2017-04-27 / Nature

Minor Changes to 2017 Fishing Limits

By James Merolla

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) yearly quotas on saltwater game fish for recreational anglers is virtually unchanged from last year, except for minor tweaks concerning the catch of black sea bass and special area provision fishing. The quotas apply to fishing in and around state waters emanating to and from Narragansett Bay.

Data collected by agencies regarding mid-Atlantic and local fisheries indicate that the current regulations for recreational and commercial fishermen will ensure the presence and growth of popular game fish for years to come.

The 2017 limits for recreational anglers are:

American eels – Nine-inch minimum all year, with a possession limit of 25 eels per person, per day (50 for licensed party/charter vessel passengers);

Black sea bass – 15-inch minimum, with limit of three fish per person, per day, May 25-Aug. 31; seven fish per person, per day, Sept. 1-Sept. 21; Closed to fishing, Sept. 22-Oct. 21; seven fish per person, per day, Oct. 22-Dec. 31;

Bluefish – no minimum, 15 fish per person, per day all year;

Cod – 22-inch minimum, 10 fish per person, per day all year;

Summer flounder (Fluke) – 19- inch minimum, four fish per person, per day, May 1-Dec. 31;

Scup (shore and private) – 10- inch minimum, 30 fish per person, per day, May 1-Dec. 31;

Striped bass – 28-inch minimum, one fish per person, per day all year;

Tautog (black fish) – 16-inch minimum; three fish per person, per day through May 31; closed to fishing, June 1-July 31; six fish per person, per day, Aug. 1-Oct. 14; 10 fish per vessel during all periods. The same rules apply to charter/ party boats;

Weakfish (Squeteague) – 16- inch minimum, one fish per person, per day all year;

Winter Flounder (black back) – 12-inch minimum, two fish per person, per day all year;

Black sea bass and black fish seasons are closed for several summer months due to the delicate reproduction cycle of each fish, which ensures their stability in local waters.

When anglers fish from shore at Fort Adams in Newport, Fort Wetherill, Jamestown, the Stone Bridge in Tiverton, the East and West Walls (Harbor Refuge) in Narragansett, and other spots in the state like India Point Park in Providence, they may possess up to 30 scups that are nine inches or greater in length, according to the DEM.

Going Fishing?

A saltwater license is required for squid fishermen over 16 years old. Locally, licenses can be purchased at West Marine, 379 W Main Rd., Middletown, 401- 841-9880; Bristol Bait & Tackle, 367 Metacom Ave., Bristol, 401- 545-5470; Lucky Bait and Tackle, 289 Market St., Warren, 401-247- 2223; or online at ri.gov/DEM/ saltwater. For more information, call DEM's Marine Fisheries Program at 401-423-1923.

The cost of a yearly RI license is $7 for Rhode Island residents, and $10 for non-residents. There is no fee for RI residents who are over the age of 65, younger than 16, or active military personnel stationed in Rhode Island.

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