2016 New Jersey & Federal Recreational Saltwater Angling Regulations

Species

Reg Type

Season

Minimum Size

Possession Limit
(per angler)

Bass, Striped
New Regs for 2016!

NJ State

No closed season
(coastal Atlantic waters 0-3 miles)

Open March 1 through December 31
(all other marine waters)

Open March 1 through March 31 &
June 1 through December 31
(Delaware River & tributaries;
Calhoun Street Bridge, Trenton to Salem River & tributaries)

28 inches
to less than 43 inches

AND

43 inches or greater

1 fish


AND

1 fish

Federal

No open season - Closed all year

None

0 fish - Prohibited

Bluefish

NJ State

No closed season

No size limit

15 fish

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

15 fish

Cod

NJ State

No closed season

21 inches

No limit

Federal

No closed season

22 inches

10 fish

Clam, Hard

NJ State

No closed season
No harvest on Sundays
License required

1.5 inches

150 clams

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

10 fish

Drum, Black

NJ State

No closed season

16 inches

3 fish

Drum, Red

NJ State

No closed season

18 - 27 inches

1 fish

Crab, Blue

NJ State

No closed season
(hand line, box net, dip net)

Hard - 4.5 inches
Soft - 3.5 inches
Peeler - 3 inches

1 bushel

Crab, Jonah
New Regs for 2016!

NJ State

No closed season

4.75 inches carapice width

50

Eel, American

NJ State

No closed season

9 inches

25 fish

Flounder, Summer (Fluke)
New Regs for 2016!

NJ State

NJ State Waters
Open May 21 through September 25

Delaware Bay
Open May 21 through September 25

Island Beach State Park Surf
Open May 21 through September 25

18 inches


17 inches


16 inches

5 fish


4 fish


2 fis
h

Flounder, Winter (Blackback)

NJ State

Open March 1 through December 31

12 inches

2 fish

Federal

No closed season

12 inches

No limit

Haddock

NJ State

No closed season

21 inches

No limit

Federal

No closed season

18 inches

No limit

Hake, Red (Ling)

NJ State

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Hake, Silver (Whiting)

NJ State

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Hake, White

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Halibut, Atlantic

Federal

No closed season

41 inches

1 fish per vessel per trip

Herring, Atlantic

NJ State

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Herring, River
(Alewife, Blueback)

NJ State

No open season - Closed all year

None

0 fish - Prohibited

Lobster

NJ State

Open January 1 through April 29
Open June 1 through December 31

Carapace length
3 3/8 to 5 1/4 inches

6 lobsters

Mackerel, Boston

NJ State

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Mackerel, King

NJ State

No closed season

23 inches

3 fish

Marlin, Blue

Federal

No closed season

99 inches LJFL*

No limit

Marlin, White

Federal

No closed season

66 inches LJFL*

No limit

Pollock

NJ State

No closed season

19 inches

No limit

Federal

No closed season

19 inches

No limit

Sailfish

Federal

No closed season

63 inches LJFL*

No limit

Scup (Porgy)

NJ State

Open January 1 through February 28
Closed March 1 through June 30
Open July 1 through December 31

9 inches

50 fish

Federal

No closed season

9 inches

50 fish

Sea Bass, Black
New Regs for 2016!

NJ State

Open May 23 through June 19

Open July 1 through August 31

Open October 22 through December 31

12 1/2 inches

12 1/2 inches

13 inches

10 fish

2 fish

15 fish

Federal

Open May 15 through September 21

Open October 22 through December 31

12 1/2 inches

15 fish

Shad, American

NJ State

Delaware Bay, Delaware River & tributaries only
Closed in all other marine and fresh waters

No size limit
 

3 fish
 

Shad, Gizzard & Hickory

NJ State

No closed season

No size limit

6 fish

Shark ***

NJ State

Aggregate Large Coastal group
January 1 through May 14 and
July 16 through December 31

54 inches fork length

1 allowable fish plus one Atlantic Sharpnose and one Bonnethead per angler

Hammerhead group
January 1 through May 14 and
July 16 through December 31

78 inches fork length

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal
& Blacknose groups
No closed season

No size limit

Pelagic group
No closed season

54 inches fork length

Federal

Aggregate Large Coastal group
No closed season

54 inches fork length

1 allowable fish plus one Atlantic Sharpnose and one Bonnethead per angler

Hammerhead group
No closed season

78 inches fork length

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal & Blacknose groups
No closed season

No size limit

Pelagic group
No closed season

54 inches fork length

Swordfish

Federal

No closed season

47 inches LJFL *

1 fish per angler
4 fish max for private boat
6 fish max for charter boat
15 fish max for headboat

Tautog (Blackfish)

NJ State

Open January 1 through February 28

Open April 1 through April 30

Open July 17 through November 15

Open November 16 through December 31

15 inches

4 fish

4 fish

1 fish

6 fish

Tilefish, Blueline

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

7 fish

Tilefish, Golden

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

8 fish

Tuna, Albacore (Longfin)

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Tuna, Bigeye

Federal

No closed season

27 inches CFL **

No limit

Tuna, Bluefin

Federal

Open all year, but subject to change

27 inches to less than
47 inches CFL **

47 inches to less than
73 inches CFL **

2 fish per boat per trip


1 fish per boat per trip

Tuna, Skipjack

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

No limit

Tuna, Yellowfin

Federal

No closed season

27 inches CFL **

3 fish

Wahoo

Federal

No closed season

No size limit

2 fish

Weakfish

NJ State

No closed season

13 inches

1 fish

NJ state marine waters are from the shoreline out to three (3) nautical miles from shore

Federal marine waters are from three (3) nautical miles out to two hundred (200) nautical miles from shore

* LJFL (Lower Jaw Fork Length) is the linear length measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail
   Also note that billfish must have head, fins and tail intact

** CFL (Curved Fork Length) is the measurement, taken in a line, tracing the contour of the body from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail

Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit required

Delaware Bay Summer Flounder applies to Delaware Bay and tributaries, west of COLREGS line delineating Delaware Bay from Atlantic Ocean but does not include waters of Cape May Canal east of Cape May Ferry Terminal.   Transport of Summer Flounder caught in Delaware Bay, greater than or equal to 17 inches but less than 18 inches, may occur in waters east of Cape May Ferry Terminal to George Redding Bridge (Rt. 47) located at entrance of Wildwood provided all fishing gear aboard the vessel is stowed with rigs removed; vessel may not stop to fish for any species.

*** ALLOWABLE SHARK SPECIES – Shark species that anglers are allowed to keep are grouped into five categories: Aggregate Large Coastal group, Hammerhead group, Non-Blacknose Small Coastal group, Blacknose group and Pelagic group.   (Does not include Spiny Dogfish or Smooth Dogfish)

Aggregate Large Coastal sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Blacktip, Bull, Lemon, Nurse, Tiger and Spinner

Hammerhead sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Scalloped Hammerhead, Smooth Hammerhead and Great Hammerhead

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Atlantic Sharpnose, Bonnethead and Finetooth

Blacknose sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include the Blacknose

Pelagic sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Blue, Oceanic Whitetip, Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Common Thresher

PROHIBITED SHARK SPECIES - Shark species that are prohibited from possession (MUST be released) in New Jersey and Federal waters include Atlantic Angel, Basking, Bigeye Sand Tiger, Bigeye Sixgill, Bigeye Thresher, Bignose, Caribbean Reef, Caribbean Sharpnose, Dusky, Galapagos, Longfin Mako, Narrowtooth, Night, Sandbar, Sand Tiger, Sevengill, Silky, Sixgill, Smalltail, Whale and White sharks

It is illegal to take, possess or land any prohibited shark species, Atlantic Sturgeon and Shortnose Sturgeon in New Jersey marine waters

Cleaning or filleting of fish with a minimum size limit while at sea is prohibited.


    New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP)

    NOAA FISHERIES – FEDERAL RECREATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS FOR THE GREATER ATLANTIC REGION
    Updated May 1, 2016 – These Federal regulations are for Federal Waters Only (which is generally 3-200 nautical miles off shore from Maine to North Carolina) except for Bluefin Tuna and Shortnose Sturgeon which have Federal regulations that apply in both State and Federal waters.

    Recreational anglers or divers, once entering with and/or landing their catch in state waters, must also abide by state regulations.   Also, party and charter boats holding Federal permits need to abide by stricter Federal regulations even when fishing in state waters.   See the Federal New England and Mid-Atlantic recreational compliance guides for more information.



    New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP)

    NEW JERSEY SALTWATER RECREATIONAL REGISTRY PROGRAM - New Jersey's FREE saltwater fishing registry replaces the fee-based federal registry that state anglers were required to participate in.   The New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP) exempts saltwater recreational anglers fishing in New Jersey's marine and tidal waters from the federal registry and a $15 federal registration fee.

    Anglers with a valid registration with the National Saltwater Angler Registry or that have a valid license from another exempted state are still required to register with the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program.   Registration with NJ exempts you from having to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry.   Registration is quick, simple and free, and is required for anglers age 16 or older.   Individual registration is not required if you only fish on charter or headboats.


    NATIONAL SALTWATER ANGLER REGISTRY - NOAA Fisheries MARINE RECREATIONAL INFORMATION PROGRAM or MRIP, is a tool that will help NOAA and anglers work together to help ensure the long-term sustainability of America's recreational fisheries and the health of our oceans.   This is the mandatory federal registry for saltwater anglers if you live in a state that does not require a state saltwater fishing license or have a state registry program.   You can register online and there is a $15 charge to register.   You will be mailed a registration card that is valid for one year.


    New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP)

    NOAA Fisheries Permit Shop - Get your Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit here.   Since its inception on March 1, 2003, you'll need this annual $20 federal permit for your boat if you want to land Yellowfin, Bluefin, Albacore, Bigeye and Skipjack tunas.   Also required for Swordfish, Sailfish, Blue Marlin, White Marlin and certain Sharks.   In the HMS Angling category, owners/operators of vessels fishing recreationally, even catch and release, for Atlantic HMS (sharks, swordfish, billfish, and tunas) in the Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, must obtain an HMS Angling category permit.   This permit is for recreational fishing only, no sale of catch is permitted.   This permit allows a vessel to participate in registered recreational HMS fishing.


    New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP)

    New Jersey does NOT require a license for recreational surf casting, deep sea or bay fishing.   However, there are a variety of required licenses and permits for crabbing, shellfish harvesting, fish nets, pound nets and fish pots.   The licenses must be renewed ($) every year.

    ◦  Non-commercial Crab Pot License - $2
    ◦  Striped Bass Bonus Permit - $2
    ◦  Resident Recreational Shellfish License - $10
    ◦  Resident Senior (62 and older) Lifetime Recreational Shellfish License - $2
    ◦  Juvenile (under 14 years of age) Recreational Shellfish (Resident/Non-Resident) - $2
    ◦  Non-Resident Recreational Shellfish License - $20
    ◦  Commercial Shellfish License - $50
    ◦  Non-resident Commercial Shellfish License - $250
    ◦  Fillet Permit for Party Boats - $2
    ◦  Application To Use Fish Nets, Pounds and Pots in Marine and Estuarine Waters less than three miles from shore (NJ Residents only) - Fee varies
    ◦  Menhaden Bait Permit (NJ Residents only) - Fee varies

    Licenses and permits are available in person at the Nacote Creek Office and through the mail:

    NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
    Nacote Creek Research Station
    PO Box 418
    Port Republic, NJ 08241

    Marine Fisheries - 609-748-2020
    Shellfisheries - 609-748-2040

    Most license and permit application forms are available online at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/forms.htm#fishing

    Shellfish and other licenses are also available via New Jersey's Internet license site at https://www.nj.wildlifelicense.com/start.php

    For information on the shellfish and other marine licenses, visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/marinelicenses.htm.

    Fishing for Saltwater Baitfish in New Jersey?

    NO LICENSE is required for the taking of baitfish for personal use with the following gear:

    ◦  Dip nets 24 inches diameter or less for the taking of Atlantic herring only.   (The taking or possession of river herring is prohibited)
    ◦  Bait seines 50 feet long or less
    ◦  Cast nets 20 feet in diameter or less
    ◦  Lift or umbrella nets four feet square or less
    ◦  Not more than five (5) killipots.   Cylindrical killipots must not measure over 10 inches in diameter or 25 inches in length, or 2,000 cubic inches for any other configuration.
    ◦  Not more than two (2) miniature fykes or pots for the taking of eels for bait.   Miniature fykes must have a diameter not to exceed 16 inches if cylindrical or 201 square inches in cross section if any other configuration.   Minimum mesh size is no smaller than one half inch by one half inch, inside measurement.

    Baitfish taken in this manner may not be sold or used for barter unless you possess a commercial bait net license

    NO LICENSE is required to take edible crabs for personal consumption with a scoop net (dip net) operated by hand.   Crabs taken with a bait seine may be retained for personal use only if you possess a commercial bait net license.   Taking of female crabs with eggs attached or from which eggs have been removed is prohibited.

    New Jersey recreational angling limits and minimum sizes for crabs and eels apply when you are harvesting bait.

    Fines for Breaking Marine/Shellfish Regulations in New Jersey

    Fines for Breaking Marine/Shellfish Regulations in New Jersey - A link to the penalty fines ($) for violations of NJ Marine/Shellfish Regulations.    The information is from the state violations schedule found on the NJ Judiciary web site.   Violations carry different penalties as prescribed by law.   Sometimes there is a range of penalty amount and you may be required to appear in court.   Amounts may vary for a variety of reasons, including whether it is a first-time offense or a repeat violation.   Some violations can lead to a temporary, or even permanent, loss of your hunting and fishing privileges.


    New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP)

    For state regulatory information, please check with the appropriate state marine fisheries agency.   Listed below are links to the marine fisheries agency for each state bordering on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico.

    Maine Department of Marine Resources - A license is NOT required for saltwater recreational fishing in Maine waters.

    Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries - A license is NOT required for recreational saltwater angling in Massachusetts waters.

    Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management - Marine Fisheries  - A license is NOT required for recreational saltwater fishing in Rhode Island waters.

    Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection - Saltwater Fishing - A license is NOT required for recreational saltwater fishing in Connecticut waters.

    New York Department of Environmental Conservation - Saltwater Fishing - A license is NOT required for recreational saltwater fishing in New York waters.

    New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife - A professional environmental agency dedicated to the protection, management and wise use of New Jersey's fish and wildlife resources.   From Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook to Cape May and Delaware Bay, our marine resources provide something for anyone interested in saltwater fishing, clamming, crabbing or exploring New Jersey's 83 miles of bayshores and 127 miles of Atlantic coastline.   A license is NOT required for recreational saltwater fishing in New Jersey waters.

    New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife
    2016 New Jersey Marine Digest (published every May)

    New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife - 2016 Recreational Marine Fishing Regulations Summary Sheet

    New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife - 2016 Commercial Marine Fishing Regulations

    New Jersey Saltwater Record Fish Program - Got a big one for the record book?   Look here to see the current record holders and get information on how you can enter your fish of a lifetime.

    Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife - As of January 1, 2008, Delawareans and non-residents alike must be licensed to fish fresh and salt water.

    Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Fisheries Service   Maryland requires all persons recreationally fishing in the tidal waters of the State, Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries to be licensed.

    Virginia Marine Resources Commission   Licenses are required for recreational fishing in Virginia tidal saltwater areas including the Atlantic Ocean out to the three mile limit.

    North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries  - A Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required to recreationally take finfish in the state's coastal fishing waters, which include sounds, coastal rivers and their tributaries, out to three miles in the ocean.

    South Carolina Department of Natural Resources - Saltwater Fishing  - A saltwater recreational fisheries license is required to fish in South Carolina waters.

    Georgia Department of Natural Resources - A recreational fishing license is required to fish in Georgia waters.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  - A saltwater license is required to fish in Florida waters and their license fees are pricey $$$.

    Alabama Marine Resources Division - A saltwater recreational fishing license is required to fish in Alabama waters if you are between the ages of 16 to 65.

    Mississippi Department of Marine Resources - A saltwater license is required to fish in Mississippi waters.

    Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries - A saltwater license is required to fish in Louisiana waters.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife - Fishing  - A Texas fishing license and saltwater stamp endorsement are required to fish in Texas waters.

    California Division of Fish and Game  - A Sport Fishing license is required to fish in California waters.   Additional stamps  are required for certain species and areas.   And they are more pricey than Florida!

    Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife - Marine Resources Program - An angling license is required to fish in Oregon waters.

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife  - A saltwater license is required to fish in Washington waters.

    Alaska Department of Fish and Game - Sport Fish Division - A sport fishing license is required to fish in Alaska waters.

    Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources - A license is NOT required for marine recreational fishing in Hawaii waters.


    The following are links to regional and federal fisheries management agencies of interest.   Additional links can be found on our Government Issue page.

    Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council - The GMFMC manages fishery resources in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and includes representation from Alabama, West Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas

    Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council - The MAFMC is responsible for the management of fisheries in federal waters which occur predominantly off the mid-Atlantic coast. States with voting representation on the Council include New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina

    New England Fishery Management Council - The NEFMC manages the fishery resources in the federal waters off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut

    North Pacific Fishery Management Council - The NPFMC has jurisdiction over the 900,000 square mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Alaska (including the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.)  The Council manages cod, pollock, flatfish, mackerel, sablefish, and rockfish species, and also makes allocative and limited entry decisions for Pacific halibut

    Pacific Fishery Management Council - The PFMC manages salmon, groundfish and coastal pelagic species in federal waters Washington, Oregon and California, and recommends Pacific halibut harvest regulations to the International Pacific Halibut Commission

    South Atlantic Fishery Management Council - The SAFMC is responsible for managing the fisheries in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida

    Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council - The WPRFMC is responsible for the fisheries in federal waters around the Territory of American Samoa, Territory of Guam, State of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and US Pacific island possessions

    NOAA Fisheries - Formerly called the National Marine Fisheries Service, it's the mother of all regulatory agencies!