Cost of Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License: Explained

Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License Costs – A Detailed Guide

Cost of Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License: Explained

What is a Commercial Fishing License?

A commercial fishing license is a legal document that grants the holder the right to catch and sell fish and other marine resources for profit. This license is essential for anyone who wishes to engage in commercial fishing activities, whether it’s catching finfish, shellfish, lobsters, edible crabs, or other living marine resources.

Why Do You Need a Commercial Fishing License in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, commercial fishing is a significant industry. To regulate this industry and protect marine resources, the state requires anyone who lands and sells these resources to hold a valid commercial fishing license. This license ensures that fishing activities are carried out sustainably and in accordance with state regulations.

Types of Commercial Fishing Licenses in Massachusetts

Resident Sport Fishing License

This license is for Massachusetts residents who engage in recreational fishing. While it doesn’t permit commercial fishing, it’s a common license type that many anglers in the state hold. For more information on recreational fishing licenses, check out our comprehensive guide.

Non-Resident Sport Fishing License

Non-residents who wish to fish in Massachusetts for recreational purposes need this license. It’s similar to the resident sport fishing license but is designed for those who don’t reside in the state. For more details on non-resident fishing licenses, visit our detailed page.

Ocean Enhancement Stamp

This stamp is an additional requirement for those who fish in ocean waters. It’s designed to fund projects that enhance marine habitats and improve fishing opportunities.

Second-Rod Validation

This validation allows anglers to use a second rod while fishing. It’s an optional add-on to the standard fishing license.

Lifetime Fishing Licenses

Lifetime fishing licenses are available for those who want to make a long-term investment in their fishing activities. These licenses are valid for the lifetime of the holder. For more on lifetime fishing licenses, see our informative article.

Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing License

This license type is available for low-income residents, seniors, and disabled individuals. It offers the same privileges as a standard fishing license but at a reduced cost.

How to Apply for a Commercial Fishing License in Massachusetts

Step-by-Step Guide

Applying for a commercial fishing license in Massachusetts involves several steps. First, you’ll need to download the application form from the official state website. Once you’ve filled out the form, you can mail it in or process it at an office. For a detailed guide on how to apply, visit our comprehensive page.

What You Need to Know Before Applying

Before applying, it’s crucial to understand the requirements and regulations associated with commercial fishing in Massachusetts. This includes knowing the types of fish you’re allowed to catch, the fishing seasons, and the size and catch limits.

Cost of Commercial Fishing Licenses in Massachusetts

Fee Structure for Different Licenses

The cost of a commercial fishing license in Massachusetts varies depending on the type of license. For example, a resident sport fishing license has a different fee than a non-resident sport fishing license or a commercial fishing license.

Additional Costs to Consider

In addition to the license fee, there may be other costs associated with commercial fishing. These can include equipment costs, boat maintenance, fuel, and insurance.

Tips to Save Money on Your Commercial Fishing Licenses

Buying Multi-Year Licenses

Purchasing a multi-year license can save you money in the long run. Instead of renewing your license annually, consider investing in a multi-year or lifetime license.

Taking Advantage of Free Fishing Days

Massachusetts offers free fishing days where anyone can fish without a license. Keep an eye on the official state website for these dates.

Applying for Special Permits

Certain groups, such as veterans, disabled individuals, and senior citizens, may be eligible for special fishing permits. These permits often come with discounts, making them a cost-effective option.

Considering a Reduced-Fee License

If you’re a low-income resident, you may qualify for a reduced-fee sport fishing license. This license offers the same privileges as a standard license but at a lower cost.

Online Discounts

Some online platforms offer discounts on fishing licenses. Before purchasing your license, explore these platforms to see if you can save some money.

General Regulations for Commercial Fishing in Massachusetts

Important Rules to Follow

When fishing in Massachusetts, it’s crucial to follow all state regulations. This includes carrying your fishing license with you at all times, adhering to fishing seasons, and respecting size and catch limits.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with fishing regulations can result in penalties, including fines and license suspension. To avoid these penalties, make sure you understand and follow all rules.


Commercial fishing in Massachusetts is a regulated industry, and anyone wishing to participate must hold a valid license. There are several types of licenses available, each with its own cost and requirements. By understanding these licenses and the associated regulations, you can ensure a successful and legal fishing operation.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in commercial fishing in Massachusetts, the next step is to apply for a license. Visit our comprehensive guide to learn more about the application process and start your journey today.

Remember, fishing is not just about making a profit; it’s also about respecting and preserving our marine resources. So, let’s fish responsibly and sustainably. Happy fishing!


How much does a Massachusetts commercial fishing license cost?

The cost of a Massachusetts commercial fishing license varies depending on the type of license and the size of the vessel. As of 2021, the basic limited commercial license costs $200. However, additional permits and endorsements may be required, such as a lobster permit or a scallop permit, which can add to the overall cost.

Are there any discounts available for Massachusetts commercial fishing licenses?
Yes, there are a few discounts available for Massachusetts commercial fishing licenses. For example, veterans and active military personnel may be eligible for a 50% discount on license fees. Additionally, fishermen who are 70 years or older may be eligible for a discount on their license fees.

How often do I need to Renew my Massachusetts commercial fishing license?
Massachusetts commercial fishing licenses are typically valid for one year from the date of issue. Fishermen will need to Renew their license annually in order to continue fishing legally in state waters. It’s important to note that some permits and endorsements may have different renewal periods, so fishermen should check their specific licenses carefully for renewal information.

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