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Joint Enforcement Agreement

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing

Conserving and Protecting Marine Resources

A Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) between the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Law Enforcement Division and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Office of Law Enforcement provides federal funding and resources for patrols, equipment, training and public outreach initiatives that help N.H. Conservation Officers enforce federal marine fisheries regulations.

The key is preventing and detecting marine violations. Through a combination of at-sea patrols, dockside inspections and public outreach, the JEA focuses on increasing voluntary compliance. It also encourages enforcement of state marine fisheries regulations in nearshore waters, including groundfish, lobster, striped bass and tuna patrols. This joint agreement improves our level of service to commercial harvesters and recreational anglers, as well as other coastal organizations and constituents. It significantly enhances Fish and Game’s ability to conserve, manage and protect our marine fisheries resources for future generations.

Fixed Gear Fishermen — Prevent Whale Entanglement

One of the priorities of the JEA is expanding awareness of state and federal regulations now in effect to minimize whale entanglements in buoy lines and other fixed gear. The two primary laws in place that affect fixed gear fishermen are as follows:

  • Weak links: To protect migrating whales, weak links with a breaking strength of 600 pounds shall be used at the buoys of fixed gear set seaward of harbor entrances. For gillnet gear, 1,100-pound weak links must be used. The intent of this requirement is to allow the release of the buoy, flotation or weighted device from the line in a way that the remaining line is knot free, thereby helping to minimize the possibility of whale entanglement. An eye left on the line made by splicing or tucking attached to a weak link or hog rings is acceptable. Note: Weak links must be placed as close as operationally feasible to each individual buoy, flotation or weighted device.
  • Groundlines: Groundlines between traps or gillnet panels shall be sinking for all gear set seaward of harbor entrances.

Tidal Region Mooring Regulations

The Pease Development Authority – Division of Ports and Harbors (“DPH”) regulates moorings in N.H. tidal waters. DPH is the only agency that can permit moorings for use in the state’s tidal waters.

A person may apply for a mooring in the following classifications: general use mooring, shorefront property mooring, commercial use mooring, and commercial mooring for hire. State agencies may apply for a non-revenue mooring permit. Applicants should refer to the N.H. Administrative Rules Pda 500—Moorings and Anchorages to determine what type of mooring permits they qualify for. The rules can be found on the DPH website at portofnh.org.

The mooring permit holder’s last name (if an individual) or business name and mooring permit number must be on the mooring buoy in letters and numbers at least 2 inches high.

If no mooring is available, a mooring permit applicant may place his or her name on a wait list for the mooring area. A person may apply for more than one wait list area. The annual fee is $7.00 per wait list area. Mooring permit applications and wait list applications may be obtained by contacting Pease Development Authority—Division of Ports and Harbors, 555 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801. If you have questions, please call (603) 436-8500.