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Saltwater Fishing Regulations - Recreational

Anglers must enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry when angling for the fish species listed below.
Anglers fishing for tuna and shark must also apply for a Highly Migratory Species (Link leaves DEC website) permit.
(Note: the registry is not required for harvesting crabs or lobsters. A separate permit is required for lobsters).

This summary is provided for your convenience, the official written regulations published by the Department of State are the official source for NYSDEC regulations. To read the actual regulations, please follow the links to the right: marine fish (6 NYCRR Part 40) or lobster and crabs (6 NYCRR Part 44).

For printable versions of these regulations please select from the options below:

See Tidal Hudson River Regulations for additional information on fishing in the Hudson River and its tributaries.
See Shellfish Harvest Limits for additional information on recreational shellfishing.

Effective Date: June 23, 2016

Marine Recreational Fishing Limits
Species Size Limits (1)
(Total Length in Inches)
Possession Limits
(Number of Fish)
Open Seasons
Winter Flounder 12 2 April 1 - May 30
Striped Bass: Hudson River
(north of George Washington Bridge)
18 - 28 or >40 1 April 1 - Nov 30
Striped Bass: marine waters
(south of George Washington Bridge)
28 1 April 15 - Dec 15
Scup (Porgy) 10 30 May 1 - Dec 31
Scup (Porgy) (2)
Anglers aboard licensed party/charter boats
10 45 Sept 1 - Oct 31
Summer flounder (fluke) (3) 18 5 May 17 - Sept 21
Black Sea Bass 15 3
8
10
June 27 - Aug 31
Sept 1 - Oct 31
Nov 1 - Dec 31
Oyster Toadfish 10 3 July 16 - May 14
Tautog (blackfish) 16 4 Oct 5 - Dec 14
American Eel 9 25 for individuals
50 for anglers aboard
licensed party/charter boats
All year
American Eel
(New York City: Harlem and East Rivers,
Hudson River north to Troy Dam)
9 - 14 for use as bait
only, otherwise
possession prohibited
25 for use as bait only,
otherwise possession
prohibited
All year
Atlantic cod (4) 22 10 All year
Atlantic menhaden No size limit 100 All year
Bluefish (including "snappers") No size limit for first 10 fish,
12" TL for the next 5
15
No more than 10 of which
shall be less than 12" TL
All year
Cobia 37 2 All year
Haddock 18 No limit All year
Hickory Shad No size limit 5 All year
King mackerel 23 3 All year
Monkfish (goosefish)

17
or 11" tail length

No limit All year
Pollock 19 No limit All year
Red drum No size limit No limit for fish less than 27" TL
Fish greater than 27" TL
shall not be possessed

All year
Spanish mackerel 14 15 All year
Weakfish 16
10" filleted (5)
12" dressed (6)
1 All year
Yellowtail flounder 13 No limit All year
Anadromous river herring
(alewife and blueback herring)

(north of George Washington Bridge)(7)
See Tidal Hudson River Regulations
No size limit 10 per angler or
50 per boat
March 15 - June 15
Anadromous river herring
(alewife and blueback herring)
(south of George Washington Bridge)
No possession No possession allowed No possession allowed
American shad No possession No possession allowed No possession allowed
Atlantic sturgeon Moratorium No possession allowed No possession allowed

(1) Total length is the longest straight line measurement from the tip of the snout, with the mouth closed, to the longest lobe of the tail, with the lobes squeezed together, and the fish laid flat on the measuring device. Exception: Black sea bass are measured from the tip of the snout (or jaw), with the mouth closed, to the farthest extremity of the tail, not including the tail filament.
(2) A party/charter boat customer who lands and possesses more than 30 scup during September 1 - October 31 must obtain a dated original fare receipt from the licensed vessel.
(3) Summer flounder may not have heads or tails removed or be otherwise cleaned, cut, filleted, or skinned until brought to shore, with the following exception: the white side fillet or white skin only of a legal size fluke may be removed to use as bait. The carcass of the fluke with dark side completely intact must be retained for inspection of size limit and counts against the possession limit.
(4) Anglers aboard federally permitted party or charter vessels may possess any number of Atlantic cod, consistent with federal rules.
(5) The fillet length is the longest straight line measurement from end to end of any fleshy side portion of the fish cut lengthwise away from the backbone, which must have the skin intact, laid flat on the measuring device.
(6) Dressed length is the longest straight line measurement from the most anterior portion of the fish, with the head removed, to the longest lobe of the caudal fin(tail), with the caudal fin intact and with the lobes squeezed together, laid flat on the measuring device.
(7) Anadromous river herring is defined in 6 NYCRR Part 10 (except the Hudson River and its tributaries and embayments north of the George Washington Bridge at river mile 11).

Recreational Fishing Regulations for Sharks
Category Species Minimum Size Limit Daily Possession Limit
Allowed Sharks Tiger, Blacktip, Bull, Lemon, Nurse, Spinner, Blue, Shortfin mako,
Oceanic whitetip, Porbeagle, Common Thresher, Blacknose
54 inches fork length (8) One shark per vessel per trip, except that
one additional Atlantic Sharpnose and one
additional Bonnethead may be taken and
possessed per angler per trip.
Great hammerhead, Scalloped hammerhead, Smooth hammerhead 78 inches fork length (8)
Atlantic Sharpnose, Bonnethead, Finetooth, Blacknose No size limit
Smooth Dogfish, Spiny Dogfish No size limit Any number
Prohibited Sharks Atlantic angel, Galapagos, Basking, Longfin mako, Bigeye sand tiger, Narrowtooth, Bigeye Sixgill, Night, Bigeye thresher, Sand tiger, Bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, Smalltail, Dusky, Whale, White (9), Silky and Sandbar, Sharpnose sevengill, Bluntnose sixgill. No possession allowed No possession allowed

(8) Fork length means the straight-line measurement of a fish from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail. The measurement is not made along the curve of the body.
(9) A person may fish for white sharks with rod and reel, provided the person releases such fish immediately with a minimum of injury and that such fish may not be removed from the water.
Other provisions: All landed sharks must have head, tails and fins attached. No sale allowed. No finning. Sharks, excluding spiny dogfish, shall not be taken for commercial or recreational purposes by baited hooking except with the use of non-stainless steel non-offset circle hooks. No person shall conduct, sponsor or participate in any shark tournament unless said tournament's rules and regulations require the exclusive use of non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks.

Recreational Crab, Lobster, and Whelk Limits
Species Minimum Size
(Inches)
Daily Possession Limit Open Season
American lobster (10)
Recreational permit required
3 3/8" minimum carapace length
5 1/4" maximum carapace length
6 LMA 4: closed April 30 - May 31
LMA 6: closed Sept 8 - Nov 28
All other LMAs: open all year

Descriptions & locations of lobster
management areas (LMAs) are available in
Part 44: Lobster and Crab Regulations
(link leaves DEC website)
Blue crab (10)
Hard shell
Soft shell
Peeler/Shedder (11)
4 1/2"
3 1/2"
3"
50 All year
Crabs
(except blue or blue-claw crabs)
No size limit 50 All year
Horseshoe crabs No size limit 5 All year
Whelk No size limit 24 All year

(10) Lobsters and crabs with eggs may not be taken or possessed.
(11) Peeler/shredder is when the crab is about to molt or shed its hard outer shell. At this stage, the crab has a fully formed soft shell beneath the hard outer shell. The impending shedding process is evident by the white coloration along the outer rim of the paddle-like appendages on the crab's fifth pair of legs.