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Recreational Management Measures Toolbox

Existing and potential management measures for recreational fisheries.

Below is a list of existing and potential management measures, some that were recently discussed by the New England Fishery Management Council's Recreational Advisory Panel, as well as new measures used in other fisheries or the commercial fleet.

Existing Measures

Bag Limits

  • Single species
  • Combination of species
  • Separate measures by mode

Season Limits

  • Temporal closures
  • Shoulder seasons

Size Limits

  • Minimum fish size

Closed Areas

  • Gulf of Maine (Whaleback)
  • Cod Spawning Protection Area
  • Winter Massachusetts Bay Spawning Protection Area

Potential Measures

Separate Measures

By mode: private angler, charter, and party (this is allowed under Amendment 16 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan)


  • Tags per angler
  • Tags per boat
  • Tags per trip

Zero Retention/No Possession

No possession of certain species. Can be seasonal, by trip, or by area.

Full Retention

Retain all catch

Gear Modifications

  • In-line circle hooks
  • Number of hooks per line
  • Special Access Program

Effort Controls

  • Limited entry
  • Number of days
  • Number of trips
  • Balance input and output controls--e.g., increase bag limits and decrease number of trips.

Experimental Fishery

Temporary exempted fishing permit to test certain measures, areas, or gear.

Closed Areas

Spatial closures -- permanent or temporary, with potential for near real-time, pending data availability

Boat Limits

Specific number of fish for the boat overall, or per person. Could be single or mixed species.

Size Limits

Slot limits, minimum size, maximum size

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on May 10, 2019