Mass. to Hold Hearings on Saltwater License Rules

As most anglers are aware, in 2009 Massachusetts passed a bill requiring the institution of a state saltwater fishing license (permit) beginning in 2011. It is now up to the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to establish a state recreational fishing permit program in compliance with federal law. With the new year fast approaching, DMF is holding 2 public hearings where the public can review and make comments on adjustments to the rules.

As it stands now, the license bill….

  • Requires all individuals recreationally fishing in the coastal waters (within 3 miles of shore) of the Commonwealth, or landing marine species for recreational purposes in the Commonwealth, to obtain a recreational fishing permit
  • Requires all for-hire vessel operators to inform passengers of current fishing regulations; visibly post pertinent bag and size limitations, and provide measuring devices for use by patrons
  • Establishes a penalty schedule for non-compliance
  • Allows for 3rd party agents to sell permits on behalf of the Commonwealth

Establishes permitting exemptions for:

  • disabled persons
  • persons under 16 years of age
  • those fishing aboard lawfully permitted for-hire vessels
  • those retaining fish caught under the authority of a commercial permit
  • those holding a valid recreational fishing license from a coastal state, that the Director has determined allows, through reciprocity agreement, similar exemption for persons from Massachusetts

Annual permit fees and other service charges:

  • $10 resident and non-resident permit fee
  • $125 resident charter vessel permit fee and $625 non-resident charter permit fee
  • $175 resident headboat permit fee and $855 non-resident headboat permit fee

Public Hearing Schedule:

  • December 8, 2010 at Gloucester Public High School Auditorium, from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (32 Leslie O Johnson Road, Gloucester, MA01930)
  • December 15, 2010 at PlymouthSouthHigh School Auditorium, from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (490 Long Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360)

How do you feel about the new saltwater fishing permit?

Let us know in the comment box below.