Saltwater Fishing Regulations - Recreational
These regulations are also available as a printable PDF (88 KB).
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).
Most anglers must enroll in the recreational marine fishing registry when angling for the fish species listed below.
(Note: the registry is not required for harvesting crabs or lobsters. A separate permit is required for lobsters).
See Tidal Hudson River Regulations for additional information on fishing in the Hudson River and its tributaries.
Items in italics have changes pending.
Effective Date: June 23, 2016
|Species||Size Limits (1)
(Total Length in Inches)
(Number of Fish)
|Summer flounder (fluke)(2)||
|5||May 17 - Sept 21|
|Winter flounder||12||2||April 1 - May 30|
|Tautog (blackfish)||16||4||Oct 5 - Dec 14|
|Bluefish (including "snappers")||No minimum size for first 10 fish
12 TL for the next 5
No more than 10 of which shall be less than 12" TL
10 fileted (3)
12 dressed (4)
|Atlantic cod (5)||22||10**||All year|
|Pollock||19||No limit||All year|
|Haddock||18||No limit||All year|
|Striped bass: marine waters (south of George Washington Bridge)
||April 15 - Dec 15|
|Striped bass: Hudson River north of George Washington Bridge||18 - 28 or >40||1||April 1 - Nov 30|
|Red drum||No minimum size||No limit for fish less than 27" TL.
Fish greater than 27" shall not be possessed.
|Spanish mackerel||14||15||All year|
|King mackerel||23||3||All year|
|Black Sea Bass||15||
June 27 - Aug 31
|Scup (Porgy)||10||30||May 1 - Dec 31|
|Scup (Porgy) (6)
Anglers aboard licensed party/charter boats
|May 1 - Dec 31
Sept 1 - Oct 31
|American eel||9||25 for individuals
50 for party/charter boat captain and crew
|American eel (New York City: Harlem and East Rivers, Hudson River and tributaries north to Troy Dam)||9 - 14 inches for use as bait only, otherwise possession prohibited||25 for use as bait only, otherwise possession prohibited||All year for use as bait only, otherwise possession prohibited|
|Monkfish (goose fish)||17
11 tail length
|Any number||All year|
|Anadromous river herring (alewife and blueback herring) (7)
See Tidal Hudson River Regulations
|Possession Prohibited||Possession Prohibited||Possession Prohibited|
|American Shad||Possession Prohibited||Possession Prohibited||Possession Prohibited|
|Hickory Shad||No size limit||5||All year|
|Yellowtail flounder||13||No limit||All year|
|Oyster toadfish||10||3||July 16 - May 14|
|Atlantic menhaden||No size limit||100||All year|
|Horseshoe crabs||No size limit||5||All year|
|Blue Crab (8)
|All Other Crabs (8)||No size limit||50||All year|
|American lobster (8) (Recreational permit required)||3 3/8" minimum carapace length 51/4" maximum carapace length||6||LMA 4: closed April 30 through May 31
LMA 6: closed Sept 8 through 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)
(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) 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.
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
(5) Anglers aboard federally permitted party or charter vessels may possess any number of Atlantic cod, consistent with federal rules.
(6) 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.
(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).
(8) Lobsters and crabs with eggs may not be taken or possessed.
(9) 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.
|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 (1)||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 (1)|
|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 (2), Silky and Sandbar, Sharpnose sevengill, Bluntnose sixgill.||No possession allowed||No possession allowed|
(1) 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.
(2) 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.