Regulations & Guidelines
Be aware that fishing for striped bass and several species of
sharks is illegal in federal waters. Click
here for federal regulations.
here to access a short summary of the federal recreational
fishing regulations for highly migratory species, which includes
bluefin tuna and sharks. Sanctuary shark species that cannot be
possessed or retained include basking shark, longfin mako, and
24 hours of landing (killing and bringing to shore) any bluefin
tuna caught in federal waters, recreational vessel owners must
report the landing to NOAA Fisheries at 1-888-872-8862. Bag limits
for bluefin tuna are variable throughout the season and depend
on the size category. Refer to www.nmfspermits.com
or call the previously referenced number for updated information.
The minimum size is 27 inches (69 cm) curved fork length.
regulations allow one shark per recreational vessel per trip,
except for prohibited species (there is no retention permitted
for these species). Minimum size is 54 inches (137 cm) fork length.
NOAA's Fisheries Service (NMFS) has adopted a "Code of Angling
Ethics" to implement the public education strategy required
under the NMFS-specific Recreational Fishery Resources Conservation
Plan. The code, developed in cooperation with a wide range of
constituent groups was approved on February 11, 1999, and published
in the Federal Register on February 18, 1999. .
of Angling Ethics
through education and practice, ethical behavior in the use
of aquatic resources.
Values and respects the aquatic environment and all living things
spilling, and never dumps, any pollutants, such as gasoline
and oil, into the aquatic environment.
Disposes of all trash, including worn-out lines, leaders, and
hooks, in appropriate containers, and helps to keep fishing
all precautionary measures necessary to prevent the spread of
exotic plants and animals, including live baitfish, into non-native
and obeys angling and boating regulations, and treats other
anglers, boaters, and property owners with courtesy and respect.
property rights, and never trespasses on private lands or waters.
no more fish than needed for consumption, and neverwastefully
discards fish that are retained.
conservation by carefully handling and releasing alive all fish
that are unwanted or prohibited by regulation, as well as other
animals that may become hooked or entangled accidentally.
tackle and techniques which minimize harm to fish when engaging
in "catch and release" angling.
Hooks Save Fish
part of our role in the active management of marine fisheries
resources, and the desire to reduce unnecessary waste of those
resources, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is actively
encouraging the use of circle hooks. We promote their use in fisheries
that use baited hooks for the capture of striped bass, tunas,
and other species where they can effectively reduce the mortality
of released fish. This advice is based upon findings of research
done by our own biologists and other researchers.
example of a fishery where circle hooks can have a big impact
is our local striped bass fishery. Massachusetts anglers
annually catch and release millions of striped bass. An estimated
8% of those fish are lost to the population by mortality associated
with that practice.
recent DMF research projects focused on the use of circle hooks
when using bait for striped bass and tunas. In those experiments
circle hooks showed a reduction in the rate of potential lethal
wounding, and subsequent mortality. Estimates of lethal wounding
were approximately 1.6 % for circle hooks and 27.5 % for j-hooks.
Obviously, a considerable difference with circle hooks. Other
researchers have had similar results.
have also estimated the effectiveness of circle hooks to hook
fish that took natural baits. Results indicate that circle hooks
catch slightly more fish than j- hooks. Even untended rods caught
Because of the clear advantages of the use of circle hooks we
strongly enourage their use by anglers. We also recommend that
anglers learn more about how these hooks can benefit all fisheries