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New Jersey

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater Fishing


Open Season

Minimum Length
(fork length)

Harvest & Possession Limit
(per person unless noted)



Aggregated large coastal group

Hammerhead group

Jan 1–May 14 and July 16–Dec 31

Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, and smoothhound:


All other retainable sharks:

Prohibited sharks: Zero allowed possession

Shortfin mako: Zero allowed possession

Smoothhound: No limit

All others: One per person per trip

Use of non-offset, corrodible, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required, except when fishing with flies or artificial lures.

Does not include dogfish. See below for a list of prohibited species.

Non-blacknose small coastal group

No Closed Season

Blacknose group

No Closed Season

Pelagic group

No Closed Season


Some species of sharks may be harvested by recreational fishermen from the shore or from a boat only by hand line or rod and reel. If a shark is caught but not kept, it must be released immediately. Anglers should access the following National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website,, to download helpful materials such as the NOAA Fisheries Shark Identification Placard and the Careful Catch and Release Brochure, which provide a pictorial guide to identifying sharks and tips on handling and releasing large saltwater pelagic fish.

All sharks harvested must have heads, tails and fins attached naturally to the carcass until landed, although anglers may still gut and bleed the carcass. Filleting sharks at sea is prohibited. Refer to the illustration, above, for the proper measurement of fork length.

The 2024 shark regulations complement existing federal shark regulations. However, the following additional measures are required for state waters:

  • In state waters, there is no minimum size limit for non-blacknose small coastal sharks and blacknose sharks in the recreational fishery, but federal regulations include a 54-inch minimum size limit for blacknose and finetooth small coastal sharks.
  • All sharks within the Aggregated Large Coastal and Hammerhead groups will have a closed season within state waters from May 15 through July 15 to protect spawning female sharks during the pupping season.

It is required to use non-offset, corrodible, non-stainless steel circle hooks, except when fishing with flies or artificial lures, when fishing for sharks recreationally.

Note: To differentiate sharks from dogfish—dogfish have flat, tiny teeth; spiny dogfish have dorsal spines in front of the dorsal fins. Neither are present in other sharks.

Shark Species That May Be Kept (Authorized Species): Aggregated Large Coastal Shark—blacktip, bull, lemon, nurse, tiger, spinner; Hammerhead Shark—scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, great hammerhead; Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Shark—Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, finetooth; Blacknose Shark—blacknose; Pelagic Shark—blue, porbeagle, and common thresher.

Shark Species That MUST Be Released (Prohibited Species): Atlantic angel, basking, bigeye sand tiger, bigeye sixgill, bigeye thresher, bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, dusky, Galapagos, longfin mako, narrowtooth, night, oceanic whitetip, sandbar, sand tiger, sevengill, silky, sixgill, smalltail, whale and white.