🦞 Lobstering in Massachusetts: Season, Licensing & Laws

The Massachusetts coast offers a great opportunity to hunt for lobsters. You can either use your pots or directly dive into the water to enjoy it a little more. However, the first step to lobster catching for leisure purposes is to have enough knowledge about its rules and regulations. This article is here to save you a lot of time in that case. So keep on reading if you wish to become aware of the legal way to enjoy your recreational lobstering along the Massachusetts coast.

What is the legally accepted size of the lobsters in this state?

The size of the lobster is one of the most important factors that need to be checked while catching them. You must know that there are a set of limits applied on the lobster sizes that are considered to be legal. Anything above or below these limits is considered as illegal and can get you in trouble. First things first, let us mention that there are different limits on different recreational lobstering areas. The lobsters should be:

  • At least 3 ¼ inches and at most 5 inches in the Gulf of Marine Recreational lobster Area
  • At least 3 3/8 inches in the Outer Cape Cod Recreational lobster Area
  • At least 3 3/8 inches and at most 5 ¼ inches in the Southern New England Recreational lobster area.

Apart from the sizing limitations, there is also a rule that you must keep in mind. It states that you are not legally allowed to keep a V-notched female lobster. You can identify them by a dent in the base of their flipper, which would be at least 1/8 inches.

How many lobsters can you legally catch and keep in Massachusetts?

In order to keep the species secure and the breeding process to continue efficiently, a restriction is put on the number of lobsters that one can catch in a day. These restrictions are known as bag limits and are assigned on a per-day basis. Just like the size limit, the bag limit has also been specified for each recreational lobster area; however, this time, it is the same for them all.

You are allowed to catch 15 lobsters per day and you must religiously follow this bag limit because otherwise, you can face serious consequences by the law.

Lobster Season in Massachusetts

It is important to know which times of the year you can get the best quality and quantity of lobsters without endangering their species. Lobster seasons are set for this purpose. These are different from their breeding seasons. Generally, you can go with your family to enjoy a fun lobstering trip in the months of June to December, when the lobsters are most active. In Massachusetts, the prime time for this activity falls in between the mid of May and the mid of November. However, you can still harvest in the spring and winter seasons, but in a smaller quantity.

Prime locations for catching lobsters in Massachusetts

Being a beginner at lobstering, you must be aware of all the areas that you can visit to enjoy your leisure time. Such areas help you find the best quality of lobsters out there. There are three areas specifically assigned for recreational lobstering in Massachusetts. These are the following:

  • Gulf of Maine Recreational Lobster Area
  • Outer Cape Cod Recreational Lobster Area
  • Southern New England Recreational Lobster Area

Lobster Trap/Pot Limitations

The proper fishing methods for lobsters include the usage of the right type of lobster traps or pots. These are special traps that must include escape vents. Escape vents are a means for the smaller lobsters or other non-targeted species to escape the trap if by chance they were caught in it. There are certain requirements that must be fulfilled in this case. These requirements include the correct escape vent size and the designated limit of traps. The trap limit is set to be 10 traps per day for every lobster catching area.

Like the other limitations or requirements, the vent sizes are also specified area-wise and vary accordingly.

  • For the Gulf of Maine area, there must be one rectangular vent with the dimensions of 1 15/16 inches x 5 ¾ inches. Or you can have two vents of 2 7/16 inches in diameter each.
  • For the Outer Cape Cod area, there must be one rectangular vent with the dimensions of 2 inches × 5 3/4 inches. Or you can alternatively have two circular vents of 2 5/8 inches diameter each.
  • For the Southern New England area, there must be one rectangular vent with the dimensions of 2 inches × 5 3/4 inches. Or you can have two circular vents of 2 5/8 inches in diameter each.


In conclusion, given the popularity of recreational lobstering, it is highly significant that you are aware of its basic rules, regulations, seasons, etc. We have tried to answer a lot of your queries in this article that we thought you might have regarding this activity. Lobstering can be a tricky but fun venture, and by no means should you miss out on its amazing aspects. So we would recommend that you always do your research before trying something new so that nothing can come in between your leisure time. We hope that this article was informative and helpful. So don’t wait any longer. Get your family and grab your tools for one of the greatest trips of your life.