Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishing Year 2019 Recreational Rules

July 03, 2019

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

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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.

Haddock

Cod

Possession Limit

Minimum Fish Size

Open Season

Possession Limit

Minimum Fish Size

Open Season

15 fish per angler

17 inches

May 1-Feb 28/29

Apr 15-30

1 fish per angler

21 inches

Sept 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 Limit

Minimum Fish Size

Open Season

10

21 inches

All Year

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

Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Areas

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Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area

Point

N. Latitude

W. Longitude

CSPA1

42° 50.95’

70° 32.22’

CSPA2

42° 47.65’

70° 35.64’

CSPA3

42° 54.91’

70° 41.88’

CSPA4

42° 58.27’

70° 38.64’

 

Winter Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area

Point

N. Latitude

W. Longitude

WSPA1

42° 23.61’

70° 39.21’

WSPA2

42° 07.68’

70° 26.79’

 

Spring Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area

Point

N. latitude

W. longitude

Note

SSPA1

42°30'N

The intersection of 42°30’ N. lat. and the coastline at Marblehead, Mass.

 

SSPA2

42°30'N

70°30’W

 

SSPA3

42°00'N

70°30’W

 

SSPA4

42°00'N

The intersection of 42°00’ N. lat. and the coastline at Kingston, Mass.

From Point SSPA4 to Point SSPA5 following the coastline of Massachusetts

SSPA5

The intersection of 71°00’ W. long and the coastline at Quincy, Mass.

71°00'W

From Point SSPA4 to Point SSPA5 following the coastline of Massachusetts

SSPA6

The intersection of 71°00’ W. long and the northernmost coastline at East Boston, Mass.

71°00'W

From Point SSPA6 back to Point SSPA 1 following the coastline of Massachusetts

SSPA1

42°30'N

The 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 15-30Charter 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.

 

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on July 05, 2019