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Proposed amendments to Division of Marine Fisheries regulations

The following is a list of notices, by date of publication, for proposed Division of Marine Fisheries regulations. Click on the links below to view the hearing notices and proposed regulations.

All persons interested in submitting comments on the proposed regulations may do so in writing by the date indicated in the notice. Refer to the full notice for the mailing address for submitting comments. All comments received by the date indicated in the notice will be reviewed and considered.

Recent Public Hearings and Comment Periods

Public Comment on New Protected Species Regulations Affecting Trap and Gillnet Fishing
published: 3:00 PM on November 13, 2020

Under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 30A, and pursuant to the authorities found at M.G.L. c. 130 §§ 2, 17(10), 17A, 80 and 104, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is taking public comment and holding public hearings on proposed amendments to regulations at 322 CMR 6.00 and 12.00. These draft regulations are designed to reduce the risk of endangered right whales becoming entangled in fixed fishing gear and reduce the harm done to a whale if it interacts with fixed fishing gear.

In April 2020, DMF the Commonwealth was ordered by the US District Court to apply to NOAA Fisheries for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act, as DMF's licensing and regulation of vertical buoy lines may cause entanglements of endangered whales and sea turtles. DMF is currently in the process of applying to NOAA Fisheries for an ITP. To submit a viable ITP application, the applicant must develop a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that details the steps being taken to minimize and mitigate impacts the activity is having on endangered species. These draft regulations will constitute the foundation of the state's HCP regarding North Atlantic right whales and thereby support DMF's ITP application.

Public Hearings

DMF hosted two virtual public hearings on December 8 and 9, 2020 via Zoom. The recordings of these hearings are available on DMF's YouTube Channel

Written Public Comment Period 

The public comment period is ongoing and written public comment will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Friday, December 18, 2020. Please address written comments to Director Daniel McKiernan and submit it by e-mail to or by post to the attention of Director McKiernan at 251 Causeway Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114. DMF has also scheduled two virtual public hearings for 6PM Tuesday, December 8, 2020 and Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

Documents for Public Hearing

Please contact Jared Silva ( for more information.