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Massachusetts Fishing Licenses
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Massachusetts fishing licenses are available for anglers who are 15 years of age or older to fish in state waters. Residents and visitors must buy a fishing license prior to engaging in the sport in a recreational capacity. Refusing to get a fishing license in Massachusetts before attempting to catch from public waters can result in fines being levied against you for violating state law. In certain instances, however, fishermen in Massachusetts do not require a fishing license. Minors 16 years of age and younger and persons with disabilities are not required to obtain a license to fish in the state. Also, passengers that are onboard a for-hire vessel may fish without applying for a fishing license. Furthermore, senior citizens can obtain a Massachusetts fishing permit at no cost to them. Applying for an MA fishing license can be done using several different methods, which are available to both residents and those located out of state. Fishing licenses can be purchased at many convenient retail locations. Authorized license dealers are located in gas stations, grocery stores and sporting goods shops, among other places. Online and telephone orders are accepted by the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs as well. As you familiarize yourself with the licensing exemptions and requirements, you can begin the process of deciding which Massachusetts fishing license is appropriate for you. To learn more about these two different categories of licenses, the various options that are available within them and how you can apply for these credentials in the state of Massachusetts, take a look at the sections you see below. The two main types of fishing licenses administered by the MOEEA are as follows:

  • Saltwater fishing licenses
  • Freshwater fishing licenses

Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Saltwater fishing licenses in Massachusetts are required by law if you would like to take fish from the coastal state waters. Whenever you buy a fishing license, ensure that it is appropriate to the type of fishing you intend to partake in. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs issues saltwater fishing permits to both residents and nonresidents of the state, as long as they meet the age requirement and submit the applicable payment for licensure. When it comes to cost, residents do not receive any kind of discount, although it is customary in other parts of the country. The only group that does receive a discounted rate is seniors, who are required to have a permit to saltwater fish in MA but are not charged for it. Senior licenses are available to both residents and nonresidents. Beyond the senior license and the standard saltwater fishing license in Massachusetts, there is one more saltwater credential: the resident recreational lobster permit.

A separate license to go lobstering is necessary in Massachusetts. The lobster permit is issued to applicants specifically looking to catch lobsters in the state’s coastal waters. Resident and non resident fishing license applicants are eligible to apply for a lobster permit. However, non-residents must meet stringent requirements, such as owning at least $5,000 worth of property and being a part-time resident of a coastal city, to qualify for this license. There are various restrictions on the type of lobster that anglers and divers may take. For example, neither egg-bearing nor v-notch lobsters may be captured.

As for the Massachusetts fishing license application methods available to prospective saltwater anglers, different options are available: Order online at the MassFishHunt portal or by phone when you call: 1-866-703-1925. You also have the option to make your purchase in person by visiting a license agent in your area. These agents can be reached at the following locations:

    • A Division of Marine Fisheries office
    • A Division of Fisheries & Wildlife office
    • A local retail store
    • A city or town clerk office

Massachusetts Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Massachusetts fishing licenses are available not just for saltwater fishing but also for freshwater fishing. However, you must get a separate freshwater license to fish in fresh waters in the state. In order to buy freshwater fishing licenses, you must consider certain criteria. Freshwater fishing permits in Massachusetts vary according to the following factors:

  • Their length of validity (one day, three days or one year)
  • Their residency status (residents, aliens or nonresidents)
  • The age group they are aimed at (seniors, children or adults)

Given these differences, prices also vary from one freshwater credential to the next. After deciding which fishing license is best for you, next learn where to buy freshwater fishing licenses. Massachusetts freshwater licenses can only be purchased in two ways: online through the MassFishHunt portal or in person with a license agent in your area.

Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

Oftentimes you can buy a fishing license through your state’s fishing department website. You will most likely need to create an account on the webpage and have a printer nearby to finalize your transaction. Make sure to also have a valid credit card on hand, as no other form of payment is accepted by state departments online. Take note that, as proof of your residency, you may be required to enter your driver’s license number.
In a general sense, a good number of states offer the following types of fishing licenses: a regular fishing license and a commercial fishing license. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to get a saltwater license to fish, if you are by coastal waters. In addition to these permits, you may be required to buy a fishing stamp, depending on the specific type of fish species you intend to catch.
A regular fishing permit is often valid for the period of a full year. However, you may also have the option to obtain a license to fish that is good for 24 hours or 72 hours, for example. In some instances, a weekly fishing license or a lifetime license may also be available. Lifetime licenses to fish are the most suitable option for those anglers who intend to fish for the duration of their lives. Keep in mind that if you would like to continue fishing after the expiration date of your current licensure, you will be required to get a new permit to fish.
The fees related to a state fishing license may vary, depending on a few factors. But senior residents and military veterans can usually get a fishing license that is free of charge, as long as they can present official documentation that supports their residency or military service. Resident licenses to fish are often more affordable than nonresident licenses. The most costly licenses are for those who would like to get lifetime credentials.
In the event that you have lost your fishing license or it was stolen, the most common way to obtain a duplicate is through your state’s fishing department. You may be required to make an in-person visit to a nearby office or to contact a licensed agent directly. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to order a fishing permit replacement online. But, to be sure, it is important that you double check with your state department first, as you may also need to bring in certain documentation, such as your driver’s license or ID card.
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