.00 - $1.50 per license).
  • Public Libraries generally charge for printouts from their computers
  • Convenience fees are NOT charged at Division of Fisheries & Wildlife and Marine Fisheries Offices.

Q: Can you provide examples of how the license fees, Agent commissions, and convenience fees are totaled?

Below are two examples depicting Internet and Agent-based purchases:

Example: Online Purchase for Resident Customer Age 18-64

ITEMS PURCHASEDCOST
Hunting License$22.50
Wildland Stamp (required with first license)$5.00
Waterfowl Stamp$5.00
Archery Stamp$5.10
Subtotal of license fees$37.60
Active Outdoors Convenience Fee ($1.50 + 3%)
$1.50 + .03 * ($37.60 + $1.50)
$2.67
Total Amount Due$40.27
 Retail Store Purchase for Resident Customer Over Age 60
ITEMS PURCHASEDCOST
Resident Saltwater Fishing Age 60 and Over$0.00
License Agent Commission$1.50
Active Outdoors Convenience Fee$1.50
Total Amount Due$3.00

 

Q: How do blind, paraplegic, or intellectually disabled people obtain a license?

If you are eligible for a special freshwater fishing or hunting license as a blind, paraplegic, or intellectually disabled person, you must submit an application AND certain other documentation indicating your eligibility for specific licenses to the DFW Boston office. This is a one-time application process for anyone eligible for those licenses. Once approved, you will be able to acquire your license online in future years without the need for an application. More details and the application are available on line or call the Boston office for a hardcopy at (617) 626-1590.

Q: Can I buy a trapping license through my computer or at a License Agent location?

Yes. Anyone who wants to trap on their own land may buy a trapping license online through a home computer or at an Authorized License Agent location. NOTE: If you plan to trap on someone else's land or on public lands open to trapping, you must also obtain a trap registration number. This number is issued through the Boston office (617) 626-1575 and is renewable every two years. In order to obtain a trap registration number, you must have a certificate of completion from the Massachusetts Trapper Education Course. Trapper education course certificates from other states are NOT accepted in Massachusetts.

Q: Can a minor buy a hunting or sporting license on his or her own computer?

No. Due to certain documentation requirements, a minor who wants a hunting or sporting license must go to an Authorized License Agent or DFW office and provide the following documentation:

  • Written consent to hunt from a parent or guardian and an additional statement that the minor will be accompanied at all times by a licensed person 18 years or older OR
  • Written consent to hunt from a parent or guardian and a certificate of competency from the Massachusetts Basic Hunter Education Program or approved certificate from another state, Canada, or Mexico Basic hunter education program.

Q: Can a minor (15-17 years of age) get a freshwater fishing license at a home computer?

Yes. A minor may obtain a fishing license online from home. As of 2012, this youth license is now free.

Q: What if I lose or damage my license, tags, or permits?

You can protect licenses, tags, and permits by storing them in either a plastic license holder or zip-lock plastic bag, but accidents do happen. You can reprint your license, tags, and permits from your home computer or visit any license vendor to reprint your license. Keep in mind that your ability to reprint or produce copies of licenses, permits, and tags does NOT authorize you to use more than the legal number of tags issued to you.

Q: I know that MassWildlife issues several different types of Hunting, Fishing, and Sporting licenses. How will I know what type of license I should buy?

Based upon the personal information you provide in the Customer Profile Summary (e.g. date of birth, Massachusetts residency, U.S. citizenship, etc.), MassFishHunt will automatically determine your correct license type and associated fee. Please note that some license types that require additional documentation will not be available via the Internet (e.g. Resident Alien Hunting Licenses require an Alien Gun Permit Number, Minor Hunting/Sporting Licenses require a Letter of Consent from a Parent or Guardian, etc.). You will need to visit an authorized license vendor location to purchase these licenses.

Q: Where are the "authorized License Agent" locations?

Authorized license vendor locations include various retail establishments, bait & tackle shops, City/Town Clerk offices, and MassWildlife offices.

Q: What is a Sporting License?

Available only to Massachusetts residents, a Sporting License is a combination Hunting and Freshwater Fishing License. With this type of license, you may both hunt and freshwater fish in Massachusetts for the entire calendar year. The fee for adult residents is $45 (including the $5 Wildlands Stamp); $25 for adult residents age 65-69; and Free for adult residents age 70 and over.

Q: I already purchased this year's Massachusetts hunting license at my Town Hall. Can I buy hunting permits and stamps for this license via MassFishHunt?

No. If you have already purchased a traditional "paper" Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, or Sporting License from a City/Town Clerk, Retail Store, or MassWildlife office, you must continue to purchase hunting permits and stamps at authorized license vendor locations. Only when you purchase a Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, or Sporting License via MassFishHunt will you be able to add permits and stamps electronically.

Q: Do I really have to enter my height and weight to purchase licenses, permits, and stamps?

Some, but not all, license purchases require additional personal information. For example, customers interested in purchasing Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, and Sporting licenses must provide their height, weight, eye color, and hair color. This information assists law enforcement personnel in identifying individuals in the field.

Q: Once I purchase a license though MassFishHunt, can I immediately go hunting or fishing?

Licenses, permits, and stamps purchased via the Internet will no longer be printed and mailed to you. MassFishHunt allows you print your own items from your home computer. Please note that you must print, sign, and carry licenses, permits, and associated carcass tags with you while you are hunting or fishing.

Q: If I purchase my Hunting, Sporting, or Freshwater Fishing license online, how do I obtain a copy of the "Massachusetts Guide to Hunting, Freshwater Fishing & Trapping"?

The Massachusetts Guide to Hunting, Freshwater Fishing & Trapping contains a summary of the license requirements and fees, fishing and hunting regulation, and other information, and is available online.

Q: Why do I have to complete an affidavit to purchase a Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License?

In 2007, legislation was enacted that requires first-time Hunting or Sporting license buyers to produce a certificate showing they have passed a state or provincial Basic Hunter Education course or show a hunting or sporting license issued prior to January 1, 2007 by any state or province. If your MassFishHunt customer record does not contain either of these items, the system will provide an affidavit upon which you can swear, under pains and penalties of perjury, that you are qualified to purchase a Massachusetts Hunting/Sporting license. Completion of the online affidavit is a one-time requirement, and you will not have to go through this process during future license purchases.

Q: I purchased my Sporting License via MassFishHunt back in December, and now I would like to buy an Archery Stamp. Do I need to Duplicate my Sporting License when I add the stamp?

No. MassFishHunt was designed with the flexibility to allow you to purchase hunting stamps (Archery, Primitive Firearms, and Waterfowl) at the time you purchase your Hunting/Sporting License or at a later date. If you are purchasing hunting stamps at a later date, you do not have to duplicate your license. Simply purchase the stamps and then reprint your license. Please remember to carry the reprinted license with stamps while hunting.

Q: If I want to take my children freshwater fishing, do I need a Freshwater Fishing License?

If you are going to be either baiting the hook, holding the pole, reeling in or taking the fish off the hook you should have a Freshwater Fishing License.

Q: What licenses and stamps do I need to hunt waterfowl?

In addition to a valid Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License, waterfowl hunters 16 years or older must carry a valid federal waterfowl stamp. Each hunter 15 years or older must also carry a valid Massachusetts waterfowl stamp. Stamps are required for hunting any ducks (including sea ducks), geese or brant but not required for hunting rails, snipe, woodcock, or American coot. (Please note: Hunters of all species listed above must complete a Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey.)

  • Federal waterfowl stamps are valid July 1 - June 30
  • Massachusetts waterfowl stamps are valid January 1 - December 31

Q: I only hunt woodcock. Do I need to complete a Harvest Information Program survey?

Yes. Woodcock hunters must complete a Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey; however, they need not purchase federal or state waterfowl stamps (unless they also decide to hunt ducks, geese, or brant).

Q: I collect Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamps. Will I still be able to obtain them?

2011 is the last year that the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife will issue physical Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamps suitable for collecting. You may only purchase these stamps at authorized license vendor locations. Waterfowl and other stamps purchased via MassFishHunt will only appear as line items on Hunting and Sporting licenses.

Q: I've already purchased my Hunting/Sporting license through MassFishHunt, but I didn't apply for an Instant Award Antlerless Deer Permit. How do I apply for one now?

To apply for an Instant Award Antlerless Deer Permit, please follow the steps below:

  1. Return to the MassFishHunt system and retrieve your Customer record via your last name and Customer ID.
  2. Click "Enter Sales" button and then select "Hunting Permits and Stamps" from the Main Menu.
  3. Click the [Add] button next to "Antlerless Deer Permit Application."
  4. Select a Wildlife Management Zone (WMZ) via the drop-down box and click [Accept] button.
  5. You may now purchase other items or proceed to Check Out. The Antlerless Deer Permit Drawing application is free of charge.

Q: Where are the Massachusetts Wildlife Management Zones?

Wildlife Management Zone maps are available online from our Wildlife Land Maps website.
 

Q: I didn't purchase my hunting or sporting license online. Can I still apply for an Antlerless Deer Permit online?

No. Online Antlerless Deer Permit Drawing applications can only be made by online license buyers. Holders of traditional "paper" licenses must use the permit application that is attached to their Hunting or Sporting licenses.

Q: When can I buy next year's hunting, fishing, and sporting licenses?

Typically, we begin selling next calendar year's licenses, permits, and stamps during the month of December. However, because it is still possible to purchase the current year's items in December (almost all licenses expire on December 31), customers must use care in making their licensing year selections.

 

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DMF Licensing FAQs

Q: Who needs the Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit?
Q: What is the cost of the Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit?
Q: Who does not need a permit?
Q: What about people 60 and older?
Q: Do all recreational fishermen on a private vessel need to purchase a recreational fishing permit or is there a boat permit available?
Q: Does my for-hire permit allow me to fish recreationally in saltwater when not involved in for-hire activity?
Q: If I have a Highly Migratory Species permit am I exempt from the Massachusetts permit?
Q: Do I need to sign up for the National Saltwater Angler Registry as I did in 2010?
Q: When does the permit expire?
Q: Is a saltwater/freshwater fishing combination permit available?
Q: How will the permit fee revenues be used?
Q: Do I still need to follow all applicable rules and regulations governing marine recreational fishing?
Q: Where can I get a copy of the Massachusetts Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide?
Q: Do I need the Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit to go recreational shellfishing or recreational lobstering?
Q: Where can I find the recreational lobster and crabbing rules?
Q: What is the fee for the non-commercial lobster permit?
Q: Can I obtain a permit for both diving and pots, is there a difference in cost?
Q: How many lobster may I take?
Q: What are the legal requirements?
Q: Can I take lobster at night?
Q: I am not a resident of Massachusetts, can I still get a non-commercial lobster permit?
Q: If I can't pull my pots, can someone else check them for me?
Q: My brother and I dive together and we each have a non-commercial lobster permit endorsed for diving. We would like to try setting pots this year, and were wondering if we can we both get our permits endorsed for the use of 10-pots.
Q: Can I sell any of the lobster I harvest?

Q: Who needs the Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit?

In order to fish recreationally for finfish in Massachusetts marine waters, including up to the first dam in rivers and streams that flow to the ocean ( click here for exceptions to the rule pdf format of bounds_exceptions.pdf ), saltwater fishermen must have:

  • A Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing permit, or
  • A recreational saltwater fishing permit from a state that has a reciprocity agreement with Massachusetts.
  • As of February 17, 2011, Massachusetts has reciprocity agreements with:
    • New Hampshire: MA to NH, NH to MA
    • Rhode Island: MA to RI, RI to MA
    • Connecticut: MA to CT, CT to MA.

Q: What is the cost of the Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit?

The annual cost for both residents and non-residents is $10.

Q: Who does not need a permit?

No permit is required for:

  • Fishermen who are under 16 years of age
  • Fishermen fishing on permitted for-hire vessels
  • Fishermen who regardless of their age, otherwise meet the definition of a disabled person in M.G.L. c. 19C

Q: What about people 60 and older?

People 60 and older must obtain a permit but the permit is free for these individuals (although a small fee will be charged by the vendor to process the permit through the Internet or by Phone).

Q: Do all recreational fishermen on a private vessel need to purchase a recreational fishing permit or is there a boat permit available?

All recreational fishermen ages 16 to 59 must purchase an individual permit and those fishermen age 60 or over must obtain a free permit if not fishing aboard a permitted for-hire vessel on a charter or headboat trip. There is no permit available for a private fishing vessel or any type of family permit that covers multiple family members.

Q: Does my for-hire permit allow me to fish recreationally in saltwater when not involved in for-hire activity?

Yes, it does cover you as an individual angler provided that the for-hire permit is issued in your name. You must have the for-hire permit in your possession.

Q: If I have a Highly Migratory Species permit am I exempt from the Massachusetts permit?

If you are finfishing exclusively in federal waters and possess an HMS permit, you do not need a Massachusetts permit as long as you do not land any fish in Massachusetts. If you retain fish and bring them back into Massachusetts state waters, or you fish in state waters, then you will need the Massachusetts permit.

Q: Do I need to sign up for the National Saltwater Angler Registry as I did in 2010?

No. The Federal permit no longer covers you to fish in Massachusetts waters. Your Massachusetts permit allows you to fish in Massachusetts and Federal waters as well as land your fish in Massachusetts. However, if you fish for tuna, billfish, swordfish, and/or sharks you will need a Highly Migratory Species permit from the Federal government.

Q: When does the permit expire?

Massachusetts permits expire each year on December 31. All permits must be renewed annually.

Q: Is a saltwater/freshwater fishing combination permit available?

No, not at this time, but you can get all of your permits at MassFishHunt.

Q: How will the permit fee revenues be used?

All permit fees will be deposited in a dedicated account, managed by DMF. An advisory panel will assist DMF in developing programs for the expenditure of all collected funds. In accordance with the state law governing the permit program, the permit fee revenues can only be used to administer the permit program, improve the management of MA's marine recreational fisheries, particularly with regard to developing more accurate assessments of recreational catch and effort, and enhance recreational fishing access opportunities in the state. The permit fee revenues cannot be used for any purpose that is unrelated to marine recreational fishing in MA.

Q: Do I still need to follow all applicable rules and regulations governing marine recreational fishing?

Yes. The permit simply enables you to fish legally, in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations. Recreational regulations can be found here.

Q: Where can I get a copy of the Massachusetts Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide?

The guide is available on our website. If you would like a hard copy of the guide, please contact or stop by one of our offices.

Q: Do I need the Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit to go recreational shellfishing or recreational lobstering?

No. Recreational shellfishing is allowed in designated clean areas and regulated by the individual cities and towns. Contact your town Department of Natural Resources for local regulations and permit acquisition. Recreational lobstering requires a separate permit that can be obtained through MassFishHunt.

Q: Where can I find the recreational lobster and crabbing rules?

The Massachusetts Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide contains recreational lobster and crabbing rules as well as other useful information.

Q: What is the fee for the non-commercial lobster permit?

$40 for Massachusetts residents, $60 for non-residents. (Note: non-residents may not purchase or renew online. Please contact DMF at 617.626.1520 or at marine.fish@state.ma.us for more information.)

Q: Can I obtain a permit for both diving and pots, is there a difference in cost?

Your permit can be endorsed for both diving and 10 pots with no increase in cost.

Q: How many lobster may I take?

There is a limit of 15 lobster per day per permit, and all lobster must meet the legal requirements.

Q: What are the legal requirements?

Lobster must be of legal size, v-notch lobster may not be taken, egg-bearing lobster may not be taken.

Q: Can I take lobster at night?

No. Lobster may only be harvested from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

Q: I am not a resident of Massachusetts, can I still get a non-commercial lobster permit?

Maybe. Non-residents must own at least $5,000 worth of real-estate in MA, and temporarily reside in a Massachusetts coastal city or town to obtain this permit, and a notarized affidavit must be submitted each year attesting to this. (Please note that only Massachusetts residents may purchase or renew non-commercial lobster permits online.)

Q: If I can't pull my pots, can someone else check them for me?

Any immediate family member that resides in your household may pull your pots for you.

Q: My brother and I dive together and we each have a non-commercial lobster permit endorsed for diving. We would like to try setting pots this year, and were wondering if we can we both get our permits endorsed for the use of 10-pots.

No. Each diver is required to have a permit issued in their name, but the pot endorsement is a little different; only one 10-pot permit may be issued per household. However, since you live in the same household, it is okay for either one of you to use the endorsed permit to check the pots.

Q: Can I sell any of the lobster I harvest?

No. The Recreational Lobster Permit is strictly for non-commercial harvesting of lobster.

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