While there was still plenty of time before the fishing actually begins, Massachusetts was the final state in Southern New England to announce its 2018 marine fishing regulations for recreational anglers. Connecticut set its regulations in late March, and Rhode Island announced its changes in early April.

Remember that if you take issue with any of the changes this year keep in mind that public comment is always taken into consideration when changes are considered each year and every state in New England (and beyond) have public hearings and written comment periods for you to voice your concerns and provide input. Further, if you’d like to assist in contributing to more accurate catch data, you can help by completing trip reports in your state.

Please note that the black sea bass regulations may very well change due to the filing of an appeal by the northern region states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York over the disparity in coastwide black sea bass regulations with New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. The following regulations remain in effect for now, but changes are expected/anticipated to be announced in early May.

The 2018 regulations governing recreational fishing within state waters of Massachusetts are as follows, with regulations noted in BLACK remaining consistent with 2017 regulations, while those noted in RED indicate changes for 2018.

BLACK SEA BASS May 19 – September 1, 5-fish bag limit, 15-inch minimum.

BLACKFISH/TAUTOG April 1 – May 31, 3-fish bag limit; June 1 – July 31, 1-fish bag limit; August 1 – October 14, 3-fish bag limit; October 15 – December 31, 5-fish bag limit; 16-inch minimum length. Maximum per vessel possession limit is 10 fish regardless of number of anglers onboard.

BLUEFISH No closed season or size limit, 10 fish.

COD: NORTH OF CAPE COD – Private Angler: no retention allowed.
SOUTH OF CAPE COD – Private Angler: no closed season, 10 fish, 22-inch minimum. (Increase to 24-inch minimum is expected)

FLUKE May 23 – October 9, 5-fish bag limit, 17-inch minimum.

HADDOCK: NORTH OF CAPE COD – no closed season, 12 fish, 17-inch minimum.
SOUTH OF CAPE COD – no closed season, no bag limit, 18-inch minimum.

POLLOCK No closed season, bag limit or minimum size.

PORGY/SCUP May 1 – December 31, 30-fish bag limit, 9-inch minimum.
For-Hire Bonus: May 1 – June 30, 45-fish bag limit, 9-inch minimum.

STRIPED BASS No closed season, 1 fish, 28-inch minimum.

WEAKFISH No closed season, 1 fish, 16-inch minimum.

WHITE PERCH no closed season, 25 fish, 8-inch minimum.

WINTER FLOUNDER: NORTH OF CAPE COD – no closed season, 8 fish, 12-inch minimum.
SOUTH & EAST OF CAPE COD – no closed season, 2 fish, 12-inch minimum.

Please consult the MA DMF website for the most current, up-to-date regulations.