Possession Limit(per angler)
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 inchesto less than 43 inches AND43
inches or greater
1 fishAND1 fish
No open season - Closed all year
0 fish - Prohibited
No closed season
No size limit
No closed season
closed seasonNo harvest on SundaysLicense required
June 1 through September 30
1 fish per person3 fish per vessel
closed season(hand line, box net, dip net)
Hard - 4.5 inchesSoft - 3.5 inchesPeeler - 3 inches
Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)
18 - 27 inches
Flounder, Summer (Fluke)New Regs for 2018
NJ State WatersOpen May 25 through September 22Delaware Bay ‡Open May 25 through September 22Island Beach State Park SurfOpen May 25 through September 22
18 inches17 inches16 inches
fish3 fish2 fish
Flounder, Winter (Blackback)
Open March 1 through December 31
Hake, Red (Ling)
No size limit
Hake, Silver (Whiting)
1 fish per vessel per trip
Herring, River(Alewife, Blueback)
LMA 4 - Open Jan 1 thru Apr 29 & Jun 1 thru Dec 31LMA 5 - Open Jan 1 thru Jan 31 & Apr 1 thru Dec 31
Carapace length3 3/8 to 5 1/4 inches
Marlin, Blue †
99 inches LJFL*
Marlin, White †
66 inches LJFL*
63 inches LJFL*
Scup (Porgy)New Regs for 2018!
Sea Bass, BlackNew Regs for 2018
Open May 15 through June 22Open July 1 through August 31Open October 8 through October 31Open November 1 through December 31
12 1/2 inches12 1/2 inches12 1/2 inches13 inches
10 fish2 fish10 fish15 fish
Open May 15 through September 21Open October 22 through December 31
12 1/2 inches
Delaware Bay, Delaware River & tributaries onlyClosed in all other marine and fresh waters
No size limit
Shad, Gizzard & Hickory
Shark ***†New Regs for 2018!
Aggregate Large Coastal groupJanuary 1 through May 14 and July 16 through December 31
54 inches fork length
1 allowable fish per vesselplus one Atlantic Sharpnose &one Bonnethead per angler
Hammerhead groupJanuary 1 through May 14 and July 16 through December 31
78 inches fork length
Non-Blacknose Small Coastal & Blacknose groupsNo closed season
Pelagic groupNo closed season
Shortfin MakoNo closed season
83 inches fork length
Atlantic SharpnoseNo closed season
1 fish per person per trip
BonnetheadNo closed season
1 fish per person per trip
Hammerheads (Great, Smooth, and Scalloped)No closed season
All other sharks***No closed season
47 inches LJFL *
1 fish per angler4 fish max for private
boat6 fish max for charter boat15 fish max for headboat
Tautog (Blackfish)New Regs for 2018!
Open January 1 through February 28Open April 1 through April 30Open August 1 through November 15Open November 16 through December 31
4 fish4 fish1 fish5 fish
Tilefish, Blueline(from VA/NC border north)
May 1 through October 31
3 fish (on private vessels)5 fish (on uninspected for-hire vessels)7 fish (on USCG inspected for-hire vessels)
Golden(from VA/NC border north)
Tuna, Albacore (Longfin) †
Tuna, Bigeye †
27 inches CFL **
Tuna, Bluefin †New Regs for 2018!
HMS Angling CategoryEffective April 26 - December 31, 2018Trophy Bluefin closed July 27 - December 31, 2018
27 inches to less than47 inches CFL **47 inches to less than73
inches CFL **More than 73 inches CFL **
2 fish per boat per day/trip1 fish per boat per day/trip0 fish - Closed
Tuna, Skipjack †
Tuna, Yellowfin †
July 1 through August 31
1 fish per boat per day
NJ state marine waters are from the shoreline out to three (3) nautical miles from shoreFederal 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 four categories: Large Coastal Sharks, Small Coastal Sharks, Pelagic Sharks and Smoothhound Sharks. (Does not include Spiny Dogfish.)Large Coastal Sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Blacktip, Bull, Great Hammerhead, Scalloped Hammerhead, Smooth Hammerhead, Lemon, Nurse, Spinner and TigerSmall Coasta Sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacknose, Bonnethead and FinetoothPelagic Sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Blue, Oceanic Whitetip, Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and ThresherSmoothhound Sharks that may be kept in New Jersey and Federal waters include Smooth Dogfish, Florida Smoothhound and Gulf Smoothhound
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 sharksIt 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.
NOAA FISHERIES – FEDERAL RECREATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS FOR THE GREATER ATLANTIC REGIONUpdated May 1, 2018
– 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 - 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. NOAA Fisheries Permit Shop - Get your Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit here. Since its inception on March 1, 2003, you'll need this annual $20 federal permit for
your boat if you want to land Yellowfin, Bluefin, Albacore, Bigeye and Skipjack tunas. Also required for Swordfish, Sailfish, Blue Marlin, White Marlin and certain Sharks. In the HMS Angling category, owners/operators of vessels fishing recreationally, even catch and release, for Atlantic HMS (sharks, swordfish, billfish, and tunas) in the
Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, must obtain an HMS Angling category permit. This permit is for recreational fishing only, no sale of catch is permitted. This permit allows a vessel to participate in registered recreational HMS fishing. New Jersey does NOT require a license for recreational surf casting, deep sea or bay fishing. However, there are a variety of required licenses and permits for crabbing, shellfish harvesting, fish nets, pound nets and fish pots. The licenses must be renewed ($) 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 variesLicenses and permits are available in person at the Nacote Creek Office and through the mail:NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Nacote Creek Research StationPO Box 418Port Republic, NJ 08241Marine Fisheries - 609-748-2020Shellfisheries - 609-748-2040Most license and permit application forms are available online at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/forms.htm#fishingShellfish and other licenses are also available via New Jersey's Internet license site at https://www.nj.wildlifelicense.com/start.phpFor 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 licenseNO 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 JerseyFines 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.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 Maine saltwater recreational fishing registration is required for individuals over the age of 16. A $2 agent fee applies to
register online.New Hampshire Fish & Game - Residents and non-residents over the age of 16 need a $11 New Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing License to fish in coastal and estuarine waters of New Hampshire. Anglers must possess a valid NH, MA, or ME marine fishing license to fish in New Hampshire marine waters.Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries - Residents and non-residents over the age of 16 need a $10 Massachusetts Marine License to fish in coastal and estuarine waters of New Hampshire.) Anglers must possess a valid MA, CT, RI or NH marine fishing license to fish in Massachusetts marine waters.Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management - Marine Fisheries - An annual marine license is $7 for Rhode Island residents and $10 for non-residents. A seven-day license may be purchased for $5 for both residents and non-residents alike. Anglers must possess a valid RI, MA, CT, ME or NY marine fishing license to fish in Rhode Island marine waters.Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection - Saltwater Fishing - A marine license is $10 for residents age from 16 to 64, it is free for residents over 65 and $15 for non-residents age 16 and older. Anglers must possess a valid CT, MA, RI or NY marine fishing license to fish in Connecticut marine waters.New York Department of Environmental Conservation - Saltwater Fishing - Anglers 16 and older must register with the New York no-fee recreational marine fishing registry to fish in New York waters. Reciprocity is given to anglers holding a marine license from either Connecticut or Rhode Island. 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. Anglers 16 and older must register with the New Jersey no-fee
recreational marine fishing registry to fish in New Jersey marine waters. No reciprocity exists and all anglers fishing New Jersey's marine waters must register.New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife – 2018 New Jersey Marine Digest (published every May)New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife - 2018 Recreational Marine Fishing Regulations Summary SheetNew Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife - 2018 Commercial Marine Fishing RegulationsNew 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.
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission - Anglers fishing for spring Striped Bass along the Delaware River aged 16 and over are required to be licensed. Residents 16 to 64 pay $22.90 for an annual license, while residents 65 and older pay $11.90. Non-residents can get a nominally priced one-day, three-day or seven-day tourist permit, or pay $52.90 for a year-round license.Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife - A license is required and it covers both fresh and marine/tidal waters and costs $8.50 for residents and $20 for non-residents. Children under the age 16 and senior residents over 65 are exempt from the licensing requirements.Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Fisheries Service - Anglers 16 and older must register with the Maryland no-fee recreational marine fishing registry.
Reciprocity exists for anglers possessing a Virginia license.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!