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Managing Our Marine Resources

The Marine Fisheries Division of the NH Fish and Game Department is responsible for the regulation and promotion of recreational and commercial marine fishing in the salt waters of the state. State waters include all waters within 3 miles of the coastline; the area between 3 and 200 miles from shore is under the jurisdiction of the Federal government. The Marine Division conducts scientific investigations to monitor marine resources and habitat as well as the harvest of fishery resources within state waters. We also work with other states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, as well as the New England Fisheries Management Council, to manage marine species throughout their range.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was formed by the 15 Atlantic coast states in 1942, in recognition that fish do not adhere to political boundaries. The Commission serves as a deliberative body, coordinating the conservation and management of the states’ shared near-shore fishery resources – marine, shell, and anadromous – for sustainable use. The Commission’s mission is to promote the better utilization of the fisheries of the Atlantic seaboard by the development of a joint program for the promotion and protection of such fisheries, and by the prevention of physical waste of the fisheries from any cause. It currently manages more than 26 species, including lobster, striped bass, bluefish, Atlantic sea herring, spiny dogfish, northern shrimp, and river herring. New Hampshire is represented on the ASMFC by three commissioners, including one representative from Fish and Game’s Marine Fisheries Division.

The New England Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery councils created in 1976. NEFMC manages the living marine resources in the Federal waters (between 3 and 200 miles offshore) off the New England coastline. The NEMFC includes three New Hampshire members – the head of the Marine Division as well as two local fishermen. It has developed fishery management plans for groundfish (cod, haddock, flounders, etc.), scallops, Atlantic sea herring, monkfish, red crab, skates, Atlantic salmon, and habitat. The plans are approved by the US Secretary of Commerce and implemented by the National Marine Fisheries Service.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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