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Governor Signs Bill Establishing New Size Limits for Striped Bass

September 29, 2004

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announces that there are new size limits for striped bass fishing. The new measures bring New Jersey into compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) plan for striped bass and prevent a ban on striped bass fishing.

The new requirements signed into law by Governor James E. McGreevey, allow anglers to take two fish each day—one measuring 24 inches or greater to less than 28 inches and the other measuring 34 inches or greater.

The regulations governing recreational striped bass fishing in New Jersey are set by state legislation. Previously, under the former recreational striped bass fishing regulations, New Jersey anglers were allowed to keep one fish each day measuring 24 inches or greater to less than 28 inches and a second fish 28 inches or greater.

The new program adjusts the upper size minimum to keep New Jersey's annual striper catch in line with conservation goals set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which administers a coast-wide Striped Bass Management Plan.

The new law also allows vessels, licensed to accommodate 15 or more passengers, to obtain a permit to fillet any striped bass harvested on a given trip in accordance with the fillet permit laws established by the Department. There was no provision in the past that allowed party boats to fillet striped bass under a fillet permit.

The new regulations do not change the limit of the Striped Bass Bonus Program, which will remain at one fish at 28 inches or greater. However, no more bonus cards will be issued for the 2004 striped bass season since the bonus program quota will likely be reached with the amount of cards that have already been issued.

There are currently more than 29,000 cards in circulation between individual participants and the party/charter fleet. The remaining quota for the 2004 Bonus Program is approximately 281,000 pounds equating to an estimated 15,000 to 23,000 striped bass 28 inches or greater. During the September to December period in 2003, New Jersey harvested nearly 83,000 striped bass in the 28" to less than 34" range so it is likely many Bonus cards will be filled.

The only means of harvesting a striped bass 28 inches to less than 34 inches (slot fish) is through participation in the Striped Bass Bonus Program.

The 2004 Bonus Program will be suspended if the quota is reached before the end of the season and all participants involved with the program will be notified through normal DEP procedures if that occurs.

Anyone who mailed Striped Bass Bonus Program applications to the Division of Fish and Wildlife and did not receive Bonus cards thus far in 2004, will not receive any this year. Issuance of striped bass bonus cards for 2005 will be evaluated later this year to determine the best program design. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was formed by fifteen Atlantic coast states (Maine through Florida, including Pennsylvania) in 1942 to assist in managing and conserving coastal fishery resources.

New Jersey Striped Bass Daily Catch Limits
1 Fish At least 24 inches or greater to less than 28 inches
1 Fish 34 inches or greater
1 Fish 28 inches or greater with Striped Bass Bonus Program Card

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2004
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: September 29, 2004