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New Laws

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NH Recreational Saltwater License

In 2009, the NH legislature passed, and Governor Lynch signed into law, legislation implementing a Recreational Saltwater License in New Hampshire beginning in 2011.

Cost

  • $11* (NH resident and nonresident)

The license will be available for purchase online or through any of 250+ NH license agents statewide.

Who Will Need the License?

All persons ages 16 and older participating in recreational saltwater fishing who wish to take, possess, or transport finfish from coastal and estuarine waters of New Hampshire. This includes anglers, spearfishers, and persons using other gear types to take marine finfish for personal use and which are not sold.

There is no exemption for persons over age 68 from the recreational saltwater license. This is because we need to collect the name, address, and phone number of all those fishing in saltwater each year in order to obtain an exemption for NH license holders from the National Saltwater Angler Registry and the associated fee (see “Why The License” below).

Exemptions

You will not need the license to fish from a licensed charter or party boat.

Persons who purchased a Lifetime fishing or combination license prior to 2011 may obtain a Limited Annual Saltwater License for Lifetime Licensees to fish for saltwater smelt, American shad, trout and salmon in coastal and estuarine waters. This permit must be applied for each year by mail or at Fish and Game in Concord and is good only for the fish listed above. If you wish to fish for other fish species such as striped bass, flounder, cod, etc. you must purchase a NH Recreational Saltwater License.

Reciprocity

Anglers possessing a valid NH Recreational Saltwater License can legally fish in all tidal and estuarine areas of Massachusetts and in Maine up to Cape Neddick. Reciprocity will be granted in NH for those nonresident anglers possessing a valid Maine or Massachusetts saltwater license.

Why the License

The state’s recreational saltwater license exempts New Hampshire anglers from needing to register with NOAA’s National Saltwater Angler Registry. Like the Registry, the license will gather the information needed for a “phone book” of saltwater sport anglers and enable more effective collection of information from saltwater anglers, enhancing our ability to produce timely and accurate estimates of the catch and harvest of saltwater fish by recreational fishers. In addition, all fees collected from the license will go to the NH Fish and Game Department to help manage fish and wildlife in New Hampshire.

Charter and Party Boat License

Also in 2009, the NH legislature passed, and Governor Lynch signed into law, legislation implementing a license for for-hire vessels operating in New Hampshire’s coastal and estuarine waters beginning in 2011.

Who Will Need the License?

Party boat, charter boat, dive boat, head boat, or other boats hired by persons to engage in recreational saltwater fishing opportunities which includes the taking of any marine finfish, by any means for personal use only and which are not sold.

Charter boat is a vessel less than 100 gross tons that meets the requirements of the US Coast Guard to carry 6 or fewer passengers for hire.

Party boat or head boat is a vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the US Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire.

Passengers hiring a licensed party or charter boat will not need to have a Recreational Saltwater Fishing license while fishing from the vessel.

Cost

  • Charter boat: $51*
  • Party boat: $101*

Reciprocity

New Hampshire law provides reciprocity for Maine and Massachusetts licensed charter and party boats but only if those states provide reciprocity for NH licensed vessels. At this point in time, both Maine and Massachusetts law do not provide reciprocity for charter and party boat vessels from any other state.

Why the License

To be eligible for an exemption from NOAA’s National Saltwater Angler Registry in 2011, we must also provide a list of all party and charter boats operating in NH coastal and estuarine waters in addition to the list of all individuals licensed to fish in saltwater. Like the Registry, the license will gather the information needed for a “phone book” of charter and party boat vessels that provide saltwater sport anglers the opportunity to take marine finfish. This will enable more effective collection of information from these vessels, enhancing our ability to produce timely and accurate estimates of the catch and harvest of saltwater fish by recreational fishers. Fees collected from the license will go to the NH Fish and Game Department to help manage our fish and wildlife in New Hampshire.

*Includes $1 agent fee

 

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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