New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Record Fish Program honors anglers who catch the largest of select species of freshwater and saltwater fish. Record size is based on weight alone; there are no line classes. Currently there are 61 marine species eligible for entry into the program.
Anglers are reminded that the objective of the Record Fish Program is to increase awareness of fishing opportunities for species that are regularly sought and routinely found on or
off the coast of New Jersey. The original list of 72 species
was pared down with that objective in mind.
Eleven species are now retired from the list of program-eligible fish, but remain on a separate list posted on Fish and Wildlife’s Web site. One historical catch is also retired and posted on the list.
Anglers should be aware of the procedure in effect for entering the Record Fish Program. First, separate applications are required for freshwater and saltwater species. Second, for saltwater entries, it is now mandatory that a marine biologist inspect any potential record fish, as identification solely by photo is not always accurate. Anglers must call Fish and Wildlife’s Nacote Creek Research Station at (609) 748-2020 to make arrangements for inspection. In most instances, the fish must be transported to this office in Port Republic. However, in the case of extremely large fish (i.e., shark and tuna), a biologist should be available to travel for dockside inspection. Note that all scale certification requirements still apply, including a valid Certificate of Inspection/Test Report and current Registration Certificate issued by the County Office of Weights and Measures.
The entry deadline is now no later than one month after the date of catch. Note that the triggerfish category is now defined as gray triggerfish.
For a complete list of state record fish or to print an application with complete program rules, visit the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Web site at NJFishandWildlife.com/fishing.htm.