By Jen Davis and Ryan Diamond
Cape Cod sports some of the finest fishing
in the country. North Atlantic fishing
includes stripers (bass), blues, tuna and its
namesake, cod fish.
Cape Cod also offers great fresh water
fishing, especially small mouth bass. You
Chatham Fishery MUST have a license to fish on the Cape.
In addition, ice fishing is also popular in the
Wellfleet Town Marina
Cape Cod Fishing Facts
Bass Fishing: Fish under 73 inches long may be kept by the charter
Best time of year – June through Sept. customer, but they CANNOT be sold.
Bass range from 20 to 45 pounds with an occasional 50 -
60 pounder. Cod Fishing:
Best time of year – March through October.
Bluefish Fishing: Largest Cod caught on a Big Fish Charter - 79 lbs.
Best time of year – June through Sept. The average catch for the past 20 years for 6 people has
Bluefish range from 5 to 20 pounds. been between 500 lbs. and 1,000 lbs. of Cod, Pollock,
Haddock, Halibut, Wolffish and Monkfish.
Blue fin Tuna Fishing:
Best time of year – July through October Shark Fishing:
Largest Blue fin Tuna caught on record – 1228 lbs. caught Best time of year – late July through Oct.
in the Boston, Mass. area. Blue Sharks are the predominant species in our area in
Fish average 750 - 900 pounds with many over 1000 Massachusetts, near Boston and Plymouth. Mako’s
pounds and some over 1100 pounds. Porbeagle and Threshers also frequent in Cape Cod waters
If you’re charter fishing, fish over 73 inches long belong to and are excellent to eat.
the boat you charter with. However, with Big Fish II, 1/3 of Sharks range from 100 to over 1,300 pounds, but most
the money from the sale of the fish is returned to you. range from 100 to 350 pounds.
Commercial Permit Types:
• Coastal Lobster Permit allows the taking, landing and sale of
lobsters (to a licensed dealer) harvested from within the coastal waters
of the Commonwealth. There is a maximum of 800 lobster pots per
vessel that may be set in state waters. The permit may be endorsed to
take and sell shellfish and finfish at no additional cost. In the case of
skin or scuba divers, only the licensee is covered.
• Offshore Lobster Permit allows the landing and sale of
lobsters (to a licensed dealer) taken outside of the coastal waters of
the commonwealth only; pursuant to a federal lobster permit. The
permit may be endorsed to take and sell shellfish and finfish at no
• Seasonal Lobster Permit is issued to full-time students only
(verification required), and allows the licensee only to take and sell
lobsters (to a licensed dealer) from June 15 - Sept. 15. A maximum of
25 pots may be used. Diving is not permitted, sale of fish and/or
shellfish in not permitted.
• Boat Permits allows the taking, landing and sale of fish (to a
licensed dealer) and may be endorsed for shellfish. The permit covers
everyone aboard the vessel. Price varies with vessel size. No lobsters
may be taken.
• Individual Permit allows the holder only to take, land and sell
fish (to a licensed dealer) and may be endorsed for shellfish. No
lobster may be taken.
• Shellfish Permit allows an individual to take, land and sell (to a
licensed dealer) shellfish and seaworms. A shellfish ID card, from the
Division, and town permit are also required.
• Rod & Reel Permit allows the holder only, to catch and sell
finfish (to a licensed dealer) caught by Rod & Reel only. No other gear
types may be used.
Most Common Fish on Cape Cod:
-Cod Cod, Cape Cod’s namesake, is Cape Cod’s
-Striped Bass most common finfish.
-Bluefish The most prized catches, however, are
-Blue Fin Tuna
-Mako Shark the striped bass and the bluefish.
COMMERCIAL FINFISH REGULATIONS (AS OF MAY 2009)
Species Fishery Season Size Limit Possession
Cod (3) North of Jan 1st – Dec 31st 22 in. 800lb
South of Jan 1st – Dec 31st 22 in. 1,000lb
Programs, Projects, and
Sea Herring and Ecosystem Restoration Projects
Herring are the cornerstone of the New England ocean food web. Herring are a vital resource for everything from larger marine
predators like cod and striped bass to long liners and tuna fishermen who need it for bait. Excessive fishing caused a huge
decline in Herring population. In 2007 the CCCHFA initiated the Ecosystem Restoration Program with the goal of restoring and
maintaining Herring habitats in freshwater systems, estuaries, and the ocean. Since the initiation of this program, there has been
an increase in Herring numbers. This is extremely important to the environment because Herring play a pivotal part in the
food web. Without Herring, fishermen would see a large decrease in many fish populations which would result in job losses, and
fish prices increasing.
Ground fish Sectors and Monitoring
Local fishermen prefer sectors to outdated days-at-sea and daily trip limits These measures which failed to rebuild fish
populations, caused economic harm and created wasteful by catch. This is unnecessary hunting of fish which may severely
devastate a population. In sectors, fishermen have vested interests in rebuilding fish stocks, because of resulting profits and
assurances of their ongoing stake in the fishery. CCCFHA has focused on ground fish sectors in the past but today smaller
organizations are working to rebuild habitats in order to maintain skate, monkfish and scallop populations.
The Nantucket Soundkeeper is a newly created program which works to protect communities, ecosystems and water quality.
The Nantucket Soundkeeper program will link fishermen’s interests in water quality and habitat protection to protection of marine
resources. Water quality was once ignored by commercial fishermen until they realized that the quality of water greatly impacts
fish population. Today, commercial fishermen are much more concerned with the quality of the water then ever before. Although
their reasons of concern may be faulty, there efforts have still benefited the environment.
OYSTER OPERATION - BREWSTER
The Brewster Oyster is a sea farm raised American
oyster that is grown from a small seed oyster, 3-5 mm
(1/8-1/4 inch), to a robust 76+ mm (3+ inches). The seed
oysters are obtained from state approved hatcheries and
grown to market size under carefully monitored
aquaculture methods in the pristine waters of Cape Cod
Bay in Brewster, Massachusetts. Aquaculture methods
presently in use provide secure sites for oysters to grow.
Contained in cages firmly anchored against wind, wave
and current, the oysters are protected from predators
while being bathed in Cape Cod Bay. It takes about three
years of continuous effort, sorting, sizing and transplanting
to produce an oyster for market.
While visiting Brewster, we heard about a new project
proposal called the “oyster operation,” which will ideally
operate with two employees and one volunteer who will be
readily available for harvesting oysters for with and for the
public each Sunday. Organizers hope to gain funds for the
operation with federal grants.