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Director’s Message

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations New Jersey Saltwater Fishing

Any visitor to the New Jersey coast can’t help but to be awestruck by its beauty, wildlife and abundant fishing opportunities. With 120 miles of ocean coastline from Cape May through Barnegat Bay and up to Sandy Hook, along with an equally inspiring coastline along the Delaware Bay, New Jersey has something to offer for anyone looking for an exciting day of fishing. Whether you are fishing in the surf, back-bays or open ocean, New Jersey boasts one of the most active and productive recreational fisheries on the Atlantic Coast.

If you’re lucky enough to set out for some offshore fishing this year, take the opportunity to drop a line deep for some tilefish. I caught my first tilefish last year after closing out a slow day of tuna fishing. Once we found “the spot,” the bite was on and the action was non-stop. The strong fight of this species was accentuated by the fact the we were catching them at depths of over 500 feet. To top off a fun day of fishing, tilefish makes for a delicious meal with its sweet flavor and white meat. For tips on catching a few tilefish for yourself, enjoy the blueline tilefish profile on Blueline Tilefish: A Profile.

New Jersey is one of the highest-ranking states on the Atlantic coast for summer flounder and bluefish recreational harvest. Black sea bass is another very popular recreational species fished for in the marine waters of New Jersey. This species, with its unusual life-history, has experienced impressive population growth over the past several years (Black Sea Bass Management). New Jersey’s marine anglers are having no trouble catching their limit of this plentiful species and the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s marine fisheries staff continues to work with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure responsible management of our valuable fisheries.

Managing a multi-species fishery is complex work. Our dedicated staff are constantly advancing their angler survey and stock assessment methodologies to make sound management decisions for New Jersey’s marine species. A variety of surveys are used to target different species and life stages in both estuarine and marine waters. You can find Division of Fish of Wildlife employees out in the field conducting this important work 11 months of the year. These surveys are used to monitor long-term trends in population abundance and collect biological information, such as growth rates and age distribution. Technological advances aid our biologists in completing this valuable research (Trawl-Tech).

Our staff are among the best, but proper management of the state’s marine resources requires everyone’s participation. You can help the Division of Fish and Wildlife by participating in our Recreational Saltwater Angler Survey (https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/marinesurvey.htm), signing up for the saltwater registry, reducing fish mortality by releasing them unharmed (see tips on Finfish Regulations) and by adhering to all marine regulations. Together we can keep New Jersey’s fishery as one of the most productive along the Atlantic coast. Speaking of productive fisheries, I think it’s time to get out there and go fishing. Enjoy!