Fishing regulations


There are wonderful opportunities to take advantage of the abundance of fish and shellfish on Martha’s Vineyard. But whether raking up clams in Katama Bay or casting for striped bass along the north shore, it is important to be aware of local and state regulations. Vineyarders are very protective of their natural resources. Licensing requirements and fishery regulations governing size and possession limits are strictly enforced.Resident and non-resident shellfish permits are available in Island town halls. Local Island tackle shops are the best places to find up-to-date fishing information and shellfishing gear, including rakes and baskets.New Permit RequiredA new federal law requires most Massachusetts saltwater fishermen to sign up with the National Saltwater Anglers Registry. Exempt individuals include individuals under 16; fishermen on permitted charter, party or guide boats; or those already registered through an exempted state. To register go to or call 1-888-674-7411.TroutMassWildlife stocks several Island ponds with trout in the spring. Fishermen are allowed a daily limit of three trout per day from ponds. Fishermen 15 years of age and older must have a Massachusetts freshwater fishing license. Licenses are available from town clerks and online at season, 10-fish limit. Present from mid-May to late October.Striped BassOpen season. There is a two-fish limit and minimum size limit of 28-inches. Present from early May to early November.Fluke (May 22–Sept. 6)Also called summer flounder, no license required for recreational fishermen. There is a five-fish limit and minimum size limit of 18.5 inches. Scup (May 24–Sept. 26)A popular, kid-size fish caught from jetties and docks. Fish must be 10.5 inches and there is a 10-fish limit.Blue Claw CrabsClosed season Jan. 1 to April 30. Minimum shell width of 5 inches. Possession limit of 25 per day.Quahogs*A quahog rake is used to find these delicious hard-shell clams. Depending on their size, quahogs are referred to locally as little necks, cherrystones, or chowders. In many of the Island’s bays and ponds. Open season.Steamers*Found by digging at low tide by hand or using a specialized rake. Open season.Oysters*Found mainly in Edgartown and Tisbury Great Ponds. Taken with a rake while wading or from a boat using oyster drags. Although dates may vary by town the recreational season normally begins in late fall and may last until spring.Bay Scallops*Taken by dip net while wading or from a boat using scallop drags. The recreational season begins in late fall and may last until spring.*A town license is required and is only good for the specific town that issues the license. Resident, non-resident, and in some towns, short-term shellfishing permits are available. Harvest limits, permit cost, seasonal dates and areas closed to shellfishing often vary from town to town. Specific minimum size limits apply.