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Exploring the waters of New England, fishing for Bluefin Tuna, Striped Bass, Cod, Haddock, Fluke, Flounder and other North Atlantic species. Recreational Lobstering & general boating and recreation in Massachusetts Bay and Beyond.

Massachusetts Recreational Lobstering

Massachusetts Recrational Lobster Areas

Massachusetts Permit and Lobster Gear Regulations

Non-Commercial Lobster permits are available to any U.S. Citizens and or resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  If you are under the age of 17 you need parental consent.  Residents of the Commonwealth who are Non-U.S. citizens must provide a copy of applicant’s alien registration receipt card issued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service. The 2010 non-commercial lobster pot permit cost residents $40 (all non-residents are $60).  Lobster permits are available online at

The non-commercial lobster permit authorizes the permit holder and any immediate family members living in the same residence the authorization to fish up to 10 lobster pots taking up to 15 lobsters per day.  Only one Non-Commercial Lobster permit endorsed for 10 pots is allowed per family/household.
Non-Comercial Lobster Trap

Recreational Lobster Regulations vary by location.  In Marshfield MA (Area A - Gulf of Maine) you can keep lobsters with a minimum size of 3¼” and a maximum size of 5” measured from the rear of the eye socket to the rear of the body shell (or carapace) on a line parallel to the center line of the body shell.  It is Illegal to harvest female with V-shaped notch of any size with or without setal hairs. It is also Illegal to harvest lobsters before sunrise or after sunset. The practice of v-notching originated in Maine, and dates back to the early 1900’s. Today it is intended as a means of protecting local “broodstock”. V-notching is done on the tail flipper immediately to the right of the middle flipper is, when the lobster is examined with the underside of the lobster down and its tail is toward the person making the determination.  Non-Commercial Lobster Permit holders are not required to v-notch egg-bearing female lobsters, but I do it anyway.  I believe all lobstermen have a responsibility to protect the egg bearing females ensuring the lobster stock for future generations. 

Lobster V-notchLobster Setal HairsCorrect Lobster Measurement

Choose your buoy colors wisely.  Each applicant for a Non-Commercial Lobster Permit can choose up to three colors for the desired color scheme of their buoys. All buoys used by the permit holder must be marked with that specific color scheme. My first year I choose the color combination Blue/Black/Blue, you can image how fun it was to spot those buoys by sight (thank God for GPS).

All traps must include an Escape Vent and a Ghost Panel.  The escape vent may serve as a ghost panel if incorporated into a panel constructed of, or attached to the trap with: wood lath, cotton, hemp, sisal or jute twine not greater than 3/16 inch in diameter; or nonstainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 3/32 inch in diameter, and upon breakdown of the degradable materials, will create an opening for egress of lobsters at least 3 3/4 by 3 ¾ inches. Most traps for sale in this area are configured this way.

Whale-Related Gear Rules (new for the 2010 Season)

MarineFisheries requires the use of modified fishing gear in order to reduce the risk of whale entanglement and identify entangling gear. The following restrictions apply to all recreational pot gear on a year-round basis.

1. All buoys must be outfitted with a 600-pound weak link.

2. If fishing pot trawls, sinking groundline must be used between all traps.

3. Vertical buoy lines must be made of sinking line, except the bottom 1/3 portion, which may be floating.

4. All gear must have a 4 inch red marker midway on the buoy line.

See photos:

For more details please see: