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A Guide to Groundfishing and Lobstering on the Same Trip

You may fish for lobster and groundfish on a single trip if:

  1. You do not hold a federal groundfish permit and are fishing for groundfish exclusively in state waters. You may not possess groundfish caught in state waters while hauling your traps in federal waters.
  1. You are fishing under a federal groundfish permit and a federal non-trap lobster permit. No lobster traps may be used. There is a limit of 100 lobsters per 24 hours, and a total limit of 500 lobsters. You may not harvest lobsters from Maine state waters or land lobsters in Maine per state regulations.
  1. You are hauling lobster traps on a declared groundfish trip on a federally permitted groundfish vessel (only federal permit categories A, C, and E), and are only using hook gear to target groundfish. You may not target groundfish with trawl or gillnet gears. You cannot haul traps while fishing under a Handgear A, Handgear B, or Category D hook permit because you can only use/possess hook gear when targeting groundfish, and cannot use electric reels, winches, or haulers under a handgear permit.

If you have a Handgear A, Handgear B, or Category D Hook permit, you may only use and/or possess hook gear onboard while fishing for groundfish.

You may not possess groundfish, including halibut, in federal waters without a federal groundfish permit.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q:   Can I haul traps while fishing for groundfish with a handgear permit?

No. When fishing for groundfish under a federal Handgear A, Handgear B, or Category D hook permit, you are not allowed to haul traps. You may only have handgear onboard the vessel (rod/reel, tub trawl), and cannot use electric reels, winches, or haulers to fish under a handgear permit.

Q:   Do I need to remove my trap hauler from my boat when fishing with my handgear permit?

No. You do not need to remove your trap hauler from your vessel. However, it is illegal to haul lobster gear when fishing for groundfish federal Handgear A, Handgear B, or Category D hook permit.

Q:   Can I fish for halibut and lobster on the same trip?

No, except for the circumstances outlined above.

Q:   What species are considered groundfish under federal regulations? What are the limits?

A vessel must have a federal groundfish permit to harvest the following species from federal waters: halibut, cod, haddock, pollock, redfish, white hake, winter flounder (blackback), witch flounder (gray sole), yellowtail flounder, and American plaice (dabs). All vessels may possess only one halibut per trip. Common pool vessels are subject to limits. While sector vessels are not subject to trip limits for allocated stocks, sectors must have quota for all harvest by sector members. Sector fishermen should discuss their fishing plans with their sector manager.