Located in Hyannis, MA behind the Cape Cod Mall, next to the Getty Gas Station,
on Route 28.
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Newest Laws and Regulations! No changes for 2010!
First, I'd just like to say that it's best to hear all of the "LAWS" from the actual Department of Marine Fisheries' personnel. However, ALL of the information regarding the laws are not posted at the same place on their website, or even sent out to the license holder. So, without further ado...
I'd like to dispel some rumors about Lobster Diving on Cape Cod. I have spoken with "Enforcement Officers" and Officials in Boston at the Department of Marine Fisheries. These laws are not clearly written and are widely misinterpreted. Most of us do not have an absolutely clear understanding as to what the EXACT Laws are, so.... Here Goes!
The normal lobster license that you pay $40 per year for the permanent resident license and $60 per year for the out-of-state license (you must own property in Mass), will allow the diver to collect lobsters from January 1st to December 31st in Massachusetts waters. Providing all of the other rules are followed...
1) Within 30 +/- minutes of sunset and sunrise - NOT at Night
2) NO Females with eggs or "V" notches (V-notch rules differ depending on area lobsters are collected - check the DMF website)
3) NOT in lobster traps
- DON'T even get near a trap of any kind EVER!
4) Use only your hands or a New England approved Lobster "Tickler" - no loops!
5) Have your Lobstering numbers on your tank, flag, and white placard 12"x12"
6) Carapace Length must be within 3 1/4" and 5" WHEN IN AREA 1
7A) Carapace Length must be greater than 3 3/8" WHEN OUTSIDE AREA 1
7B) Carapace Length must be within 3 3/8" and 5 1/4" WHEN IN Southern New England Area (NEW!) This is the newest addition to the Laws******!!!!!
8) Gauge the lobsters on the ocean bottom, not on the boat!
9) Bag Limit of 15 per day, per license holder (as of July 2, 2004)
10) There is NO "boat license" that out-of-stater's or non-licensed divers can be carried on for them to get a lobster in Massachusetts.
NOW, the biggest problem with the laws are when the diver wants to take the BIG BUGS from the areas outside Area 1 (P-Town and Chatham are the two main areas) and then return to the docks that are not in Area 1. Well, the best thing I can tell you is that you better know the Enforcement Agent at the dock and/or make sure you can prove that you went to that area to get the big bugs (show the track of the GPS is a great way).
***NEW! As of JULY 2, 2004****
Here is the latest information from the DMF, MA.
If your interpretation of this NEW law is the same as mine - This reads that there is a minimum carapace length of 3 3/8" and no maximum outside of area 1, but there is a NEW maximum size in the Southern New England Area (5 1/4"). SO, have this copy with you, along with your license, follow ALL of the other rules, and you shouldn't have any problems in that area (I guess?).?/%&@.
So far we have not had any problems with ANY agent and no diver that I know has gotten a ticket for a "too big" lobster when they were within the rules.
Of course this is the most frustrating thing to have happen: You are on Sandwich Beach diving with your buddies, you see a 12 pounder and work for 10 minutes puling it out, it has no eggs, BUT it's way over the limit! AAAHHH !
Here is the even "weirder" thing! The enforcement agents are left to interperet the laws along with those of us who are just citizens. SO, I'd advise you to follow ALL of the other rules set forth by the Department of Marine Fisheries, the Coast Guard, Department of Natural Resources, Harbormaster, Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, Mother Nature, Blaine's School of Hair Care, etc.
Follow all of the other rules and you shouldn't have anything to worry about. We've had some of the staff inspected on their boats and the enforcement agents found nothing wrong, when they really should have found something! It may be a good idea to call your local agent (the one who'd write you a ticket) and check what "they" say is the law! Don't completely trust me, call the DMF, get onto their e-mail list, and good luck!
Here are the sites that may help you...
"Mass Outdoors" website is the place to renew on-line!
http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dmf/ this one is for the main department.
http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dmf/commercialfishing/nc-lobster_app.pdf this one is for the written application
On these sites you will find the Diver's Abstracts, Shellfish Laws, Spearfishing Laws, Lobster Laws, etc.