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Marine Fisheries Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need a license to take finfish from the salt waters of Rhode Island?
If you plan to sell the fish you need a commercial fishing license. To go recreational fishing a saltwater recreational fishing license is required. All fishermen must abide by regulations on legal size, seasons, and/or possession limits.

How can I find out the legal sizes, seasons, and/or possession limits?
For a chart showing recreational and commercial sizes, seasons, and possession limits, click Legal sizes, seasons, possession chart

What is the cost of a commercial/recreational license?
Recreational License fees and Commercial License fees vary according to use and residency.

May I take shellfish without a license?
R.I. residents can take a resident shellfish limit recreationally without a license. Non-resident property owners and other non-residents must possess a recreational shellfish license.

Where can I shellfish?
See Viewable Shellfish Closure Maps

May a R.I. resident take lobsters recreationally?
Yes, however, a recreational license is required. A resident can purchase either a pot license or a diving license for a fee of $40/year.

What is the definition of a "resident"?
A "resident" is defined as "an individual who has had his/her actual place of residence and has lived in the State of Rhode Island for a continuous period of not less than size (6) months" [RIGL 20-1-3]

May a non-resident take lobsters?
No, only license legal Rhode Island residents can take lobsters.

When is oyster season?
Oyster season is open from September 15 through May 15, annually.

When is scallop season?
Scallop season opens at sunrise on the first Saturday in November and closes at sunset on December 31, annually.

What are the dates of "Seasonally Closed" Shellfish Management Areas?
Seasonal Closures in Shellfish Management Areas are in effect from sunrise the Saturday just before Memorial Day until sunrise the Tuesday just after Columbus Day, annually.

How do you measure a fish?
Rhode Island legal minimum possession size is determined by Total Length of the fish, that is, measured from the tip of the snout to tip of the tail.

How do you measure a lobster?
Rhode Island legal minimum possession size is determined by carapace length. That is measured from the rear of the eye socket along a line parallel to the center of the body shell to the rear of the body shell.

May I take bait with a net?
Beach Seines - Recreational bait nets -- Marine species may lawfully be taken for personal use provided that all existing minimum size and possession limit restrictions for the species possessed are adhered to. Also a limit of two quarts per person is allowed for all unregulated marine species. Nets being used cannot exceed four (4) feet in depth and twenty (20) feet in length.