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Director’s Message

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If you are reading this message, you are likely amongst the hundreds of thousands of freshwater anglers who fish in New Jersey. Exactly how many people do fish here is not possible to know since many thousands of children under 16 years of age and seniors aged 70 and over are allowed to fish without a license.

We do know that nearly 190,000 anglers buy freshwater fishing licenses in our state each year and about 100,000 of those anglers also purchase a trout stamp. This amounts to nearly $6 million dollars annually, which is used to protect the water quality, aquatic habitat and fish populations in our rivers, streams and lakes; to operate two state of the art hatcheries that raise and stock over 3 million fish in our waters each year; to expand public fishing access to our waterways and to support the research and management programs necessary to provide quality fishing opportunities that can support the annual fishing pressure of nearly one quarter of a million freshwater anglers.

New Jersey’s freshwater anglers have been supporting the restoration, protection and management of our inland waterways and fisheries for nearly 100 years since our freshwater fishing license was initiated in 1915.

For the last 50 years, New Jersey anglers have provided additional funds to invest in freshwater fisheries management through an excise tax manufacturers pay on equipment anglers buy. These funds are managed by the federal government’s Sport Fish Restoration Program, which distributes money back to the states for fisheries management programs. New Jersey currently receives about $4 million dollars each year from the Sport Fish Restoration Fund that is used to manage both our freshwater and saltwater fisheries. The same federal funding mechanism exists for wildlife management through the Wildlife Restoration Program, funded by an excise tax on hunting equipment, firearms and ammunition.

Historically, and to the present day, hunters and anglers provide the vast majority of funding necessary to restore, protect, manage and conserve our fish and wildlife resource. Just as important is the hunter and angler passion that initiated the fish and wildlife conservation movement 150 years ago and maintains it in our modern world. It was hunters and anglers who stepped forward in the 1800’s when our land and water was abused and our fish and wildlife was decimated. They asked for the regulations and they asked for the user fees necessary for us to restore and maintain our fish and wildlife heritage. We would not have today’s diverse and abundant fish and wildlife habitats and populations for everyone’s enjoyment without the past and current investment of hunters and anglers.

This ‘user pays’ and ‘user regulated’ system for managing our fish and wildlife resource held in public trust for all citizens is the basis of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. This globally unique model has worked marvelously well in our country and our state. It has resulted in bountiful natural resources that nourish us physically, spiritually and economically.

Thank you for the support you provide to fuel this successful model through your license and stamp purchases and your continued strong voice for conservation.

Dave Chanda is the Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Attention New Jersey Anglers

The federal government’s National Saltwater Angler Registry Program requires most New Jersey saltwater anglers, and those freshwater anglers who target anadromous species in tidal waters to register prior to fishing in 2011.

You must register if you…

  • Fish for or catch anadromous species (striped bass, shad, river herring) in state tidal waters
  • Fish in Federal waters (more than 3 miles from shore)

You do not have to register if you…

  • Are under 16 years of age
  • Only fish on federally licensed party or charter boats
  • Hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling Permit
  • Are already registered through an exempted state

Register online at or call toll free 888-674-7411.

Registration is free in 2011.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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