Marine Fisheries Minimum Sizes & Possession Limits

Minimum sizes are measured for Total Length (TL) [TL is from tip of snout to tip of tail]

Rev. 9/29/2022

"Restricted finfish" indicated in red font.

Possession limits and open fisheries are subject to change. To participate in commercial fisheries a Rhode Island commercial fishing license and appropriate endorsements are required. 

For current COMMERCIAL POSSESSION LIMITS call 423-1920

SPECIES

MINIMUM SIZE

SEASON

CURRENT
COMMERCIAL
POSSESSION
LIMIT

American Eel

9"

Closed 9/1 - 12/31
for any gear other than
baited pots or spears

No limit

American Plaice (dab)

12"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

American Shad

NA

1/1 - 12/31

Prohibited in state waters

Atlantic Salmon

NA

1/1 - 12/31

Prohibited in state waters

Atlantic Sturgeon

NA

1/1 - 12/31

Prohibited in state waters

Black Sea Bass

 

11"

Sub-Periods
1/1 - 4/30
5/1 - 6/30
7/1 - 8/15
8/16 - 9/14
9/15 - 10/31
11/1 - 12/31

50 lbs/vsl/day

Oct. 2
100 lbs/vsl/day

Bluefish

18"

1/1 - 4/30
5/1 - 11/14
11/15 - 12/31

6,000 lbs/vsl/wk

Cod

19"

5/1 - 4/30

1,000 lbs/vsl/day

Coastal Sharks-
Smoothhound

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

Unlimited

Coastal Sharks-
Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks Group - Atlantic sharpnose, finetooth, and bonnethead

No Minimum

1/1 - 12/31

Unlimited

Coastal Sharks-
Blacknose

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

Closed

Coastal Sharks-
Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks Group - Silky, tiger, blacktip, spinner, bull, lemon, nurse

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

55 sharks/vsl/day

Coastal Sharks-
Hammerhead Group - Scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, smooth hammerhead

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

55 sharks/vsl/day

Coastal Sharks-
Pelagic Shark Group - Shortfin Mako

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

Closed

Coastal Sharks-
Pelagic Group - Porbeagle, common thresher, oceanic whitetip, blue

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

Unlimited

Coastal Sharks-
Prohibited Shark Group - sand tiger, bigeye, sandtiger, whale, basking, bignose, galapagos, night reed, narrowtooth, caribbean sharpnose, smalltail, atlantic angel, longfin mako, bigeye thresher, sharpnose sevengill, bluntnose sixgill, blacknose, bigeye sixgill

NA

1/1 - 12/31

Prohibited

Coastal Sharks-
Research Shark Group - Sandbar

NA

1/1 - 12/31

Prohibited

Spiny Dogfish

No Minimum

5/1 - 4/30

7,500 lbs/vsl/day

Summer Flounder (Fluke)

with Exemption Certificate

14"

Sub-Periods
1/1 - 4/30
5/1 - 9/15
9/16 -12/31

800 lbs/vsl/day

without Exemption Certificate

14"

Sub-Periods
1/1 - 4/30
5/1 - 9/15
9/16 -12/31

200 lbs/vsl/day

Horseshoe Crab
Bait Fishery

7"

1/1 - 4/30
6/1 - 12/31

60 crabs/person/day

Horseshoe Crab
Biomedical Fishery

7"

1/1 - 12/31

Unlimited

Menhaden inside Management Area

No Minimum

1/1 - 12/31

120,000 lbs/vsl/day

Menhaden outside Management Area

No Minimum

1/1 - 12/31

120,000 lbs/vsl/day

Monkfish

17" whole/
11" tail

5/1 - 4/30

4,900 lbs/vsl/wk tails or
14,259 lbs/vsl/week whole fish

Haddock

16"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

Pollock

19"

1/1 - 12-31

No limit

Scup

General Category
9"

Sub-Periods
1/1 - 4/30 (fed quota)
5/1 - 9/30
10/1 - 12/31 (fed quota)

20,000 lbs/vsl/wk

Oct 1
24,000 lbs/vsl/day

Floating traps
9"

Sub-Periods
1/1 - 4/30 (fed quota)
5/1 - 9/30
10/1 - 12/31 (fed quota)

Unlimited

Oct 1
24,000 lbs/vsl/day

Striped bass


General Category
34"

Sub-Periods
6/1 - 7/5
7/6 - 12/31
CLOSED Fri/Sat/Sun 
thru-out

Closed

Floating traps
26"

4/1 - 12/31

Closed

Skate

Wing Fishery
No Minimun

1/1 - 12/31

35,000 lbs/vsl/wk wings or
79,450 lbs/vsl/wk whole skate

Bait Fishery
Max Size
23"

Sub Periods
5/1 - 7/31
8/1 - 10/31
11/1 - 4/30

25,000 lbs/vsl/day

Tautog

16"

Sub-Periods
4/1 - 5/31
8/1 - 9/15
10/15 - 12/31

Closed

Weakfish (Squeteague)

16"

Open Season
6/1 - 6/30
8/7 - 11/8

All other times call RIDFW for details

100 lbs/vsl/day

Winter Flounder

12"

1/1 - 12/31

50 lbs/vsl/day

The harvesting or possession of winter flounder is PROHIBITED in Narragansett Bay north of the Colregs Line of Demarcation as well as in Potter Pond, Point Judith Pond,and the Harbor of Refuge

Yellowtail Flounder

12"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

Atlantic Herring

No 
minimum size

1/1 - 12/31

Unlimited

Nov 25
closed
2,000 lbs/vsl/day bycatch limit

River Herring

NA

1/1- 12/31

Prohibited in state waters
Call DFW for federal
bycatch allowance

Species

Minimum
size

Season

Possession Limit

American eel

9"

1/1 - 12/31

25 eels/person/day

50 eels/vsl/day for licensed party/charter vessels

American plaice (dab)

14"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

Black Sea Bass

16"

5/22 - 8/31
9/1 - 12/31

2 fish/person/day
3 fish/person/day

Black Sea Bass - Party and Charter

16"

6/18 - 8/31
9/1 - 12/31

2 fish/person/day
6 fish/person/day

Bluefish

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

3 fish/person/day

Bluefish Party and Charter

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

5 fish/person/day

Cod

22"-<28"

1/1 - 4/30
5/1 - 7-31
8/1 - 12/31

5 fish/person/day
Closed
5 fish/person/day

Summer Flounder (Fluke)

18"

5/3 - 12/31

4 fish/person/day

Special Area Provisions:While fishing from shore at India Point Park in Providence; Conimicut Park in Warwick; Rocky Point, Warwick; Stone Bridge in Tiverton; East and West Walls (Harbor of Refuge), Narragansett; Fort Wetherill, Jamestown; and Fort Adams, Newport; anglers may possess up to 2 summer flounder 17 inches or greater in length from May 3, through December 31 as part of their 4 fish possession limit. The remaining 2 fish must be 18 inches or larger.

Monkfish (Goosefish)

17" whole
11" tail

1/1 - 12/31

50 lbs tails/day or 
166 lbs whole/day

Haddock

18"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

Pollock

19"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

Scup (Shore and Private)

10"

1/1 - 12/31

30 fish/person/day

Special Area Provisions: While fishing from shore at India Point Park in Providence; Conimicut Park in Warwick; Rocky Point, Warwick; Stone Bridge in Tiverton; East and West Walls (Harbor of Refuge), Narragansett; Fort Wetherill, Jamestown; and Fort Adams, Newport; anglers may possess up to 30 scup 9 inches or greater in length from May 1, through December 31

Scup (Party and Charter)

10"

1/1 - 8/31
9/1 - 10/31
11/1 - 12/31

30 fish/person/day
50 fish/person/day
30 fish/person/day

Skate

No minimum

1/1 - 12/31

10 fish/person/day

Striped Bass

28"-<35"

1/1 - 12/31

1 fish/person/day

Striped Bass Fin Clipping: All striped bass 34 inches or larger harvested recreationally must have the entire right pectoral fin removed at the time of harvest
Striped Bass Circle Hook Provision: Required when fishing recreationally for striped bass with bait.

Tautog

16"
Only one fish may be greater than 21"


4/1 - 5/31
6/1 - 7/31
8/1 - 10/14
10/15 - 12/31


3 fish/person/day
CLOSED
3 fish/person/day
5 fish/person/day
Max of 10 fish/vsl during all periods

Tautog (Party and Charter)

16"
Only one fish may be greater than 21"

4/1 - 5/31
6/1 - 7/31
8/1 - 10/14
10/15 - 12/31

3 fish/person/day
CLOSED
3 fish/person/day
5 fish/person/day

Weakfish (Squeteague)

16"

1/1 - 12/31

1 fish/person/day

Winter Flounder (Blackback)

12"

3/1 - 12/31

2 fish/person/day

The harvesting or possession of winter flounder is PROHIBITED in Narragansett Bay north of the Colregs Line of Demarcation as well as in Potter Pond, Point Judith Pond, and the Harbor of Refuge

Witch Flounder
(Gray Sole)

14"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

Yellowtail Flounder

13"

1/1 - 12/31

No limit

Minimum Sizes and Possession Limits

Lobsters

THE POSSESSION OF EGG-BEARING LOBSTERS IS PROHIBITED. ALL LEGAL SIZED EGG-BEARING LOBSTERS MUST BE V-NOTCHED.

Harvesting by licensed residents only, all lobsters must be measured IMMEDIATELY. All lobsters measuring less than the legal minimum size of 3-3/8" carapace length must be returned immediately to the water from which taken.
Measuring: The carapace length is measured from the rear of the eye socket along a line parallel to the centerline of the body shell to the rear end of the body shell.

Blue Crabs:

THE POSSESSION OF EGG-BEARING BLUE CRABS IS PROHIBITED.

Harvesting by residents only. It is illegal to harvest crabs from sunset to sunrise. All blue crabs measuring less than the legal minimum size of five inches (5") from spike-end to spike-end must be returned immediately to the water from which taken. No person shall possess, take, or attempt to take more than twenty-five (25) blue crabs from any of the waters of Rhode Island except when taken by a scoop or crab net, trot, or hand line.
Measuring: A direct line measured from the end of one spike across the body shell to the end of the opposite spike must be no less than five inches (5").

Horseshoe Crabs:

No person shall harvest horseshoe crabs from waters or shoreline of the state during the 48-hour period preceding and the 48-hour period following the new and full moons during the month of May annually. No person shall harvest horseshoe crabs for commercial or recreational purposes on or within 100 feet seaward of Patience and Prudence Islands in Narragansett Bay.


Commercial: It is illegal for any person to harvest horseshoe crabs in Rhode Island for commercial purposes without a Multi-Purpose Commercial License and a Horseshoe Crab Harvest Permit. There is an annual commercial harvest quota allocated to the State of Rhode Island by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).


Recreational: It is illegal for any person to harvest horseshoe crabs in Rhode Island for recreational purposes without a Horseshoe Crab Harvest Permit. Any resident with a Horseshoe Crab Harvest Permit may possess not more than five (5) horseshoe crabs in any calendar day. Horseshoe Crab Harvest Permits are obtainable at the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Marine Fisheries Section.

 For more detailed lobster, blue crab, or horseshoe crab regulations click here

Minimum Sizes

Shellfishing is prohibited statewide between sunset and sunrise.

Shellfish Recreational Minimum Sizes and Possession Limits

Species

Minimum size

Season

Non-Management Areas

Management Areas

Resident Limit

Non-Resident Limit

Resident Limit

Non-Resident Limit

Channeled and Knobbed Whelk (Conch)
Busycotypus canaliculatus and Busycon carica

2 1/4" shell height

1/1 - 12/31

1/2 Bushel

Residents Only

1/2 Bushel
Max 1 bushel/vsl

Residents Only

Bay Quahaug
Mercenaria mercenaria

1" hinge width

1/1 - 12/31

1/2 Bushel

1 Peck

1Peck

1/2 Peck

Soft-shelled clam
Mya arenaria

2" longest axis

1/1 - 12/31

1/2 Bushel

1 Peck

1 Peck

1/2 Peck

Oyster
Crassostrea virginica

3" longest axis

9/15 - 5/15

1/2 Bushel

1 Peck

1 Peck

1/2 Peck

Scallop
Argopecten irradians

No seed possession

1st Sat Nov - 12/31 Dip Nets

12/1 - 12/31 Dredge

1 Bushel

Residents Only

1 Bushel

Residents Only

Surf Clam
Spisula solidissima

5" longest axis

1/1 - 12/31

1/2 Bushel

1 Peck

1 Peck

1/2 Peck