Massachusetts Closes Cape Cod Canal to Commercial Striper Fishing

Emergency closure enacted to relieve enforcement issues

The Division of Marine Fisheries today announced the closure of the Cape Cod Canal to commercial striped bass fishing. Effective immediately, all striped bass retained from the Cape Cod Canal or possessed within 1,000 feet of the Canal’s shoreline must adhere to the recreational fishing limits of one fish of at least 28” total length but less than 35” total length.

An exception is made for the possession of striped bass 35” or greater legally caught elsewhere for commercial purposes and being actively transported through the 1,000-foot buffer area to a primary dealer.

This action is taken to address numerous and worsening public nuisance and safety problems arising from increased fishing activity along the Canal. These problems, including anglers conducting themselves in threatening and unruly manners, parking illegally on adjacent roads, trespassing over private property, and interfering with other recreational activities, have been especially acute on open commercial striped bass fishing days. Although the primary mission of the Canal is navigation, a secondary objective of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ management of the surrounding area is to provide recreational opportunities for the public. Accordingly, it is appropriate for the Division of Marine Fisheries to prohibit commercial striped bass fishing along the Canal in order to return the area to its recreational purposes.

This regulation is also expected to greatly enhance compliance and enforcement with this year’s recreational striped bass conservation rules (i.e., the 28” to less than 35” slot limit, circle hook requirement when fishing with natural bait, and prohibition on gaffs and other injurious removal devices) at one of the most productive fishing locations for large bass. Given the Canal’s great popularity as a shore fishing location for striped bass, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and local police departments rely heavily on public tips of illegal fishing activity; however, these tips have previously been hindered by the virtual indistinguishability of recreational and commercial striped bass fishermen. The closure of the Canal to commercial striped bass fishing (in combination with the new 35” commercial minimum size) will enhance the ability of anglers to see and accurately report illegal striped bass fishing activity. Please report tips to the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 800-632-8075.

For the purpose of this closure, the Cape Cod Canal is defined as all waters and shoreline bounded by the most seaward extent of the state pier at Taylor’s Point (“A”) to the most seaward extent of the northern breakwater jetty at the east end (“B”) to the most seaward extent of the southern breakwater jetty at the east end (“C”) to the northernmost tip of the peninsula at the end of President’s Road in Bourne (“D”). Please see the map below.

This closure of the Cape Cod Canal to commercial striped bass fishing has been adopted as an emergency regulation, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §2, for the preservation of public safety and the general welfare of the community. As such, it shall remain in effect for 90 days, unless adopted as a final regulation. It is anticipated that a public hearing will be scheduled for this summer and a final regulation could be voted on by the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission at its business meeting on August 20, 2020.

84 on “Massachusetts Closes Cape Cod Canal to Commercial Striper Fishing

  1. J Levine

    Finally!
    Hopefully they put these environmental traitors out of business for good!
    Fish forever!

  2. John

    Now I’m pushing for full closure.
    That’s next on my list being a adjacent landowner

    1. Tom

      John,
      To address your comment above…
      I am a land owner near another popular striper spot. There is public access to the shoreline and some of the fisherman are awful, but that is the minority. Even though I don’t like it (late night noise, littering, ect.), I go down and clean up their mess and on occasion, call the MEP if shorts are being taken.
      That being said, I would never be such a jerk to try to shut down fishing to the 90+% that are there legally to fish. You can be a landowner near hot spots and still not be a douchebag.
      Good luck with your power trip, Jim.

      1. Tom

        In my above comment, I said Jim and the conclusion… my apologies. It was meant for John.

    2. Dave

      So where you gonna fish when the canal is closed to fishing I’m not a commercial fisherman I fish for recreation I travel I traveled 2 and a 1/2 hours to get there then I also travel for half hours to get upstate New York So I hope when they close fishing on the canal you have to drive 9 hours go fishing for real fish because you can’t fish from your property because the army corps of engineers owns all that water front so I hope you got a long ride that you can cast from the roof of your house

      1. John

        I can fish just fine from beaches.
        And just fine up in Pulaski and Watertown NY too…

    3. Paul Eilenberg

      Full closure means what? Are you seeking to prohibit all recreational fishing there as well?

  3. Jim

    This is bullshit we payed for our license now there going to close it down this state sucks punish the ones who do it right and taking money from my family that needs it in this times not going to stop the problems that happening there

  4. Jim

    This is crap we pay for our license now your going to shut it down this state is crap your punish the ones who do it Wright and take money from my family that need it in this times not going to stop the problems at the canal why don’t you stop the imgrants from taking what ever they want stop out of state people from fishing there

    1. Corey

      What idiot commercially fishes without a boat ? Do you also commercially fish after they stock the ponds ?

      1. Dave

        75% of the commercial fishermen don’t own a boat so that tells how knowledgeable you are about everything isn’t Korea girl’s name

    2. michael

      hey jim, why dont you tell all those massholes not to come to nh, and maybe we’ll stop coming to bug you

  5. Pete

    This is a positive step to help keep the canal open for recreational fishing. As noted by a previous poster there is an effort afoot to close canal for fishing, period! If Mass does not react and attempt to curtail the problems caused by a few the Corp of Engineers will and we will all loose!

    1. Pete

      So you want a refund because now you will actually have to sharpen up your game to catch a fish? There are far too many guys who can’t catch a cold unless their at the canal. I’d be embarrassed to type what you just said man.

      1. Kyle

        Mr peter
        I would outfish you any place anywhere
        Their are many places i can catch fish
        from shore the canal is just very convenient for me
        They buy the fish rite there
        Why would i be embarrassed? many people specifically bought a license for the canal and shutting it down after everyone bought it is unfair.
        Thats all i was saying

  6. Rob

    I like that it’s closed will definitely help the over fishing and overcrowding on the banks but I really wish the decision was made sooner. Pay 100 bucks to find out where I wanted to fish is ruled out now. More than capable of fishing the beaches but they purposely made a late call on closing it since they knew they would lose money on commercial signups

  7. Marc Dunn

    Whatta crock a shit sound more like communism … Pay more for less the great state off mass ain’t so great any more

    1. rips

      communism would be you can fish , but you have to give your fish to the state to be fed back to you and others and pay 22x the price for your lic and privilege to fish

    2. TK

      Sounds more like selfish aholes ruining something good to me. I’ll tell u and fight against communism. This is not it. Selfish, ignorant, spoiled, disrespectful aholes is what this is. Not being able to appreciate and respect a good thing is what this is. Its pretty clear. Part of being a free country is beiNg able to appreciate and respect what u have. Its aholes who cant who drive people the way u fear….and I do to.

  8. Goody

    I never fished the Canal, but even where I fish the beach in Maine there are too many poachers (can’t call them fisherman) that never get caught. The real problem is too many poachers and not enough enforcement be it commercial or recreational fishing. 20 years fishing the same beach and not once have I seen anyone checked including me. So sad as peoples livelihoods are at stake.

  9. Woodsy

    John, thanks for being a total dingus! Hope your adjacently owned land subsides to a sink hole! I’ll be sure to make it my new fishing spot.

    1. John

      Woodsy, your just jealous because I live there and you don’t.
      I fish here too.
      I’m sick of picking up people’s trash in my yard.
      I’m sick of people parking on my property.
      Yes.
      I’m the one calling and having people towed!
      Town has it posted no parking either side.

      I AM NOT THE ONE RUINING IT.
      It’s All you other folks who trespass thru private property,
      Leave trash all around,
      Gut fish and leave carcasses… (can’t do that, fish has to be intact head and tail)
      Parking where you should park.
      Pissing and shitting on private property.
      Waking myself, family and neighbors with your loud music at 4am.
      We say no parking to people and are told to mind our own business….

      You people are doing it to yourself.
      I am not the only one with this issue.

      It has gotten worse over the last 30 years too….

      Myself and other neighbors are pressing the FED’S not state to close fishing….

      US Army Corp engineers are federal…
      Not state.

      So blame yourselves.
      Not us adjacent property owners.
      We’ve turned a blind eye long enough

      We are tired of the disprect.

      I’m gonna start following you people hone and start throwing my trash in your yards.
      See how you like it.

      1. Greg

        Nobody gives a about your stupid house on a canal, should have bought a beach house you cheap bastard

      2. henry

        if you have that much of a problem move, sounds like you wont be missed

      3. Robert

        I don’t blame you one bit. Myself and many others have seen exactly what you’ve stated and what is reflected in these comments… selfishness and inconsiderate behavior to say the least. Some of us have stopped fishing the canal and nearby areas because we’re so disgusted by how people act. Just look at the inconsiderate, selfish fools on this thread who are only in it for themselves. Access will be lost and they’ll still be wondering why. Idiots

  10. Vince

    They should close the canal to all fishermen period! Would be less trash to deal with. And more space for visitors to enjoy the bike path. Fish mortality would decline dramatically. Let’s go Massachusetts!

    1. Robert

      Stores/restaurants would close permanently without fisherman bringing in money so let’s hope there isn’t a complete closure. Most already going downhill fast as it is now. Need tourism.

      1. John

        No. Stores and restraunts will not close because of closure to fishing of canal….

        We would do just fine….

      2. Timmy

        I’m sure people will camp the out of scusset too especially if they can’t fish. People can enjoy campfires and fishing and cook s’mores o ya can’t do any of those. Hmmm I guess people can just pay money to use the beach with no waves and sharks sounds fun. Come on down to cape cod where ya can have a blast doing nothing

    2. Paul

      Vince you don’t realize how much trash fisherman pick up. Good luck closing it I’ll be here laughing.

  11. TO

    Everyone fired up for this should sit back and think. All the problems dumped on the comms will continue as they always have, before and after comm season. Next step, full closure

  12. Bob

    100 for a license that’s cheap one fish you made your money back I’m sure if your not a candy ass you’ll go fishing after dark in the canal and sneak around and pouch a few fish or maybe through some poor slob off of your rock

  13. J Levine

    If any of you don’t like mass, why don’t you move down to Alabama or Mississippi- plenty of low taxes there- probably more of your MAGA buddies too.
    Boohoo license fees- maybe if you paid better attention in school you could get a real job, one that doesn’t depend on exploiting a fragile resource.
    Quit blaming others for your life choices.
    Go ask Trump to pay you back- he claims to have sll the $ anyway.

    1. Jason McMunty

      Some of these lefties blame Trump for everything negative in their miserable lives. Seek counseling. and deprogramming. You have mentally unhealthy obsessions. Start by turning off your TV. You may be brainwashed.

  14. Marc Dunn

    It’s time the sportsmen of this state stand together weather you fish or hunt … More and more is taken away every year ….whatta shame…..

  15. mike

    I love the stupid comments on “Gut fish and leave carcasses… ” commercial fish are sold whole. Good luck with the new rules cause the poachers are going to continue. All I can see is more dead floaters coming out the end of the canal due to having to release all fish over 35 inches. The trash issue isn’t going to change from the tiny amount of people that just got told they cant.

  16. Mike

    I think it’s great for me being an out of state Fisher man but sucks for locals but life is not fair

  17. Roy Barlow

    Thank God. It finally has happened. While i have a commercial license like many, fishing at the canal has become a horrendous activity. I like to make money from doing something i have loved since i was a boy some 60 yrs. There has been a growing number of dirt bags habitating the ditch. I have seen or been told 1st hand knowledge of all the reasons the canal has been shut down over the last 7 or 8 yrs. I will survive this true fisherman will. Dirt bags will move on to the next heinous act. It is how they live

    1. TK

      There has to be a balance. The net comments section r overwhelmingly for the unbalanced. I will say that on “balance right now” this is a good move. Unless u r completely selfish, which most here r, for either side, I cant see bow someone can have a huge problem w this. The canal has turned into everything that is wrong with fishing
      IMO. It’s a terrible environment. I don’t care about the internet crying from either side. The canal has simply become a terrible place.

  18. Joe Biden

    If you ain’t depleting the striper population in the canal, then you ain’t a fisherman.

    1. Art Bishop

      Mr. Biden, please stick to shaking down money from the Ukraine/Burisma and China. Your senile thoughts on fishing in New England, amongst conservative minded fishermen, have no place here.

  19. Daniel L Erickson

    I suggest that john move to Mansfield where he can happily complain about the noise from the Xfinity center. Seriously, what kind of fool buys property next to one of the greatest fishing areas in the world and then publically complains about the fishermen.

    1. John

      My property was inherited.

      I’ve been here before you knew what the canal existed.

  20. Vince

    So the slot limit is 28” – 34”. The canal usually holds fish over 34”. By allowing Recreational fishermen to catch these fish for the sake of sport puts striped bass at risk for mortality. Large striped bass migrate and feed in the canal. We should designate the canal as a no fish zone and a striped bass SANCTUARY. I’m sure by doing so, the striped bass population would rebound. Let’s go Massachusetts!!!

    1. Chesty McGillicudy

      lol
      No fishing/Striped Bass *Sanctuary*? C’mon man.

      I enjoy fishing the canal. It’s one of the few places a shore-bound angler can find large in range, without the serious and at times risky effort of wetsuiting. Granted, the opportunities for larger fish in the canal are fleeting and irregular; oftentimes schoolies are all you’ll catch.

      How bout the boat guys? They track and fish large all summer long. Not fleeting, highly irregular bites in the ditch. Mostly using live macs and bunker. Why have boat guys escaped scrutiny? Why not make the entire friggin *ocean* a striped bass Sanctuary?

    2. Dave

      That’s part of being a fisherman not a meat taker if you know how to fish you know how to fight the fish get the fishing take a picture and when you take your picture you only hold the fish in the water you’ll might have a more to mortality rate if you know how to fish

  21. Dave

    Are you guys complaining sound like trump all you do is complain and point the finger at somebody else

  22. Dave

    See me I travel all the way from Western mass to go fishing don’t keep half the fish don’t use bait or anything down there so I don’t leave no trash but there is other places the fish did have just as much fish so when I see you travel into R into the state stay off my property don’t come to this in the state stayed on by your canal Expresly Winter a no fishing there

  23. Dave

    The guide Jim up there that’s a land owner him in trump hold hands they’re both races produced hes probly got a KKK flag hanging on his property

  24. Dave

    And since when Vince have you gone on the canela car only 34″ fish are bigger I’ve been down there and caught 50 that did need to make 28″

  25. Dave

    Shut the canal down what a bunch of dirtbags down there lately I’d rather fish somewhere where there’s no fish than with those assholes they’re not real fisherman they are catchers and hacks yeah I’m talking about you Jerry’s Kids

  26. Dave

    I think Vince has a great idea make it a sanctuary piss all those hacks right off

  27. Arthur Neuweiler

    I spend more than 100 bucks on plugs just to catch one 40 plus inch bass. What’s up with the Buffalo hunter mentality?

  28. Rob

    I am glad they closed it to commercial fishing. I have fished the canal for 30 years and come down from Worcester at all times of day and night The last few years during big tides I spend more time trying to space myself so I don’t cross someone than I actually fish. Just remember- the days when catching a stripe bass was as hard as bagging a deer – those days mat be closer with all the pressure

  29. Ben Dover

    The guys mad about closing commercial down in the canal just shows how many guys love poaching down there…True commercial fishermen fish from a boat or seek their 15 fish elsewhere, end of story…Its hilarious seeing guys freak out over 2 fish that youre allowed to keep anyway if commercial fishing from the Canal…Excellent decision to close that down…As someone who fishes the canal often, I see first hand how the commercial sector increases the crowds, the trash…Believe it or not, many of these commercial guys are rolling up to the Canal all the way from Lowell…lets keep those kind of people away…Leave trash everywhere on top it

  30. pat

    Dose any one know how many commercial licenses are sold per season?

    1. Ed

      Any of these commercial jerk guys try to mess with me when I’m fishing the canal will get a real rude awakening they will never forget !

      1. JL

        Ed. You and guys like you are part of the problem. Everyone is a toughguy

  31. Carlos Ramos

    This is stupid for the people who try to take the stress out

  32. APEX

    If the canal is closed, some of you will have to learn enough about stipers to be able to successfully hunt them in their natural habitat instead of a man made killing zone. You might even come to respect stripers enough to treat them with the respect they deserve instead of like swimming pieces of meat.

  33. Not from ny

    The whole New England area is a joke . I wouldn’t fish that whole again if you paid me . Have fun with all the seals and losers .

  34. JL

    The problem I see is that the majority of the problem is the rec guys. Been fishing the canal for over 20 years. I have seen the recent decline of sportsmanship and courtesy. and increased traffic and trash. It’s mostly not the commercial guys who leave their empty worm boxes, or hook or lure packaging lying in the rocks. That being said, I cant say I disagree with a closure, but should be closed to everyone. That is the only way you will get it back. End the poaching and the mess. Yes, I do own a boat. But also fish the canal both recreationally and commercially. Any day, not just commercial days, the place is a gong show. Packed with out of state plates who dont care about the area and just want to catch a trophy. It’s not their home, just a PIT stop. Just my .02

  35. canalrat

    No more commercial great new. They kill too many mommy striper. I am going have a drink for this!

  36. CC

    Excellent decision!! too many fish being killed ! thankfully someone is thinking clearly!!!!!

  37. Richard Barron

    KUDOS to the fishermen who have the cahones to write their feelings on this page. My Dad used to take us fishing at the canal when I was a little boy and he rarely ever caught a stiper. He did better in Fall River by the bridge using squid. When I lived down the cape a long time ago I started fishing at the Railroad Bridge and Scusset jetty. I never caught a big striper. When I was on my second marriage with 7 kids total ( I know I’m a glutton), I started fly fishing, became friends with Ken Abrames and fished with him in R.I. and learned how to be at one with the hunter in me that is in all of us. The animal that keeps us alive and is one with nature. I applied that knowledge and have had some incredible nights and days on the canal. My biggest canal striper was 47 lbs 54 inches. My oldest son and I caught 26 stripers at the Criben one night and the smallest was 36 inches. All catch and release. What we leave our children and others when we die is what we have contributed to the opportunity of being given a life to live. I loved reading all of your comments and I share your frustrations but whatever happens in the future, I hope that the Army Corps of Engineers and government continue to try to protect the canal and its striper population using intelligence and wisdom with solutions that are fair to everyone. As to the selfish property owners who want the canal to themselves, I understand your frustration with mindless uncaring people who don’t care about others, but not everyone is like that and many great and wonderful fishermen and fisher ladies fish the canal and are great people. Just remember most of the time the stripers are passing through the canal and not taking up permanent residence. They are just following the food chain and move with it. In these troubled times don’t expect the government to fix anything, be smart and resourceful yourself. Eels,live or dead. usuallly work where bigger stripers hunt and feed. We all need greater and more fairer representation, but I hope the stripers live on and multiply. Stay Safe everyone!

  38. chris pagonis

    i’ve saaid it before and i’ll say it again make the canal a catch and release only area.

  39. Marco

    The canal is an artificial choke-point for migrating stripers. It’s like fishing in one of the kiddie ponds stocked with trout used for youngsters to get introduced to fishing. Totally unfair to target fish in that environment.

    Agree – close the canal to all fishing. Guess what – there’s other places to fish from shore in MA. Lot’s of them. I’ve been shore fishing for over 50 yrs and landed a 40″+ fish almost every year. Life outside of the canal exists.

    If your fishing skills aren’t up to par and you can only be successful fishing in a man-made waterway, suggest go fishing in the little kiddie ponds with bobber and worms.

    No matter where you fish, clean up after yourself, respect private property, and respect other fishermen.

    Fishing is supposed to be fun – sounds like a bunch of guys on this forum need a new hobby.

  40. Karen

    I so enjoy my morning walk with the fisherman at the canal. I’d hate to see the recreational shut down as well.
    Next will be all dogs because some dog owners don’t take care of things. It’s such a wonderful resource, let’s appreciate what we have.

    1. Mm

      I do not fish commerical .but after fishing the canal for some time and seeing what goes on down there. I would say there is more of a problem .than commercial fishermen

    2. TK

      …..and there lies the problem Karen. U can’t legislate morality. Human beings are in every sense of the word animals. When some break the rules it makes it easy for others to justify it…and so on, until drastic measures r needed. That’s humanity unfortunately. The canal has become a terrible place. No way around it. As for dogs? I think it’s a great comparison. Responsible owners like myself r always getting screwed by selfish, ignorant aholes.
      The way it is. Again, if anyone has any center, and 98% of regular net posters don’t….I don’t understand how anyone can not see what a terrible place the canal is now…..for the fish and people who use it. Sad…..but that’s what human do.

      Then selfishly complain and blame everyone and anything other than themselves. That is reality. I was a bit torn but after reading and thinking this is a good option to try. As someone pointed out its gonna make the scum….i mean poachers easier to spot….amd of course thats gonna piss people off to no end. Skilled commercial guys will get theirs, its the yahoos and poachers who will have a tougher time. No wonder they r so mad!

  41. Henri Lapointe

    YES!!! One lonely win for the little guy… Let’s outlaw the nets next… the only purpose the nets serve is to fatten the pockets of those with the biggest boats and the biggest pocketbooks. If we went entirely to hook and line, this would allow for more individuals to make their living from the sea. It would also drastically reduce, and really almost eliminate, bycatch waste. Imagine all that dead fish the trawlers return to the sea as shark bait, makes you wonder why the sharks are dying off, but anyway, I horribly digress. Another plus to a fleet of hook and line fishermen would be the competition and resulting negative drive on prices. This would make purchasing fish in our markets more affordable and allow what was once the norm, our working class having a fresh, healthy and cheap meal choice, to return to our sea rich communities. FIGHT PROUD,,, FIGHT LOUD,,, AND FIGHT ON UNTIL OUR LAWS AND POLICIES ARE SOUND

  42. Chris

    I sit here listening to everybody and wonder why I put in 25 to 30 days a year into fishing the canal. I spend countless days making fishing plugs and giving most of them to fellow fishermen and kids alike. I stop and I talk to other like minded individuals about fishing, weather, family. I take the time to get a fish on the line and sometime pass it to a young boy or girl if they are interested in catching a big fish in their eyes. We pick up trash. I won’t hesitate to stop and give an old timer a hand on the rocks, I don’t mind the stopping of commercial fishing in the canal, I get that too. I’ve been coming to the cape for almost 50 years from driving on nauset for weekends with family to helping friends on a clam grant because he was to old to pick himself. Don’t I sound like a saint? I got news for you immortals who just want to close everything down so you can have everything to yourselves, look in the mirror, then treat your kids like you treat the people here. It’s ok. They will be gone at 18. And have no respect. Bravo. You got what you want! God I wish I could be immortal, maybe I buy that house next to you. It would save me from driving down from New Hampshire. Oh sorry. Shouldn’t say anything , I don’t live on the canal. Wow what’s next? Maybe you go after the native Americans fishing on the canal. Smarten up, mind your business , and maybe one day you’ll get to meet me. God help you then. Tight lines

  43. Mm

    I would say after fishing the canal for some time that there is more of a problem than commerical fishermen. How about the guy that brings his kids and has them running fish up to the cooler in the vehicle and he keeps fishing and takes more and then says my kid caught that one ya right .or you get the no speaka the english .I don’t fish commerical and I have nothing against it. There is more of a problem than commerical fishermen just watch what goes on . So if the state goes to catch and release I think it would eliminate alot of Bs .

  44. Striper’s Tailgunner

    All points being made are valid, and have merit. We as fisherman have a responsibility, part of that responsibility is to protect our resources. Like anything else, we all pay the price when people don’t act accordingly. The actions being taken this year to protect the Striped Bass are not just in Mass, but up and down the eastern seaboard. Why? Do I really have to answer that question! Anyone who fishes the canal can answer that question for themselves. If you want the actions of a few to affect us all, do nothing. If you want change, be part of the answer and do what is right. Don’t just sit there when you see people doing something that you know is wrong, because I promise you, they will be back tomorrow to do it again. This has been going on for years. Let me repeat that, years. What did you think was going to happen? Now, something is being done about it, I just hope it’s not to late. If nothing changes now, after the laws have been changed to help protect the Striped Bass, I can promise you, that our future has already been written. The canal will be shut down completely. I just hope your not the one doing what you and I both know is wrong down there, because I’ve got know problem reporting your a##. What has happened down there is a disgrace. Keep that in your mind when you go down there, a lot of people are watching! If your not doing anything wrong, this does not apply and tight lines. If your the former, Keep testing your luck, it’s about to change:).

  45. Big Mike

    Close it down. Just not the west end when the tide is right. Too fun

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