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Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

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).

Enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry

All anglers (16 years and older) fishing in the New York's Marine & Coastal District must enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry when angling for the fish species listed below. Anglers fishing for shark and tuna must also apply for NOAA Fisheries Highly Migratory Species (leaves DEC website) permit. Visit Recreational Shark Fishing for more information about shark fishing in New York.

The registry is not required for harvesting crabs or lobsters. A Lobster Recreational Permit is required for New York State residents to harvest lobsters.

Effective April 21, 2021, DEC requires that anglers use circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with bait. Visit Best Practices for Saltwater Fishing for more information on circle hooks and fish handling tips that help improve survivability.

Saltwater Fishing Limits

Species Minimum Size Limits
(Total Length in Inches) (1)
Possession Limits
(Number of Fish)
Open Seasons
Winter Flounder 12 2 April 1 - May 30
Striped Bass: Hudson River (2)
(north of George Washington Bridge)
Slot size: 18 - 28
1 April 1 - Nov 30
Striped Bass: marine waters (2)
(south of George Washington Bridge)
Slot size: 28 - 35
1 April 15 - Dec 15
Scup (Porgy) 9 30 All year
Scup (Porgy) (3)
Anglers aboard licensed party/charter boats
9 50 Sept 1 - Oct 31
Summer flounder (fluke) (4) 19 4 May 4 - Sept 30
Black Sea Bass (5) 15 3
June 23 - Aug 31
Sept 1 - Dec 31
Oyster Toadfish 10 3 July 16 - May 14
Tautog (blackfish): Long Island Sound Region
Marine and coastal district waters lying east of the Throgs Neck Bridge and west of a line that runs from Orient Point, NY to Watch Hill, RI
16 2
April 1 - April 30
Oct 11 - Dec 9
Tautog (blackfish): NY Bight Region
Marine and coastal district waters lying outside of the Long Island Sound Region
16 2
April 1 - April 30
Oct 15 - Dec 22
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
All year
Atlantic cod 21 10 All year
Atlantic menhaden No size limit 100 All year
Bluefish (including "snappers") No size limit 3 All year
Bluefish (including "snappers")
Anglers aboard licensed party/charter boats
No size limit 5 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 (6)
12" dressed (7)
1 All year
Yellowtail flounder 13 No limit All year
Anadromous river herring
(alewife and blueback herring)

(north of George Washington Bridge)(8)
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

*Regulations were last changed on April 21, 2021, and are subject to change at any time.*

(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.
(2) Non-offset (inline) circle hooks must be used when recreationally fishing for striped bass using bait defined as any live or dead, whole or part of a marine or aquatic organism or terrestrial invertebrate. Exemption: Circle hooks are not required when fishing with an artificial lure, whether or not they are tipped with bait as previously defined.
(3) A party/charter boat customer who lands and possesses more than 50 scup during September 1 - October 31 must obtain a dated original fare receipt from the licensed vessel.
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
(7) 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.
(8) 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).

For more information on common saltwater fish species in New York, visit Marine Life.

Recreational Fishing Regulations for Sharks in State Waters

Category Species Minimum Size Limit Daily Possession Limit
Allowed Sharks tiger, blacktip, bull, lemon, nurse, spinner, blue, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, common thresher 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.
shortfin mako Male: 71 inches
Female: 83 inches
fork length(1)
great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead 78 inches fork length (1)
Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, finetooth No size limit
smooth dogfish, spiny dogfish No size limit Any number
Prohibited Sharks Atlantic angel, basking, bigeye sand tiger, bigeye thresher, bignose, blacknose, Caribbean sharpnose, dusky, Galapagos, longfin mako, narrowtooth, night, reef, sand tiger, sandbar, sharpnose sevengill, silky, bigeye sixgill, bluntnose sixgill, smalltail, whale, and white. Take or Possession Prohibited (2) Take or
Possession Prohibited (2)

*Regulations were last changed on March 3, 2020, and are subject to change at any time.*

(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) "Take" is defined in Environmental Conservation Law 11-0103 (13) to include "pursuing, shooting, hunting, killing, capturing, trapping, snaring and netting fish, wildlife, game, shellfish, crustacea and protected insects, and all lesser acts such as disturbing, harrying or worrying, or placing, setting, drawing or using any net or other device commonly used to take any such animal." Pursuing or "targeting" a prohibited shark species refers to an angler making an effort to catch that species in violation of 6 NYCRR 40.7(c)(1).
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.

For additional information on sharks in New York, visit Coastal Sharks.

Recreational Crab, Lobster, and Whelk Limits

State law limits recreational harvest to no more than 50 crabs (of any single species or combination of species) may be possessed per person per day. At no time may a person be in possession of more than the daily recreational limit of five horseshoe crabs.
Species Minimum Size
Daily Possession Limit Open Season
American lobster (1)
Recreational permit required
3 3/8" minimum carapace length
5 1/4" maximum carapace length

LMA 4: closed April 30 - May 31
LMA 6: closed Sept 8 - Nov 28
All other LMAs: open all year
Click here to view a large map of LMAs.

Descriptions & locations of lobster
management areas (LMAs) are available in
Part 44: Lobster and Crab Regulations
(leaves DEC website)

Blue crab (1)
Hard shell
Soft shell
Peeler/Shedder (2)
4 1/2"
3 1/2"
50 All year
Jonah Crab (1) 4 3/4" All year
All Other Crabs (1)
(except blue and jonah crabs)
No size limit All year
Horseshoe crabs No size limit 5 All year
Whelk No size limit 24 All year

*Regulations were last changed on June 5, 2019, and are subject to change at any time.*

(1) Lobsters and crabs with eggs may not be taken or possessed.
(2) 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.
Other provisions: Terrapin Excluder Devices (TEDs) must be used on all non-collapsible crab pots or traps that are fished in creeks, coves, rivers, tributaries, and near-shore harbors of the Marine and Coastal District. TEDs shall be securely fastened inside each funnel entrance of the crab pot to effectively reduce the size of the funnel opening to no larger than 4-3/4 inch by 1-3/4 inch. An interactive map (leaves DEC's website) is available for reference.

For additional information on crab regulations, visit Crabbing in NY.

Download and Print Recreation Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Translations for Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Below are copies of New York Saltwater Fishing Regulations in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Korean. For additional language access services, contact DEC Division of Marine Resources at or call 631-444-0430.