Northeast Groundfish Recreational Rules for 2019 Fishing Year

New rules open Gulf of Maine cod season, increase Gulf of Maine haddock possession limits, and reduce Georges Bank cod minimum size.

We are implementing new management measures for Gulf of Maine cod, Gulf of Maine haddock, and Georges Bank cod recreational fisheries. These changes take effect on July 5, 2019.

Gulf of Maine Cod and Haddock

We are opening a 2-week season (September 15-30) for Gulf of Maine cod, the possession limit will be 1 fish per person, and the minimum size will be 21 inches. We are also increasing the possession limit for Gulf of Maine haddock from 12 to 15 fish and have removed the fall closure to increase access to this healthy stock.

HaddockCod
Possession LimitMinimum Fish SizeOpen SeasonPossession LimitMinimum Fish SizeOpen Season
15 fish per angler17 inchesMay 1-Feb 28/29

Apr 15-30

1 fish per angler21 inchesSept 15-30

Georges Bank Cod

We are decreasing the minimum size of Georges Bank cod from 23 to 21 inches. The 10-fish per person per day possession limit will remain in place.

Possession LimitMinimum Fish SizeOpen Season
1021 inchesAll Year

Find out more about recreational measures in the Greater Atlantic Region.

Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Areas

SpawningClosures.png

 

Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area
PointN. LatitudeW. Longitude
CSPA142° 50.95’70° 32.22’
CSPA242° 47.65’70° 35.64’
CSPA342° 54.91’70° 41.88’
CSPA442° 58.27’70° 38.64’

 

Winter Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area
PointN. LatitudeW. Longitude
WSPA142° 23.61’70° 39.21’
WSPA242° 07.68’70° 26.79’

 

Spring Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area
PointN. latitudeW. longitudeNote
SSPA142°30’NThe intersection of 42°30’ N. lat. and the coastline at Marblehead, Mass. 
SSPA242°30’N70°30’W 
SSPA342°00’N70°30’W 
SSPA442°00’NThe intersection of 42°00’ N. lat. and the coastline at Kingston, Mass.From Point SSPA4 to Point SSPA5 following the coastline of Massachusetts
SSPA5The intersection of 71°00’ W. long and the coastline at Quincy, Mass.71°00’WFrom Point SSPA4 to Point SSPA5 following the coastline of Massachusetts
SSPA6The intersection of 71°00’ W. long and the northernmost coastline at East Boston, Mass.71°00’WFrom Point SSPA6 back to Point SSPA 1 following the coastline of Massachusetts
SSPA142°30’NThe intersection of 42°30’ N. lat. and the coastline at Marblehead, Mass.From Point SSPA6 back to Point SSPA 1 following the coastline of Massachusetts

More Information

Pelagic Hook-and-Line Gear

Pelagic hook-and-line gear is defined as handline or rod and reel gear that is designed to fish for, or that is being used to fish for, pelagic species. No portion of this gear may be operated in contact with the bottom at any time.

Gulf of Maine (Whaleback) Cod Spawning Protection Area

April 1 through June 30 of each year, all recreational vessels, including private recreational and charter/party vessels, may only use pelagic hook-and-line gear when fishing in the Whaleback Cod Spawning Protection Area.

Winter Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area

November 1 through January 31 of each year, all recreational vessels, including private recreational and charter/party vessels, may only use pelagic hook-and-line gear when fishing in the Winter Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area.

Possession Restrictions

Any vessel fishing in the Gulf of Maine Whaleback Cod or Winter Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Areas, including pelagic hook-and-line gear by recreational vessels, is prohibited from possessing or retaining regulated species or ocean pout from April 1 through June 30 of each year.

Transiting

Recreational vessels are allowed to transit the Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area and Winter Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area provided all gear is stowed in accordance with the regulations.

Spring Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area

April 15-30: Charter and party vessels may fish in this area provided they have a Letter of Authorization from the Regional Administrator (additional requirements also apply). Call the Permit Office if you need a Letter of Authorization at 978-281-9370. Private recreational vessels are allowed to fish in this area.

READ MORE at fisheries.noaa.gov