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NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office promotes sustainable recreational fisheries by monitoring catch and implementing regulations in Federal waters (3 to 200 miles offshore) from Maine to Virginia.  We encourage all recreational fishermen to share their information and experiences to help us develop and implement successful programs and measures.

What Fish Can I Catch in the Greater Atlantic Region?

Cod, haddock, flounders, bluefish, black sea bass, tuna, and scup are the primary species sought by recreational fishermen in this region. Other species such as Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish are also caught by anglers. While not directly targeted, recreational fishermen also frequently encounter spiny dogfish and northeast skates.  Visit the Rules/Regulations page for the season, minimum size, and possession limit for these species.

Do I Need a Recreational Fishing Permit or License?

Most saltwater anglers age 16 or older need to register through their state recreational fishing license program and should not register through NOAA's national registry. All of the states in the Greater Atlantic Region (Maine through Virginia) have new state fishing license and/or registration requirements that will automatically register you with NOAA's national registry. Visit the Going Fishing page for more details on fishing licenses.

What is NOAA Fisheries' Role in Managing Marine Resources?

NOAA Fisheries promotes healthy marine fisheries and local economies. NOAA Fisheries works with Federal Fishery Management Councils, created under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, to manage fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles and protect their habitat. In the Greater Atlantic Region, NOAA Fisheries works with two councils, the New England and Mid-Atlantic councils. NOAA Fisheries also provides funding to and coordinates with the coastal states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to develop and implement consistent or complimentary regulations in both state and federal waters.

Golden Tilefish MD State Record
(Credit: Steve Doctor, MD, DNR))

Specifically, NOAA Fisheries develops and implements regulations; administers grants; analyzes trade, economic conditions, and related opportunities and impacts associated with fishery management activities.  NOAA Fisheries also coordinates state/Federal cooperative activities; provides advice and recommendations to other Federal permitting agencies on marine conservation and management issues; and conducts outreach efforts to commercial and recreational fisheries community and other members of the public to explain proposed measures and gather information and feedback about the direction of its programs.

The Greater Atlantic Region Coordinator for recreational fisheries issues is Paul Perra (

How do Recreational Fisheries Benefit the Economy?

Bluefish (Credit: MDMF)

Marine recreational fishing is a popular pastime across the United States that generates significant economic impacts to both local economies and to the nation.

Economic Reports

The Economics of the Recreational For-hire Fishing Industry in the Northeast United States for 2013

Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2012 (full report here)

Fisheries of the United States, 2012 Report (U.S. Marine Fisheries Recreational and Commercial Landings)

The Economic Contribution of Marine Angler Expenditures in the United States, 2011

Beyond the Economics