The Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries is responsible for the propagation, protection and management of the state's freshwater fisheries resources as well as promoting their recreational use. In addition to raising and distributing over 2.7 million fish annually, the Bureau conducts research and management surveys, classifies the state's waterways, provides technical input on a variety of watershed and habitat-based issues. It also facilitates habitat restoration projects, serves as a liaison to a variety of sportsmen groups and provides information to the general public, in a variety of forums, concerning the status of the state's fishery resources. The Bureau also administers eleven different permits to provide for the effective management and protection of the state's aquatic resources.
The Bureau is divided into two units: the Fish Culture Unit, responsible for the raising of 19 species of fish and the stocking of over 200 waterbodies each year, and the Research and Management Unit, responsible for the protection and management of the aquatic resources throughout the state.
The Fish Culture Unit is comprised of the Pequest Trout Hatchery and the Charles O. Hayford Hatchery in Hackettstown. The Pequest Trout Hatchery raises and stocks over 780,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout each year during the spring, fall and winter trout stocking periods. Pequest also provides brown trout for the Division's successful Sea Run Brown Trout program in the Manasquan River. Newly renovated, the Hackettstown Hatchery raises the state's warmwater and coolwater species. The hatchery also coordinates the Division's popular Children's Fishing Derby program and supplies the state's Mosquito Control Commissions with sunfish, killifish and Gambusia to assist with the Commissions' efforts for effective mosquito control.
The Research and Management Unit has personnel in two regionally placed offices: Lebanon Field Office (Hunterdon Co.) and the Southern Regional Office (Camden Co.). The state's aquatic resources are divided into six watershed management areas with one biologist assigned to each. This unit oversees the management and protection of over 7,000 miles of streams and over 400 public lakes. The biologists also carry out a number of freshwater research projects each year.