New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing
There are regulations relating to the harvest of many marine species from New Hampshire’s coastal and estuarine waters, generally by means other than hook and line. Refer to the tables at right for general species regulations and gear restrictions for fish and invertebrates commonly harvested by coastal harvest permittees.
Harvest Permit: Required to take finfish by seine, net, weir, pot or trap, horseshoe crab by any method, or American eel by any method but angling, from coastal and estuarine waters of N.H. Also required to take any species, except lobsters and crabs, for commercial purposes from N.H. waters unless already reporting the catch to NOAA Fisheries via vessel trip reports. Available at Fish and Game Region 3 Office in Durham. Netting of river herring by residents only and non-residents holding a non-resident Commercial Saltwater License.
NOTE: If you are harvesting finfish for personal use only, you need to purchase a recreational saltwater license. If you plan to sell your catch, you need a commercial saltwater license.
Reporting: Any person holding a permit to net or harvest from coastal waters is required to submit a monthly report of fishing activities. Forms are available from Fish and Game’s Region 3 Office, Durham. Commercial fishermen are required to report catch information to the Department if fishing in state waters. Fishermen are also required to participate in the NOAA Fisheries Service Vessel Trip Report program, if fishing federal waters for specific species.
|American Eel|| |
|Atlantic Sea Herring||Refer to Commercial Fishing section|
|Dogfish, Spiny||Refer to Commercial Fishing section|
|Horseshoe Crab||Refer to Invertebrate section|
|Rainbow Smelt (see also Recreational Fishing section)|| || |
|River Herring |
See Squamscott River in Special River
Coastal Harvest Gear Restrictions
|Gill Nets (to take, transport, or possess groundfish only)|| ||Weak links with a breaking strength of 1,100 lbs. shall be used in gill net panels set seaward of the harbor entrances.|
|Gill Nets (used in waters inland of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, Little Harbor and Rye Harbor and their tributaries inland of the most seaward jetty, and inland of the Hampton Harbor Bridge)|| || |
|Gill Nets (Menheden/coastal waters)||Call Marine Fisheries Division for current rules, (603) 868-1095, or see Fish and Game rule Fis 603.21 at fishnh.gov.|
|Mobile Gear||Not permitted for use in state waters to take finfish or crustaceans|
|Pots and Traps |
(used for taking finfish)
|Tending must be done between sunrise and sunset|
|Pots and Traps (used for taking American eels)||Minimum mesh 1/2 in. throughout.||Tending must be done between sunrise and sunset|
|Seines|| ||Shall only be drawn manually, pulled or dragged through water|