Black Sea Bass, photo/New England Boating

Black Sea Bass, photo/New England Boating

The 2014 Massachusetts recreational fishing regulations for fluke, scup, and black sea bass have been approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).

Capt. Dave Monti and Parker Kelley with a big fluke.

Capt. Dave Monti and Parker Kelley with a big fluke. Photo/New England Boating, Tom Rchardson.

Fluke: For fluke (summer flounder), the recreational season for private anglers and for-hire vessels will run May 22 to September 30 with a daily bag limit of 5 fish and a minimum size of 16”.

Scup: The recreational season for scup will run May 1 to December 31 for private anglers with a daily bag limit of 30 fish with a maximum of 150 fish per vessel and a 10” minimum length. The for-hire bonus season is May 1 to June 30 with a daily limit of 45 fish and a minimum length of 10”. The regular for-hire season will run July 1 to December 31, but the limit drops to 30 fish per day while the minimum size remains at 10”.

Black Sea Bass: The recreational black sea bass season for private anglers and for-hire vessels will run from May 17 to September 15 with an 8-fish bag limit and minimum size of 14”.

Scup, photo/New England Boating

Scup, photo/New England Boating

Similar to last year, Massachusetts will have one set of black sea bass regulations for private anglers and for-hire clients, while also providing an opportunity for interested for-hire vessel operators to opt into a special access program under which their clients can harvest more fish in the fall at the expense of a reduced open season for their vessel. For-hire vessel operators must decide before the start of the season whether they want to fish under the standard regulations or the special access program regulations.

The first half of the season for the for-hire special access program will run May 17 to May 31 with an 8-fish limit and 14” minimum size. The second half of that season will run September 1 to September 30 with a 20-fish daily limit and 14” minimum. To participate in the For-Hire Special Access Black Sea Bass Fishery, permit holders must apply for a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from MarineFisheries by May 1. Visit Mass.GovApplication (pdf file)  to see the conditions that will apply and to request an LOA.

A subsequent public hearing and comment period on these emergency regulations will be announced at a later date.

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