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New Hampshire

Saltwater Fishing

Commercial Saltwater Fishing — Finfish

New Hampshire has an active commercial marine fishing industry. Commercial finfish harvesting occurs almost exclusively in federal waters. State licenses may be required to harvest, transport, sell, or possess.

Reporting Requirements: Any person holding a permit to net or harvest from coastal waters must submit a monthly report of fishing activities. Forms are available from the Fish and Game Marine Division. Fishermen must also participate in the National Marine Fisheries Service Vessel Trip Report program, if they have a federal permit for specific species.

Groundfish: See tables below for specific information and Definitions for a list of groundfish species.

  • No mobile gear may be used to take finfish or crustaceans in state waters.
  • Minimum mesh size for gillnets and mobile gear is 6.5 inches to take, transport or possess groundfish.
  • All federally permitted vessels must abide by current federal trip limits for groundfish.

New Hampshire Commercial Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Species

Min. Length
(total length)

Limit

Closed Season/Day

Special Rules

American Eel

9 inches

No limit

Fishway closures:
October 2 – June 14

  • See Coastal Harvest
  • Harvest Permit required if taken by any method other than angling

American Plaice*

12 inches

No limit

April 1 – June 30

American Shad

No min. length

No limit

No closed season

  • All shad taken in State waters must be immediately released
  • Commercial landing cannot exceed 5% of the total landing by weight per trip

Atlantic Cod*

19 inches

See Special Rules

April 1 – June 30

  • Non-federally permitted vessels fishing in state waters with a commercial saltwater license are restricted to current daily trip limits for common pool vessels pursuant to 50CFR648.86
  • If federally permitted, current federal regulations and trip limits apply
  • See Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area map on Cod Spawning Protection Area

Atlantic Halibut*

41 inches

1 fish per trip/vessel

April 1 – June 30

Head and tail intact

Atlantic Menhaden

No min. length

6,000 lbs./day once state quota harvested

No closed season

  • Only non-directed or small scale gears permitted in state waters (call 868-1095 for list of allowable gears)
  • See gill net/small-scale purse seine restrictions (Coastal Harvest)
  • No transfer of catch at sea
  • Daily electronic reporting requirement for menhaden dealers

Atlantic Sea Herring

No min. length

No limit

  • September 23 –
    November 3
  • Contact Marine Fisheries for prohibited landing days
  • Fish and Game Director may revise closure dates
  • Max. incidental catch = 2,000 lbs./day during specific area closures
  • Permit required to possess herring (see License Fees & Requirements)
  • May be possessed without a permit for use as bait when tending lobster and crab pots and recreational fishing

Atlantic Wolffish

No min. length

No limit

Closed

Taking and possession prohibited

Black Sea Bass

11 inches

No limit

No closed season

  • Length does not include filament/tail extension
  • If harvest with pots or traps call Marine Fisheries (603) 868-1095 for gear specifications

Bluefin Tuna

73 inches CFL**

Variable; see website

No closed season

Under federal management; contact NMFS — 1-888-USA-TUNA or
hmspermits.noaa.gov; Commercial saltwater license required for sale

Bluefish

No min. length

No limit

October 1 – June 30
(by any method)


Dogfish, Spiny

No min. length

Contact Marine Division for current trip limits: (603) 868-1095

May 1 – June 30

  • Subject to additional closures
  • Finning prohibited

Haddock*

16 inches

No limit

April 1 – June 30

Head and tail intact, unless fillet is 10 inches minimum

Monkfish

17 inches

No limit

No closed season

  • Tails: minimum 11 inches; measured from the anterior portion of the fourth cephalic dorsal spine to the end of the caudal fin
  • Livers: shall not exceed 25% of the total weight of monkfish tails or 10% of the total weight of whole monkfish on any trip

Ocean Pout*


No limit

April 1 – June 30


Pollock*

19 inches

No limit

Gill net: April 1 – June 30


Rainbow Smelt (saltwater)

No min. length

4 liquid quarts/day

Net or Weirs:
March 1 – December 15 Inland of Memorial Bridge (Portsmouth)

  • Head and tail intact
  • Bow nets and dip nets held in hand may be used in:
    Oyster, Squamscott, Bellamy, and Lamprey Rivers
  • Harvest Permit required for nets (see Coastal Harvest)
  • Commercial saltwater license required to sell

Redfish*

7 inches

No limit

Gill net: April 1 – June 30


River Herring (Alewife/
Blueback Herring)

No min. length

No limit

Closed to all harvest in NH waters


Sharks — Blue,
Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Thresher

No min. length

No limit

No closed season

  • Porbeagle — no commercial take in state waters
  • All sharks — head, fins and tail must remain attached through landing
  • Additional federal regulations apply in federal waters (call 1-978-281-9315)

Striped Bass

No min. length

No limit

Closed

Take by netting prohibited; sale prohibited

Sturgeon

No min. length

No limit

Closed

Take and possession prohibited

Summer Flounder*

No min. length

No limit

Closed

Take prohibited

White Hake*

No min. length

No limit

April 1 – June 30


White Perch

No min. length

No limit

Closed

Sale is prohibited

Windowpane Flounder*

No min. length

No limit

April 1 – June 30


Winter Flounder *

12 inches

No limit

April 1 – June 30

If not federally permitted for groundfish, may possess up to 500 lbs./vessel

Witch Flounder*

13 inches

No limit

April 1 – June 30


Yellowtail Flounder*

12 inches

No limit

April 1 – June 30