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New Jersey

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater Fishing

New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife

State of New Jersey

Philip D. Murphy, Governor

Tahesha Way, Lieutenant Governor

Department of Environmental Protection

Shawn LaTourette, Commissioner

New Jersey DEP Fish & Wildlife

Dave Golden, Assistant Commissioner
Lisa Barno, Assistant Director

Joe Cimino, Administrator, Marine Resources Administration

Ginger Kopkash, Assistant Director
Jason Hearon, Assistant Director

Russ Babb, Chief, Marine Habitat and Shellfisheries

Jeff Brust, Chief, Marine Fisheries

Shawn Crouse, Chief, Freshwater Fisheries

Vacant, Chief, Land Management
Al Ivany, Chief, Information and Education
Frank Panico, Chief, Conservation Police
James Oxley, Chief, Wildlife Management

Kathy Clark, Chief, Endangered and Nongame Species

Kim Springer, Chief, Business Administration
Linda DiPiano, Editor

Alanna Newmark, Asst. Editor

New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Councils

Marine Fisheries Council

Richard N. Herb, Acting Chair

Dr. Eleanor Ann Bochenek

Dr. Patrick Donnelly

Warren (Barney) Hollinger

Walter L. Johnson III

Jeff Kaelin

Joe Rizzo

Robert R. Rush, Jr.

Kevin Wark

To contact any member of the Marine Fisheries Council, please email [email protected]

Atlantic Coast Shellfish Council

Walter L. Johnson, III, Chair

George Mathis, Jr., Vice Chair

Paul Felder

Delaware Bay Shellfish Council

Warren (Barney) Hollinger, Chair

Stephen J. Fleetwood, Vice Chair

Richard Malinowski

Scott Sheppard

Where to Write Us

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Fish & Wildlife
MC 501-03 • P.O. Box 420 • Trenton, NJ 08625-0420 •

Our Mission

To protect and manage the state’s fish and wildlife to maximize their long-term ­biological, recreational and economic value for all New Jerseyans.

Our Goals

  • To maintain New Jersey’s rich variety of fish and wildlife species at stable, healthy levels and to protect and enhance the many habitats on which they depend.
  • To educate New Jerseyans on the values and needs of our fish and wildlife and to foster a positive human/wildlife co-existence.
  • To maximize the recreational and commercial use of New Jersey’s fish and wildlife for both present and future generations.

Tips for Releasing Fish Unharmed

Proper handling and releasing techniques reduce fish mortality.

  • Land fish quickly, except when retrieving from depths of 40-feet or more. Fighting a fish to exhaustion increases mortality as does rapidly bringing fish up through the changing water pressure and temperature gradients.
  • Minimize the effect of barotrauma, which occurs when gases expand faster than they can diffuse due to decreasing pressure during ascent through the water column. For more information about barotrauma and how to release fish safely visit:
  • Keep fish to be released in the water as much as possible. Plan ahead with tools and camera.
  • Minimize physical injury. Do not touch gills or eyes. Support the weight of the fish along the length of its body. Do not allow fish to flop around on deck.
  • Carefully remove hooks using a dehooker or needle-nose pliers.
  • Use non-stainless hooks, which rust away quickly if one must be left in a gut-hooked fish. Be prepared with a long-reach tool to cut the leader at the hook, close to the hook’s eyelet.
  • To bring a fish out of the water momentarily, use a neoprene net or one of knotless nylon. Handle the fish carefully using wet hands, wet cotton gloves or similar material to minimize loss of the fish’s protective slime layer.
  • To revive lethargic fish, hold in a normal, upright position. Move the fish forward in an “S” or figure-8 pattern so that water flows over the gills only from front to back.
  • Use circle hooks (non-offset) for species that bite and flee, such as striped bass, weakfish or sea bass. Consider pinching hook barbs with pliers.

Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact


New Jersey participates in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact which means that a violator with repeat convictions of New Jersey marine fishing laws may face license suspensions in participating states.

ATTENTION: Recreational Saltwater Anglers

Register. It's free and required!

New for 2024: Saltwater Registrations can now be obtained and reprinted online at, where all other Fish and Wildlife licenses and permits are available.

The saltwater registry acts as a current contact list for mail and telephone surveys. Participation in the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP) is vital in achieving accurate recreational fishing estimates, helping to ensure healthy fisheries for future generations.

Do your part to help maintain sustainable fisheries and join the thousands of other anglers who have already registered with the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. In 2023, the NJSRRP had 141,216 individual registrants and 677 for-hire vessels. The total number of individuals registered was at an all-time low in 2022, with a slight uptick in 2023. The number of registered for-hire vessels decreased by 55 in 2023.

* Anglers are reminded that registrations expire at the end of each calendar year and must be renewed annually. For more information on the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program and to register, visit

2024 Sedge Island Summer Programs

Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center is offering a variety of programs in the summer of 2024 for students, adults and families. Come connect with the beauty of Barnegat Bay while learning about salt marsh ecology through fishing, clamming, and discovering what's edible in the bay!

Visit for details, date and cost or contact Karen Byrne at [email protected].

Mark Your Calendar for the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament!

May 19, 2024

Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park, NJ

Come celebrate the 33rd year of the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament! Enjoy a great day of surf fishing with family and friends.

The individual who catches the overall largest fish wins the "Governor's Award" and will have their name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park. Prizes are awarded to winners in a variety of age group and fish species categories.

All funds raised by the tournament go toward improving beach access, surf fishing instruction programs and equipment, plus marine education and restoration projects.

The tournament is sponsored by NJDEP’s Fish & Wildlife and State Park Service, New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Jersey Coast Anglers Association and New Jersey Beach Buggy Association.

For more information visit: or email [email protected].

HUNTERS and ANGLERS: Know Before You Go!

Two separate fish and wildlife convictions for violating any New Jersey saltwater, freshwater, trapping or hunting law within a five-year period will cause you to lose your hunting and fishing privileges for two to five-years! This means convictions for taking under-sized striped bass or over limit striped bass in marine waters can prevent you from hunting!

Wildlife management area violations such as possession of alcohol, swimming, ATV use and illegal dumping also fall under fish and wildlife offenses and can result in license revocation.

Don’t take a chance on losing your license because you heard the wrong information! If you have any questions regarding hunting or fishing regulations, please call your regional Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement office before going in the field.

The overwhelming majority of New Jersey hunters, trappers and anglers are ethical, law-abiding citizens with a low tolerance for those not willing to follow the laws. If you see a violation occurring, report it immediately by calling 1-(877) WARN-DEP.

Conservation Police and Regulation Information

Contact a NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Conservation Police office that serves the county where you hunt or fish.

  • Northern Region — (908) 735-8240
    (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties)
  • Central Region — (609) 259-2120
    (Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties)
  • Southern Region — (856) 629-0555
    (Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties)
  • Marine Region — (609) 748-2050
    (coastal and bay areas)
  • To report violations anonymously
    call Operation Game Thief

    (855) OGT-TIPS

Mark Your Calendar for the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament!

Report Abuse of our Outdoor Heritage!


24 Hours a Day, Seven Days a Week

The person who poaches, pollutes habitat and abuses public land tarnishes the image of sportsmen and robs us of our fish and wildlife
as well as tax and license dollars. You can make a difference.

Call OGT to report:

  • Negligent use of firearms
  • Over the limits for game and fish
  • Commercial exploitation of fish and wildlife
  • Pollution of habitat, dumping on state land
  • Destruction of signs and state property
  • Illegal killing, taking or possession of any wildlife

It's Free. It's Confidential.

You May Be Eligible for a Reward.

Funded by the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.

Designed to encourage sportsmen to report poaching and wildlife crimes.

Operation Game Thief — Over the Limit & Undersized Striped Bass

On the evening of April 2, 2023, Conservation Police Officers assigned to the Marine Region responded to an Operation Game Thief complaint in South Amboy, Middlesex County.

The complaint stated two fishermen were keeping undersized and over limit striped bass and putting them into trash bags, which they were then hiding in the brush. Upon inspection, the fishermen were found in possession of several undersized striped bass. The two men were issued summonses for over limit and undersized striped bass.

Calls to (855) OGT-TIPS can be about any violation of NJ’s laws protecting wildlife. Through the Operation Game Thief program, you can help NJ’s Conservation Police Officers defend our living natural resources, and if the information you provide results in a conviction, you may earn a reward too.

Operation Game Thief: (855) OGT-TIPS

Keep Our Water Clean—
Use Pumpouts

Ready To Serve Boaters! Visit marina pumpout facilities or contact one of the pumpout boats. A complete listing of operational pumpout facilities at marinas and detailed information on the pumpout boats can be found at

Proper maintenance and operation of your on-board toilet and holding tank are critical to ensure they function properly.

  • Always use sufficient water when flushing
  • Use toilet paper designed for use in marine/RV systems
  • Have your marina inspect your onboard toilet system to make sure it is operating properly