The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) works hard to keep these regulations tables accurate and up to date. This is an unofficial copy. The Secretary of State maintains the official copy of the 322 CMR. You can buy an official copy from the state bookstore. For more information on ordering a copy of 322 CMR, visit the Secretary of State website.
Commercial finfish regulations
|Species||Fishery||Season||Size limit||Possession Limit|
|American eel (1)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||9 in.||no limit|
|Black sea bass (2)||Weirs||Jan 01 - Dec 31||12 in.||no daily limit|
|All gears except weirs||Jan 01 - Mar 31||12 in.||100 lb.|
|Spring Trawl Fishery||Apr 23 - Jun 9||12 in||50 lb.|
Jul 10 - quota dep.
|12 in.||300 lb.|
|Hook & line||Jul 10 - quota dep.||12 in.||150 lb.|
|Mobile gear||Jul 10 - quota dep.||12 in.||150 lb.|
|Bluefish||All||Jan 01 - quota dep.||no limit||5,000 lb.|
|Cod (3) (4)||North of Cape Cod||Jan 01 - Dec 31||19 in.||200 lb.|
|East & South of Cape Cod||Jan 01 - Dec 31||19 in.||1,000 lb.|
|Dab (plaice) (3)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||12 in.||no limit|
|Fluke (5)||P1: Nets||Jan 01 - Jan 31||14 in.||prohibited|
|P1: Nets||Feb 01 - quota dep.||14 in.||500 lb.|
|P2: Nets||Apr 23 - Jun 09||14 in.||100 lb.|
|P2: Longlines||Apr 23 - Jun 09||14 in.||100 lb.|
|P2: Handlines or rod & reel||Apr 23 - Jun 09||14 in.||prohibited|
|P2: Nets||Jun 10 - quota dep.||14 in.||300 lb.|
|P2: Longlines||Jun 10 - quota dep.||14 in.||200 lb.|
|P2: Handlines or rod & reel||Jun 10 - quota dep.||14 in.||200 lb.|
|Haddock (3)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||16 in.||no limit|
|Horseshoe crab (6)||Biomedical||Jan 01 - Dec 31||7 in.||1,000 crabs|
|Mobile gear||Jan 01 - quota dep.||7 in.||300 crabs|
|Other gears||Jan 01 - quota dep.||7 in.||400 crabs|
|Illex squid (7)||All||Jan 01 - quota dep.||no limit||no limit|
|Longfin squid (loligo) (7)||All||Jan 01 - Apr 30||no limit||no limit|
|All||May 01 - Jul 09||no limit||no limit|
|All||Jul 10 - Aug 31||no limit||no limit|
|All||Sept 01 - quota dep.||no limit||no limit|
|Menhaden (8)||Open access||Jan 01 - quota dep.||no limit||6,000 lb.|
|Limited access||Jan 01 - quota dep.||no limit||125,000 lb. until 85% of quota harvested
25,000 lb. until 95% of quota harvested
6,000 lb. until 100% of quota harvested
|Monkfish (3) (9)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||17 in.||536 lb. tails, 1,560 lb. whole|
|Ocean pout (3)||N/A||N/A||N/A||prohibited|
|Pollock (3)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||19 in.||no limit|
|Redfish (3)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||7 in.||no limit|
|Scup (10)||Winter I||Jan 01 - Apr 30||9 in.||50,000 lbs;|
|Fish weir||May 01 - quota dep.||9 in.||no daily limit|
|Trawlers||May 01 - quota dep.||9 in.||
10,000 lb. weekly limit.
2,000 lb possession limit when using small mesh.
|Non-trawl||May 01 - May 31||9 in.||800 lb.|
|Non-trawl||Jun 01 - Jun 30||9 in.||400 lb.|
|Non-trawl||Jul 01 - quota dep.||9 in.||1,500 lb.|
|Winter II||Oct 01 - quota dep.||9 in.||28,500 lb.|
|Smelt||Hook & line only||Jun 16 - Mar 14||no limit||50 fish|
|Smooth dogfish||All gears but longline||Jan 01 - Dec 31||no limit||100 lb.|
|Spiny dogfish||All||May 01 - quota dep.||no limit||6,000 lb.|
|Striped bass (11)||Boat & lobster permits fishing from vessel named on the permit||Jun 24 - quota dep.||34 in.||15 fish|
|All other fishing activity||Jun 24 - quota dep.||34 in.||2 fish|
|Tautog||All||Sep 01 - quota dep.||16 in.||40 fish|
|Weakfish||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||16 in.||100 lb.|
|Winter flounder (3)||Gulf of Maine||Jan 01 - Dec 31||12 in.||500 lb.|
|Southern New England||Jan 01 - Dec 31||12 in.||50 lb.|
|Witch flounder (3)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||13 in.||750 lb.|
|Yellowtail flounder (3)||All||Jan 01 - Dec 31||12 in.||250 lb.|
Unless weekly aggregate limits apply, all trip limits apply per calendar day or per trip, whichever is longer. For quota-managed species, the trip limit additionally applies to the person, the permit holder, or the vessel regardless of how many permits may be held.
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 15,000-pound annual sub-quota allocation. The landings of black sea bass during the spring trawl fishery will be capped at 50,000 pounds; once the season ends on June 9th or the 50,000 lb cap is reached, the retention and landing of black sea bass by trawlers will be prohibited until the directed summertime fishery opens. The directed summertime fishery opens on July 9th of the first open commercial fishing day thereafter and remains open until the annual quota has been landed. Open fishing days during the directed fishery are Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. 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. Additionally, these limits apply to federally-permitted vessels while fishing in state waters unless the federal limit is more restrictive. 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 or with gears capable of catching groundfish in state waters is subject to various spatial/temporal closures, gear closures, and spawning closures. Please review 322 CMR 4.04, 4.06, 6.03 8.00 and 12.00 for more details.
4) It is illegal to harvest cod from portions of Massachusetts Bay during the period of Nov. 15 to Jan. 31 (Winter Cod Conservation Zone) and April 16 to July 21 (Spring Cod Conservation Zone). See 322 CMR 8.07 for more details.
5) The P1 trip limit for nets is 500 lbs, this applies per calendar day or per trip, whichever period is longer. The P1 trip limit is reduced to 100 lbs for all participants once 25% of the quota is landed. The P1 weekly aggregate limit pilot program has been discontinued. The P2 daily trip limit for nets during the squid fishery (April 23-June 9) is 100 lbs. P2 open fishing days after the squid fishery (June 10-Quota dep.) 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 8 p.m.-6 a.m.
6) A special permit for biomedical harvest is required to participate in the biomedical fishery. A bait fishery permit endorsement holder may not also hold a biomedical harvest special permit. All crabs harvested for biomedical purposes may only be sold to dealers authorized to purchase crabs harvested for biomedical purposes. After crabs are bled by the biomedical firm, harvesters must return the crabs to the area of harvest. All horseshoe crab harvest is subject to 5-day closures around new and full moons from late April through June. Mobile gear participants are subject to closed days on Fridays and Saturdays beginning on June 10. Mobile gear fishing regulations are subject to change in 2017.
7) 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 www.nmfs.noaa.gov for more details.
8) 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. Vessels taking this bycatch limit may not use or be rigged to use purse seines that measure greater than 150 fathom length or 8 fathom depth. 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 and 6.43 for more details.
9) 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 the whole monkfish being landed.
10) Fish weirs are not subject to daily trip limits or closed fishing days. However, the combined landings of all fish weirs are subject to a 300,000-pound annual quota allocation. Trawlers may land scup 7 days per week. Trawlers fishing with mesh less than 5" are subject to a 1,000 lb possession limit from October 1 - April 14, a 2,000 lb possession limit from April 15 - June 15 and a 200 pound possession limit from June 16 - September 30. Hook and line and trap fishermen may land scup Sunday-Thursday during May; Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in June; and then 7 days per week beginning July 1. The Winter I and Winter II periods are managed by the federal government, and seasons and limits are set by NMFS and complemented by DMF.
11) Striped bass may be taken by hook and line gear only. Netting, spearing, and snagging striped bass is prohibited (G.L. c. 130 §100B). High-grading and fillet striped bass is prohibited. Fishermen fishing under the authority of a commercial boat permit or lobster permit when fishing aboard the vessel named on the permit are subject to the 15-fish limit. However, fishermen fishing under the authority of a commercial boat permit or lobster permit when fishing from another location (e.g., shore or another vessel) are subject to the 2-fish limit. All Individual and Rod and Reel permit holders are subject to the 2-fish limit as well. The commercial striped bass open fishing days during the season are Monday and Thursday for all gear types. If an open fishing day falls on the 3rd or 4th of July or the quota remains open on Labor Day, the commercial striped bass fishery will be closed. Possession limits apply to both permit holders, regardless of the number of permits held, and vessels, regardless of the number of permits on board.