Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area
The Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area (CSPA) encompasses both state and federal waters, situated south of the Isles of Shoals. During the spawning months of April, May, and June, this area is entirely closed to fishing activities and the take and possession of groundfish. However, there are some exceptions outlined below:
In State Waters (area depicted with red lines):
Cod Catch: All cod captured in New Hampshire waters must be promptly released.
- Fishing with either line or rod in hand is allowed, provided the gear contains no more than 1 ounce of artificial weight or a single artificial lure weighing one ounce or less.
- Note: In the federal waters portion of the CSPA, the use of any weights or weighted lures is prohibited.
Commercial Vessels: Commercial vessels using gear described in 50 CFR 648.2 are permitted to operate within the area.
Recreational or Charter/Party Vessels:
- Vessels transiting the area with groundfish caught outside the CSPA must ensure all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods or handlines, and any groundfish species on board must have been gutted.
Transiting Commercial Vessels:
- Commercial vessels passing through the area with groundfish caught outside the CSPA must have their gear stowed as per the provisions of 50 CFR 648.23.
Additional Federal Regulations:
Additional federal rules may apply within the federal waters of the Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area. For further information, contact NOAA Fisheries at (978) 281-9315.