DEEP: 2017 Commercial Fishery Possession Limits

2017 Commercial Fishery Possession Limits
November 28, 2017


Effective 0001 hours Friday, December 1, 2017, the summer flounder commercial fishery possession limit will be increased to 200 pounds. The State of Maine generously transferred most (2,500 lbs.) of their unused quota to Connecticut. The department calculates that a 200 pound possession limit will ensure Connecticut’s augmented quota balance will be fully utilized by the end of the year. If necessary, the summer flounder fishery will close when 100% of the quota is utilized. 


Quota meeting: A meeting of seafood dealers and commercial fishermen that harvest quota-managed species has been scheduled for 2 pm, Monday, December 4, 2017 at DEEP Marine Headquarters, Boating Education Center (rear building). The purpose of this meeting is to receive input on strategies to manage 2018 commercial quotas, to share access equitably among endorsement holders by season, optimize economic returns, and to prevent fishery closures that could lead to higher discards of fish.

American lobster: The lobster fishery reopens November 29. The minimum legal carapace length is 3-3/8 inches.

American eel: No possession limit. Minimum length is 9 inches.

Atlantic menhaden: 6,000 pound possession limit all year.

Black sea bass: 50 pound possession limit effective July 9. The Department adjusts limits periodically to maintain a steady monthly landings rate, to prevent in-season closure, and land 100% of the annual quota. As of November 27th, 2017, 92.7% of the quota has been landed. A black sea bass license endorsement is required to land sea bass, including from lobster pots.

Bluefish: 1,500 pounds.

Jonah crab: In the commercial fishery no Jonah crab less than 4.75 inches carapace width may be possessed or sold. Possession of egg bearing Jonah crabs or crabs from which the eggs have been removed is prohibited. Jonah crabs must also be landed whole. Landing claws only is prohibited. Possession of more than two loose claws per body is prohibited. The possession limit in non-trap fisheries is 1,000 crabs. There is no possession limit in the lobster pot fishery. (Connecticut licensing statutes do not allow crabs to be taken by pots other than lobster pots.) In the recreational fishery, there is a 50 crab daily possession limit and possession of egg bearing crabs or crabs from which the eggs have been removed is prohibited. There is no minimum size limit in the recreational fishery.

Scup: On November 1, 2017, the scup fishery changed to the coastwide Winter II period with an 18,000 pound possession limit. As of November 18, 2017, 18% of the Winter II period quota has been landed.

Smooth dogfish: Closed. 100% of the quota allocated to CT for 2017 has been harvested.

Spiny dogfish: 6,000 pound possession limit effective Jan 1. Spiny dogfish are managed under a regional annual quota. The fishery will close when 100% of the regional quota has been harvested. As of October 14, 2017, 44% of the regional quota has been landed.

Tautog: 10 fish when fishing under a Limited Access (moratorium) License, and 4 fish when fishing under the new Restricted Commercial Fishing License. Open seasons are the months of April, July, August, and between Oct 8 and Dec 24. The commercial minimum length is 16 inches.

Weakfish: 100 pounds all year. The commercial minimum length is 16 inches.

Winter flounder: 50 pounds or 38 fish unless the fish were taken in federal waters under a federal groundfish permit.

All of the possession limits listed above apply to the aggregate of all persons on board the vessel per trip or per day whichever is the longer period of time. Transfer of these species between vessels at sea is prohibited. In any instance where there is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more than one person when the catch is commingled, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner of the vessel, or the operator of the vessel, if the owner is not on board. When any person on a vessel is commercial fishing, the commercial possession limit applies to the entire vessel and no person on that vessel may also possess fish under a recreational creel limit.

For current commercial fishery trip limits and quota status:
Call 860-434-6374 24/7 for a recorded message of current possession limits, or visit:

Please refer to the Quick Guide to 2016 Connecticut Commercial Fishing Licenses for more information concerning changes to commercial fishery licensing effective January 1, 2016 including changes to requirements for license renewal and new opportunities. 

The Department monitors landings and adjusts trip limits according to Department regulations in an attempt to provide fishing opportunity throughout the year for all participants in the commercial fishery. In addition, the Department strives to provide advance notification of trip limit changes, although this may not always be possible due to rapidly escalating or unanticipated landings. In such circumstances, only a short notification period may be possible.

The information provided in this notice is a summary of possession limits and other general rules only. For complete information on commercial fishing regulations please see:, or contact the DEEP Marine Fisheries Division by email at, by mail at PO Box 719, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or by telephone at 860.434.6043 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to complying with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please contact us at (860) 418-5910 or if you: have a disability and need a communication aid or service; have limited proficiency in English and may need information in another language; or if you wish to file an ADA or Title VI discrimination complaint.