How 2024 fishing regulations are shaping up

Posted 2/28/24

At press time the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were all still seeking public comment and input on 2024 fishing regulations for saltwater fishing. So, the regulations list for …

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How 2024 fishing regulations are shaping up


At press time the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were all still seeking public comment and input on 2024 fishing regulations for saltwater fishing. So, the regulations list for the tri-state area will likely be completed by May 1. But, here is some news on how regulations are shaping up.

The RI Marine Fisheries Council will meet April 1 to vote on their recommendations to the Director. The Director will take the Council’s recommendations plus all public comment received at the February 28 public hearing, and the recommendations of Division scientists and make final rule decisions that will be in effect May 1. Connecticut and Massachusetts are on similar tracks.

Striped bass. For 2024 the striped bass regulations will be the same as last year, one fish/person/day at 28 to less than 31 inches. However, there are a number of at sea and shore side filleting requirements  i.e. keeping the racks of filleted fish with only two fillets per fish until all anglers are off the vessel or if on shore no filleting permitted while still actively fish with fishing lines in the water. The fillet requirement is part of a coastwide regulation for striped bass issued by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Striped bass are still overfished according to the 2022 stock assessment. An updated 2024 stock assessment is being done. 

Tautog regulations will likely be the same as they were last year. Tautog are not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring. Tautog have a 16-inch minimum size. The Spring season opens April 1 to May 31 with a three fish/person/day limit; a closed season June 1 to July 31 during the spawning season; a late summer/early fall season from August 1 to October 14 with a three fish/person/day limit; and then from October 15 to December 31 the limit jumps to five fish/person/day. In all periods only one fish may be greater than 21 inches and there is a ten fish/vessel maximum.

Bluefish. The Division of Marine Fisheries is not proposing to change the recreational bluefish regulation for 2024. So, the regulations are likely to be the same as last year. For private vessels and shore anglers the limit is three fish/person/day year round with no minimum size. For-hire vessels have a five fish/person/day limit.

Scup are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. However, recruitment has been below average from 2017 to 2022. So, 2024 regulations must be changed to achieve a 10 percent reduction in recreational harvest. Several proposals have been shared including increasing the minimum size from 10.5 to 11 inches, reducing the possession limit (in some cases from 30 fish last year to 20 fish, even one proposal reduces possession to 9 fish) as well as reducing the season lengths. There are adjustment suggestions for the minimum shore size too from 9.5” to 10” or keeping it the same. A lot of options still at play here.

Summer flounder is not overfished but overfishing is occurring, so fish managers have been asked to achieve a 28 percent reduction in recreational harvest. There are a few options on the table to reach this reduction including increasing the minimum size from 18 to 18.5 inches or increasing the minimum size to 19 inches. If the minimum size increases to 19 inches the season could be expanded (starting April 1 rather than May 3) with an enhanced bag limit.

Black sea bass are not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring. The Division has not proposed changes to black sea bass regulation at this time. The minimum size will likely be the same as last year 16.5 inches for private anglers with a season starting May 22 to August 26 with a two fish/person/day limit with an increase to three fish/person/day from August 27 to December 31. The party and charter boat sector has a 16-inch minimum size, however the season does not start until June 18 with a two fish limit that then increases to six fish/person/day on Sept. 1

For regulation updates in Connecticut visit; in Massachusetts; and in Rhode Island

Notice of Scoping Meetings on Atlantic Herring

River herring serves as forage for fish and birds of all types including striped bass, bluefish, and osprey. Anglers coastwide have expressed concern about river herring and shad being caught as bycatch by commercial fishers targeting Atlantic Herring. 

To help address this challenge and others concerning the Atlantic Herring fishery, the New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is conducting six scoping meetings to solicit comments regarding the range of alternatives to consider in Amendment 10 (A10) to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The Council is proposing to take action through A10 to address spatial and temporal allocation and management of Atlantic herring at the management unit level to minimize user conflicts, contribute to optimum yield and support rebuilding of the resource.

The Council is also proposing to take action to enhance river herring (alewife and blueback herring) and shad (American shad and hickory shad) avoidance and other catch reduction measures to better support ongoing coastwide restoration efforts for those species.

Rhode Island Scoping Meeting:  Tuesday, March 19, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Hampton Inn, 20 Hotel Drive, South Kingstown, RI. Phone: 401.788.3500.

Massachusetts Scoping Meeting:  Wednesday, March 27 - 6 – 8 p.m.; Hampton Inn, 12 Kendall Rae Place. Buzzards Bay, MA 02532; Phone: (508)444-4508.

Written comments must be received on or before 8 a.m. EST, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Comments should be addressed to Cate O’Keefe, PhD, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill #2, Newburyport, MA 01950; and sent by mail or email: Please note on your correspondence; “Atlantic Herring Amendment 10 Scoping Comments.”

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater fishing in stocked ponds for trout and salmon continues to be good for anglers, however, the trout fishing season ends this week February 29 and reopens again on Saturday, April 13 . 

“Fishing for trout has been very good because the season closure. With good sized brown trout being caught at Beach Pond, (RI and CT). And, 8-10 pound salmon are being caught at Naugatuck River, CT,” said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, RI.

For freshwater fishing information in Connecticut visit; in Massachusetts visit Freshwater Fishing |; and in Rhode Island

Saltwater. “Fishing for hold over striped bass improved this week with school sized striped bass to 37-inch fish being caught in MA, RI and CT estuaries. My favorite lure this time of year is a white shad anywhere from four inches to nine inches,” said Sullivan. 

Dave Monti holds a captain’s license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

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