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Rules and Regulations

Recreational Fishing

Rhode Island state waters provide an excellent resource and space for recreational fishing activity, from striped bass fishing to digging quahogs, and everything in between. Narragansett Bay, southern coastal ponds, Block Island Sound, and Rhode Island Sound have and continue to offer avid fishers an outlet to fish and learn more about Rhode Island recreational species.


Recreational Finfish

Recreational finfishing is available to both RI residents and non-RI residents who are properly licensed. A Party/Charter license is needed for for-hire captains, but passengers on party and charter trips do not requrie a recreational fishing license.
One of following licenses is required to recreationally fish in RI:
RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License
National Saltwater Angler Registry
A Recreational Saltwater License from a Reciprocal State. States include: New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Click to buy a RI Recreational License

Click here for more information on the recreational saltwater fishing license, including FAQ's.

  • All striped bass must have the right pectoral fin removed at harvest.

  • All fish are measured in total length (tip of the snout to tip of the tail)

Minimum sizes, possession limits, and seasons


Recreational Shellfish

Recreational shellfishing is available to both RI residents and non-RI residents. Whelk and bay scallop is limited to residents only. Residents do not require a license, however non-RI residents do requrie a license. Three license types are available to non-residents.
Annual allows the non-resident license holder to recreationally shellfish year round in RI. The fee for the license is $200 a year.
14-day license allows the non-resident license holder to recreationally shellfish for 14 consecutive days. A limit of one (1) license will be issued per person per year. The fee for the license is $11.
Non-resident landowner with proof of ownership, a non-resident landowner who is current on their property tax obligation may obtain an annual recreational shellfish license for a fee of $25.

Click to buy a Nonresident Shellfish License

Licenses can also be purchased at RIDEM Office of Boat Registration and Licensing, and at select vendors around the state. For more information click here.
Information of minimum sizes and possession limits and full shellfish regulations.

Shellfishing grounds are subject to permanent and in season closures. Shellfish grounds and closed areas, additionally, in season closures of conditional areas can be obtained by calling 401-222-2900.


Recreational Lobster and Crabs

Lobster may be harvested by RI residents only. Additionally, a license is required. There are 2 different licenses available, both have a fee of $40.
Recreational Lobster Pot License allows the individual to fish 5 recreational lobster pots. All pots must be tagged with tags provided by the department.
Recreational Diver License allows the individual to dive and collect up to 8 lobster per day. Lobsters cannot be harvetsed with any device the penetrates the animal (spears, gaf, gig, or other device).
Licenses are available through the Office of Boat Registration and Licensing under Application Non-Commercial Lobster Pot License and Diver License, or at 235 Promenade Street, 3rd Floor Room 360, Providence RI.

All lobsters must be measured immediately. Any lobster not measuring 3-3/8" carapace length much be returned to the water.

  • Lobsters are measured from the rear eye socket along a line parallel to the center of the body to the rear of the body.

  • Possession of V-Notched and egg bearing lobsters is prohibited. All lobsters must be returned to the water immediately.

Blue Crabs may be harvested by RI residents only, no license is required. Harvest is closed from sunset to sunrise.
Residents may harvest 25 blue crabs of 5" from spike to spike. When fishing a scoop or crab net, trot, or handline residents are not subject to the 25 crab possession limit. The possession of egg bearing females is prohibited.

Horseshoe crabs may be harvested by residents only. A license is required, contract RI Division of Marine Fisheries for more information. A licensed individual may harvest 5 crabs daily at a minimum size of 7 inches prosomal width.

For full lobster and crab regulations click here


RIDMF Recreational Saltwater Fishing Magazine

Contribute to the magazine! To submit fishing pictures or for more information email RISaltwaterGuide@dem.ri.gov

Quick Links
+ Public Meetings/RI Marine Fisheries Council
+ Commercial Fishing/Dealer Resources
+ Recreational Saltwater Fishing
+ Fisheries Science & Research
+ Additional Resources
+ Boating Resources
Contact Marine Fisheries
3 Ft. Wetherill Rd.
Jamestown, RI 02835
Phone: 1-401-423-1923
Fax: 1-401-423-1925
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