Massachusetts has enacted new emergency regulations affecting the recreational fishing limits for Georges Bank cod. Effective July 15, 2022, the fishery is closed for the remainder of July. It will re-open on August 1 with the bag limit and slot limit:
These rules apply to recreational cod fishing within the Southern New England Groundfish Management Area. This area covers of all state waters south and east of Cape Cod that are south of 42°00’ north latitude, but does not include those waters north of Cape Cod within Cape Cod Bay that are south of 42°00’ north latitude. Additionally, by matching the federal limits, these regulations ensure recreational anglers can lawfully possess and land catch taken in federal waters in the Commonwealth.
This emergency action complements adjustments to federal fishing regulations implemented by NOAA Fisheries through Framework 63 to the Multi-Species Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (Federal Register) that similarly become effective on July 15. Framework 63 cuts the Georges Bank recreational cod target by about 50% from 304,238 pounds (138 mt) to 164,346 pounds (75 mt) for the 2022 and 2023 federal fishing years (May 1 – April 30). This was done to reduce fishing mortality on this stock and promote its rebuilding. To achieve this cut in the recreational harvest target, NOAA Fisheries also implemented these new recreational fishing limits. The closed season, bag limit reduction, and maximum size are designed to keep recreational fishing mortality below the catch target and prevent potential overages of the overall annual catch limit for this stock.
For more information regarding the management of marine fisheries in the Commonwealth, please visit our website: www.mass.gov/marinefisheries.