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The 2014 New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Guide is now available!
To view the new guide, please download the pdf. Check back in the coming days as we work to put up the new 2014 website.

Below is content from the 2013 guide.

Gear

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All About Gear

Definitions

Single pots: individual lobster pots

Pot trawls: lobster pot trawls where single pots are tied together in a series and buoyed at both ends.

East end: the part of the pot trawl extending from 01 through 180 [degrees] magnetic.

West end: the part of a pot trawl extending from 181 through 00 [degree] magnetic.

Groundline: the line connecting pots on a pot trawl.

Buoy line: lines connecting pots to surface buoys.

Sinking line: the line that has a specific gravity equal to or greater than that of seawater, 1.03, and does not float up in the water column.

Weak link: a breakable section or device that will part when subjected to specified poundage of pull pressure and, after parting, will result in a knotless end, no thicker than the diameter of the line, the so-called “bitter end” to prevent lodging in whale baleen.

How many traps can I set?

The Massachusetts Recreational Lobster Permit allows for 10 traps ONLY.

Can I use “Star” traps?

Open, collapsible wire traps, hauled by hand, such as the “star” trap, cannot be used to catch lobsters, but are legal for edible crabs.

Can someone else pull my traps?

Any immediate family member that resides in your household may pull your traps for you.

Trawls vs. Single Pots

A Recreational Lobster/Crabbing Permit allows for the use of pot trawls or single pots. Traditionally, Recreational Lobster Permit holders prefer to use single pots or two-pot trawls called “doubles”. Doubles shall be marked with a single buoy line.

Permit Number/Gear Markings

Recreational Lobster Permit Holders will now use a 5-digit permit number which will be the last 5 digits of your Customer ID number, located in the upper right hand corner of your renewal.

  • All buoys, pots, traps, cars, dive markers and air tanks must be marked with the licensee’s 5-digit permit number.

  • The permit number must be burned or cut into the surface at leas 1/2” high x 1/8” thick.

  • In the case of non-wooden traps, said numbers shall be burned or cut into a wooden lath or plate made of durable synthetic material, which shall be permanently secured to the inside of the trap.

  • Recreational permit holders must also add the letter “N” preceding their 5-digit permit number, followed by a (-) with a single digit from 0 to 9, indicating the sequential pot number in the series that the permit holder is fishing. (This gear-marking requirement negates the need for trap tags for recreational lobster permit holders.)

  • Existing gear can be marked with the new permit number and the former permit number crossed out.

    Minimum Requirements

    Single pots – Single pots shall each be marked with a single 7” x 7” or 5” x 11” buoy. Sticks are optional, but if used, shall not have a flag attached.

    Pot trawls – The east end of a pot trawl shall be marked with a double buoy, consisting of any combination of two 7” x 7” or 5” x 11” buoys and one or more three foot sticks (so the two buoys can be side-by-side or stacked). The west end of a pot trawl shall be marked with a single
    7” x 7” or 5” x 11” buoy with a three foot stick and a flag.

    Buoy Colors

    Each applicant for a Recreational Lobster Permit can choose up to three colors for the desired color scheme of their buoys. All buoys used by the permit holder must be marked with that specific color scheme.

  • Anatomy of a Lobster Trap

    1. Entrance Head: Mesh opening where lobsters enter the trap.
    2. Kitchen: This is where the bait bag is placed to attract lobsters into the trap.
    3. Parlor Head or Funnel: Lobsters use this mesh netting as a means out of the kitchen, assuming it’s a way out of the trap.
    4. Parlor: Area where the lobsters end up after leaving the kitchen and traveling up the funnel. Most of the catch will be found in this part of the trap.
    5. Escape Vent/Ghost Panel: Opening of designated size that allows sub-legal lobsters to escape the trap. The biodegradable materials used to attach the escape vent panel will allow the “ghost panel” to open if the trap has been lost or abandoned. This prevents the trap from continuing to fish after it has been lost/abandoned.

    Gear Construction Requirements

    Restrictions

    It is unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take lobsters or crabs by use of pots or traps without said pots or traps having the following features:

  • Ghost Panel

  • Escape Vent

    It is also unlawful for any lobster/crab trap to exceed a volume of 22,950 cubic inches.

    Ghost Panel

    Ghost panels are designed to create an opening to allow the escapement of lobsters within 12 months after a trap has been abandoned or lost.

    Ghost panel specifications:

  • The opening covered by the panel must be rectangular and measure at least 3 3/4” by 3 3/4”

  • It must be located in the outer parlor section of the trap and in a position which allows an unobstructed exit of lobsters from the trap.

  • The panel must be constructed of, or fastened to the trap with, one of the following materials: wood lath; cotton, hemp, sisal or jute twine not greater than 3/16 inch in diameter; or non-stainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 3/32 inch in diameter.

    Escape Vent

    Escapes vents are required in order to allow sub-legal lobsters and other non-targeted species to escape lobster/crab traps.

    It is required that one or more rectangular escape vents or openings or two or more unobstructed round openings be placed in the parlor section of the trap.

    If your traps have 2 parlors, BOTH must be vented.

    Recreational fishermen fishing in the Gulf of Maine Recreational Lobster/Crabbing Area: Rectangular escape vents must be at least 1 15/16 inches by 5 3/4 inches or two circular vents must measure at least 2 7/16 inches in diameter.

    Recreational fishermen fishing in the Outer Cape Cod or Southern New England Recreational Lobster Areas: Rectangular escape vents must measure at least 2 inches by 5 3/4 inches or two circular vents must measure at least 2 5/8 inches in diameter.

    Gear Questions

    Can the escape vent be used as the ghost panel?

    Yes. The escape vent may serve as a ghost panel if incorporated into a panel constructed of, or attached to the trap with: wood lath, cotton, hemp, sisal or jute twine not greater than 3/16 inch in diameter; or non-stainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 3/32 inch in diameter, and upon breakdown of the degradable materials, will create an opening for egress of lobsters at least 3 3/4 by 3 3/4 inches.

    Can the door of the trap be considered a ghost panel?

    Yes. The door of the trap may serve as the ghost panel if fastened to the trap with: wood lath, cotton, hemp, sisal or jute twine not greater than 3/16 inch in diameter; or non-stainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 3/32 inch diameter.

    Do escape vents and ghost panels need to be attached in a specific orientation

    No. Escape vents and ghost panels need to provide an unobstructed means for escape for lobsters and must be located in the parlor section of the trap. It has been observed, however, that certain orientations work better than others (see below).

    If I use wood traps do I need a ghost panel?

    Traps constructed entirely or partially of wood shall be considered to be in compliance if constructed of wood lath to the extent that deterioration of wooden component(s) will result in an unobstructed opening at least 3 3/32 inches by
    3 3/32 inches.

    Why are there rectangular and circular vent options?

    Circular vents retain crabs better than rectangular vents.

  • Year-Round Regulations in all Massachusetts State Waters

    The following restrictions apply to all recreational pots set on a year round basis.

    1. All buoys must be outfitted with a 600-pound weak link. See photo.
    2. If fishing pot trawls, sinking groundline must be used between all traps.
    3. Vertical buoy lines must be made of sinking line, except the bottom 1/3 portion, which may be floating line if desired.
    4. All gear must have a 4 inch red marker midway on the buoy line. See photo.

    Weak Links

    Weak links allow the buoy to part away from the buoy line in the event that a whale encounters your gear.

    hog_ring.jpg

    Hog Ring Weak Link

    swivel_weak.jpg

    Swivel Weak Links

    Buoy Line Marking

    By marking the rope, that gear can be identified to a certain area and fishery, if it is taken off an entangled whale.

    busy_line.jpg

    Images: NOAA Fisheries Service

    whaletail.bmp

    Whale-Related Gear Rules

    Massachusetts state waters are important habitat for endangered large whale species, including the humpback whale and North Atlantic right whale. Entanglement in fishing gear is a major cause of injury and mortality for large whales. MarineFisheries requires the use of modified fishing gear in order to reduce the risk of whale entanglement and identify entangling gear.

    For more details please see http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dmf/publications/weaklink.pdf

    Definitions

    Single: one pot with a single buoy line attached.

    Double: two pot string of traps with a single buoy line attached.

    Triple: three pot string of traps with a single buoy line attached.

    Sinking line: a line that has a specific gravity greater than that of seawater, 1.03, and does not float up in the water column.

    Weak Link: breakable section or device that will part when subjected to specified poundage of pull pressure and after parting, will result in a knot-less end, no thicker than the diameter of the line, the so-called “bitter end”, to prevent lodging in whale baleen.

    Abandon or dispose of at sea: to leave fixed gear in the water without hauling it at least every 30 days or in prohibited areas during prohibited periods.

    Twin orange markers: a pair of identical orange flag-like strips of material that are clearly visible and attached to the buoy stick or high flyer.

    Cape Cod Bay Critical Habitat Gear Rules

    rt_whale_habitat.eps

    The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered large whales in the world. Cape Cod Bay (CCB) is federally-designated as Critical Habitat for the species. Right whales return to this area each winter and spring to feed on the abundant zooplankton in the bay. To reduce the risk of entanglement in fishing gear in this important habitat, MarineFisheries requires compliance with strict seasonal gear restrictions during the time the whales are present.

    January 1 – May 15

    During the period of January 1st to May 15th, the following restrictions apply to all gear in the CCB Critical Habitat Area.

    1. The use of single pots is prohibited. Fishermen may use either multiple pot trawls consisting of four pots or more or may set doubles or triples.
      1. Multiple pot trawls shall consist of four pots or more with vertical buoy lines on the first and last pot of the trawl.
    2. Double or triple pot trawls must have only 1 buoy line.
      1. It is unlawful to fish double or triple pot trawls with more than one vertical buoy line attached.
    3. All trawls must have twin orange markers or flags on each buoy. See definition above.
    4. All trawls must have 500 pound weak links on each buoy. (See details above)
    5. All trawls must have a 4 inch red marker midway on each buoy line. See details above.

    May 16 – December 31

    The following restrictions apply to all gear in the CCB Critical Habitat Area on a year-round basis.

    1. All buoys must be outfitted with a 600-pound weak link. (See details above)
    2. If fishing pot trawls, sinking groundline must be used between
      all traps.
    3. Vertical buoy lines must be made of sinking line, except the bottom 1/3 portion, which may be floating line if desired.
    4. All gear must have a 4 inch red marker midway on the buoy line. See details above.

    Regulations in red are new this year.

    Purple text indicates an important note.

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