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New Hampshire

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater Fishing

Joint Enforcement Agreement

Conserving and Protecting Marine Resources

A Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) between the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Law Enforcement Division and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement provides federal funding and resources for patrols, equipment, training and public outreach initiatives that help N.H. Conservation Officers enforce federal marine fisheries regulations.

The key is preventing and detecting marine violations. Through a combination of at-sea patrols, dockside inspections and public outreach, the JEA focuses on increasing voluntary compliance. It also encourages enforcement of state marine fisheries regulations in nearshore waters, including groundfish, lobster, striped bass and tuna patrols. This joint agreement improves our level of service to commercial harvesters and recreational anglers, as well as other coastal organizations and constituents. It significantly enhances Fish and Game’s ability to conserve, manage and protect our marine fisheries resources for future generations.

Fixed Gear Harvesters — Prevent Whale Entanglement

One of the priorities of the JEA is expanding awareness of state and federal regulations now in effect to minimize whale entanglements in buoy lines and other fixed gear. The primary laws in place that affect fixed gear harvesters are as follows:

  • Vertical line marking: Effective January 1, 2022 - One 3-foot yellow mark within 2 fathoms of buoy; and one 12-inch yellow mark in top 50% of buoy line; and one 12-inch yellow mark in bottom 50% of buoy line. Rules will change May 1 2022, contact NHFG Marine Division or for more information.
  • Weak rope or inserts: Effective May 1, 2022 - NOAA approved weak rope or weak insert designs for lobster or crab gear vertical lines.
  • Weak links: Weak links with a breaking strength of 1,100 pounds must be used by gillnet gear seaward of harbor entrances. Weak links must be placed as close as operationally feasible to each individual buoy, flotation, or weighted device.
  • Groundlines: Groundlines between traps or gillnet panels shall be sinking for all gear set seaward of harbor entrances.

Examples of weak link and weak rope/inserts configurations:

  • Weak links – required for gill nets only. Examples shown in images to the right.
  • Weak rope/inserts – required for trap/pot gear - to view examples visit