Some fishing regulations to tighten

Posted 1/17/23

Recreational fishing regulations for summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup will likely become more conservative for 2023.  Harvest limits could be reduced by as much as 10 percent …

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Some fishing regulations to tighten


Recreational fishing regulations for summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup will likely become more conservative for 2023.  Harvest limits could be reduced by as much as 10 percent coastwide.

NOAA Fisheries announced their approval of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s recommended 2023 summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass specifications. In Dec. 2021, the Council and Board adopted revised quota allocations for the commercial and recreational sectors of these three fisheries as part of the Commercial-Recreational Allocation Amendment (Amendment 22).

What these coastwide reductions mean for regulations in each state remains to be seen.  Reductions will be worked through this winter via individual state fishing governing bodies. For example, in Rhode Island the RI Marine Fisheries Council process is expected to finalize regulations late March or the first week of April.

Last week the RI Department of Environmental Management announced two workshops to discuss fishing regulations. A workshop on many recreational (and commercial) regulations has been set for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 5 p.m. at the URI Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium. You can join in person or online at .

The purpose of this workshop is to provide the public with regulatory proposals currently under consideration by the Division and to afford opportunity for feedback and/or additional proposals.

No striped bass or bluefish changes are expected, and more than likely it will be status quo for tautog in Rhode Island based on Massachusetts adopting the trophy fish regulations already in place in Rhode Island.

Jan. 31 agenda items include 2023 commercial menhaden management, recreational and commercial tautog management, recreational and commercial bluefish management, recreational and commercial striped bass management, recreational black sea bass management, recreational scup management, recreational summer flounder management as well as “Definitions and General Provisions”.

A second meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 6, agenda items include the Research Pilot Aggregate Program, Summer Flounder Exemption Certificate Program possession limit and Information pertaining to Federal Lobster Electronic Tracking.

For meeting details and Marine Fisheries information visit .

Seasonal commercial trap closure to protect right whales

Massachusetts’ seasonal commercial trap gear closure goes into effect on Feb. 1, 2023 (see map). The closure includes all waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth north and east of Cape Cod.

The state closure does not extend into those southern state waters in Lobster Conservation Management Area 2. This state closure was extended in 2021 to include state waters north from Scituate to the New Hampshire maritime border. The closure remains in effect until May 15 but may be rescinded before or extend past that date based on the observed presence or absence of right whales in state waters.

The purpose of this closure is to protect seasonal aggregations of right whales from potential entanglements in buoy lines. Compliance with this closure is critically important to the Commonwealth’s right whale conservation strategy.

DMF will be partnering with the Massachusetts Environmental Police and a small group of commercial trap fishers to remove any lost or abandoned gear remaining in the closure area after this date. To assist us in this, DMF is requesting fishers contact DMF if they observe any lost or abandoned gear and provide us with information regarding the location, i.e., latitudinal/longitudinal coordinates or the TD’s (LORAN coordinates) of this gear. Please e-mail any such information to

RI commercial license renewal period extended

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing today that it will extend the renewal period of commercial fishing licenses previously set to expire Jan. 13, until Jan. 31, 2023. DEM is experiencing a license renewal backlog as it continues to transition from combining several outdated licensing systems into one modern computing platform called Rhode Island Outdoors (RIO). The platform is designed to handle nearly all the agency’s outdoors licensing and permitting services.

While DEM continues to integrate data from the old IT systems to the new, it is asking users to renew by mail or in person at the DEM Office of Boat Registration and Licensing located at 235 Promenade Street, Room 360, Providence, RI, 02908 or call 401-222-6647. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

Where’s the bite

Saltwater and freshwater licenses. Anglers are reminded to renew their licenses for salt and fresh water for 2023. Saltwater licenses renew annually on Jan. 1 in coastal states, most coastal states have license reciprocity. For example, if you have a RI license you can fish in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. For fresh water licensing information and a list of trout stocked ponds in Rhode Island visit; and in Massachusetts visit .

Cod, tautog and black sea bass. Tautog and black sea bass seasons have ended. However, cod fishing south of Cape Cod is still open. Party boats fishing for cod this winter include the Frances Fleet at  and the Island Current at . Rates vary but are about $135 per adult for a full day of fishing, call to check schedules and make a reservation.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master 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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