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Saltwater Fishing Regulations - Recreational


New Recreational Marine Fishing License

The new Recreational Marine Fishing License is available for purchase on the Internet or from NYS hunting and fishing license vendors. As of October 1, 2009, all anglers who wish to fish in the marine and coastal district or to fish in other state waters for "migratory fish from the sea" (such as striped bass, American shad, hickory shad, blueback herring, alewife) must have a recreational marine fishing license.

Party and charter vessel owners or operators must also possess a recreational marine fishing license, which will cover all passengers aboard their vessels.

More information about this new license is available at the Marine Recreational Fishing FAQs

Going Fishing?

Be sure to take a look at the New York State Recreational Marine Fishing Regulations Guide (PDF, 1.2 MB). There is information about the new recreational marine fishing license and fishing regulations in a format that is convenient to print (24 pages) and take along on your next fishing trip.

If you are interested in finding out where to launch your boat or to fish from the shore, visit the Marine Public Access page. This page lists the telephone numbers for the parks, agencies and municipalities that manage the facilities you can use to get to the water. The rules and fees that apply to these facilities differ widely, so make sure you check with the appropriate authority before you travel.


These regulations are effective April 28, 2009.

Please note: The summer flounder (fluke) and black sea bass regulations have changed.

Laws and regulations are frequently amended by the Legislature or DEC. You should check with the Bureau of Marine Resources to ensure that the fishing limits below are in effect. Our contact information is given in the column to the right. Links to the actual text of the marine finfish regulations (Part 40) are in the Related Links column to the right. The actual text for the lobster and crabs regulations (Part 44) are available there, too. A link to the print version of these regulations is also available in the column to the right.

Marine Recreational Fishing Limits
Species Size Limits
(Total Length in Inches)
Daily Possession Limits
(Number of Fish)
Open Seasons
Summer flounder (fluke) 21 2 May 15 - June 15 July 3 - Aug 17
Winter flounder 12 10 April 1 - May 30
Tautog (blackfish) 14 4

Oct 1 - Dec 20 Jan 17 - Apr 30

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 then 12" TL
All year
10 filleted
12 dressed


All year
Atlantic cod 22 No limit All year
Pollock 19 No limit All year
Haddock 19 No limit All year
Striped bass; marine waters**
Anglers aboard licensed party/charter boats
28 2*** Apr 15 - Dec 15
Striped bass; marine waters**
All other anglers
28 - 40
Apr 15 - Dec 15
Striped bass; north of George Washington Bridge 18 1 Mar 16 - Nov 30
Red drum No minimum size No limit for fish less then 27" TL.
Fish greater than 27" shall not be possessed.
All year
Spanish mackerel 14 15 All year
King mackerel 23 3 All year
Cobia 37 2 All year
Atlantic sturgeon Moratorium Moratorium Moratorium
Black Sea Bass 12.5 25 All year
Scup (Porgy)
Anglers aboard licensed party/charter boats
11 10
June 12 - Aug 31
Sept 1 - Oct 15***
Scup (Porgy)
All other anglers
10.5 10 May 24 - Sept 26
American eel 6 50 All year
Monkfish (goose fish) 17
11 tail length
Any number All year
American Shad No size limit 1 All year
Hickory Shad No size limit 5 All year
Yellowtail flounder 13 No limit All year
Oyster toadfish 10 3 July 16 - May 14
Horseshoe crabs No size limit 5 All year
Blue Crab+
Hard Shell
Soft Shell
4 1/2"
3 1/2"
50 All year
All Other Crabs+ No size limit 50 All year
American lobster+
LMA 6 (Long Island Sound, Rec. permit required)
3 5/16" carapace length 6 All year
American lobster+
LMA 4 (Atlantic Ocean, Rec. permit required)
3 3/8" carapace length 6 All year

** Marine waters -- South of George Washington Bridge

*** The customer of any party/charter boat who takes more than 10 scup from Sept 1 - Oct 15 or takes two striped bass from Apr 15 - Dec 15 must possess an original dated receipt from the licensed vessel.

+ Lobsters and crabs in spawn (eggs visible thereon) may not be taken or possessed.

++ Peeler or shedder crabs are hard blue crabs which have a fully formed soft shell beneath the hard outer shell and the impending shedding process is evidenced by the white sign along the outer rim of the paddle-like appendages on the crab's fifth pair of legs.

Recreational Fishing Regulations for Sharks
Category Species Minimum Size Limit Daily Possession Limit
Large and Small Coastal Sharks and Pelagic Sharks Tiger, Blacktip, Bull, Great hammerhead, Lemon, Nurse, Scalloped hammerhead, Smooth hammerhead, Spinner, Blacknose, Bonnethead, Finetooth, Blue, Shortfin mako, Oceanic whitetip, Thresher, Poreagle 54 inches fork length* One shark per vessel per trip
Large and Small Coastal Sharks and Pelagic Sharks (cont.) Atlantic sharpnose, Bonnethead No size limit One Atlantic sharpnose per person per trip. One Bonnecthead per person per trip.
Prohibited Sharks Atlantic angel, Galapagos, Basking, Longfin mako, Bigeye sand tiger, Narrowtooth, Bigeye Sixgill, Night, Bigeye thresher, Sand tiger, Bignose, Sevengill, Carribean reef, Sixgill, Carribean sharpnose, Smalltail, Dusky, Whale, White+, Silky and Sandbar. No possession allowed No possession allowed

* Fork length means the straightline 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.

+ 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.

For further information about catching and landing sharks call National Marine Fisheries Service Fisheries Information Line at (978) 281-9278.




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