Recreational fisheries project

The Recreational Fisheries Project works to preserve and promote the marine recreational fisheries of Massachusetts. Review our many projects below.

Artificial reefs

Five artificial reefs have been created in Massachusetts waters. There are two in Boston Harbor and one each outside Yarmouth, Dartmouth, and Harwich. Our most recent reef set in Harwich in spring 2016, was built out of materials that came from the demolished Harwich High School. For many of these reefs, we monitor species diversity and abundance, reef productivity, and habitat value for resident species. 

Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Derby

The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has run the Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Derby since 1983. The Derby provides an opportunity for Massachusetts anglers to be recognized for catching or releasing significant fish.

Winners of the Derby are recognized at the annual New England Boat Show each year.

Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP)

The federal MRIP program collects recreational fisheries catch and harvest data along the Atlantic Coast. Since 2013, DMF has managed the shore-side sampling of charter vessels, shore anglers, and private/rental vessel anglers as well as the at-sea head boat survey for Massachusetts waters. The goal of the survey is to generate valid estimates of recreational fisheries catch for important species in Massachusetts waters. These estimates are critically important for estimating, managing, and conserving fish stocks.


Our recreational fisheries biologists routinely engage with the public at fishing clubs, local schools, and local events to share information on fisheries, management, and fish biology. We host fishing clinics throughout the state coastline and publish educational materials available for download as well.

Public Access

DMF is involved with the creation and maintenance of public access opportunities for recreational saltwater fishermen throughout the state. Working with the Office of Fishing and Boating Access, towns, non-governmental organizations, and other state/federal agencies, we identify, create, and improve recreational fishing access through new fishing piers and other fishing structures. Much of this work is done with funding from the sale of recreational saltwater fishing permits. DMF's Public Access Coordinator acts as the liaison to the Commonwealth's recreational anglers for all matters of saltwater fishing access. This includes advocating for beach and shore access.