Cod Spawning Protection Area
New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing
Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area
The Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area (CSPA) is located in both state and federal waters south of the Isle of Shoals and is closed to all fishing, as well as take and possession of groundfish, in April, May and June, with the following exceptions:
In State waters (area depicted with red lines):
- All cod caught in New Hampshire waters must be immediately released.
- Fishing with either line or rod in hand with gear that has 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 using gear described in 50 CFR 648.2.
- Private recreational or charter/party vessels that are transiting the area with groundfish caught outside the CSPA must have all bait and hooks removed from fishing rods or handlines and groundfish species on board must have been gutted.
- Commercial vessels that are transiting the area with groundfish caught outside the CSPA must have gear stowed in accordance with the provisions of 50 CFR 648.23.
Additional federal rules may apply within the federal waters of the Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area. Contact NOAA Fisheries at (978) 281-9315.
Catch & Release
N.H. Fish and Game recommends that anglers using live or cut bait use circle hooks to reduce mortality on fish that will be released. Studies comparing baited circle hooks to the standard J hooks used by most anglers show a substantial reduction in post-release hooking mortality when circle hooks are used.
For more information, contact Fish and Game Marine Fisheries Division weekdays (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) at (603) 868-1095.