Know your fishing regs
As the season begins in earnest, it's time to brush up on your marine fisheries minimum sizes and possession limits. Here are the 2011 limits from the state Department of Environmental Management — be aware that sizes are measured from tip of snout to tip of tail.
Species, Minimum size, Season, Possession Limit
American eel 6" No closed season 50 fish/person/day
American plaice (dab) 14" No closed season No limit
Black sea bass 13" July 11 - Dec 31 12 fish/person/day
Bluefish No minimum size No closed season 15 fish/person/day
Cod 22" No closed season 10 fish/person/day
Summer flounder (fluke) 18.5" May 1 - December 31 7 fish/person/day
Monkfish (Goosefish) 17" whole 11" tail No closed season 50 lbs tails/day
Haddock 19" No closed season No limit
Pollock 19" No closed season No limit
Scup (Shore and Private) 10.5" May 24 - September 26 10 fish/person/day
Scup (Party and Charter) 11" June 8 - September 6 10 fish/person/day
September 7 - October 11 40 fish/person/day
Striped bass 28" No closed season 2 fish/person/day
Tautog 16" April 15-May 31 3 fish/person/day
June 1-July 31 CLOSED
Aug 1-Oct. 14 3 fish/person/day
Oct. 15-Dec. 15 6 fish/person/day
Max of 10 fish/vessel during all periods
Tautog (Party and Charter) 16" Apr 15 - May 31 3 fish/person/day
June 1 - July 31 CLOSED
Aug 1 - Oct 14 3 fish/person/day
Oct 15 - Dec 15 6 fish/person/day
Weakfish (Squeteague) 16" No closed season 1 fish/person/day
Winter flounder (blackback) 12" April 23 - May 22 Sept. 24 - Oct. 23 2 fish/person/day
The harvesting or possession of winter flounder is PROHIBITED in Point Judith Pond, The Harbor of Refuge and Narragansett Bay north of the lines from So. Ferry Rd. in Narragansett to Ft. Getty; Ft. Wetherill to Ft. Adams; and Sandy Pt. to High Hill Pt.
Witch flounder (gray sole) 14" No closed season No limit
Yellowtail flounder 13" No closed season No limit
Lobster, blue crab and horseshoe crab
The possession of egg-bearing lobsters and blue crabs is prohibited.
Lobsters: 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: Harvesting by residents only, by crab net, dip net, scoop net, handline and trot line 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 months of May, June, and July 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 Marine 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 from Scott Olszewski at the Division of Fish and Wildlife.