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Public Comment Sought for New Recreational Cobia Regulations


January 27, 2021

The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council is seeking public input regarding a mandatory change of its recreational cobia fishery regulations. Options for new regulations are described below.

Anglers are encouraged to submit comments pertaining to their preferred option. Comments will be presented at the Council's virtual meeting on March 4, 2021. The deadline to submit input via e-mail is February 25, 2021; however public attendees are welcome to provide in-person comments at the March 4 Council meeting. E-mail comments can be sent to staff biologist Michael Auriemma at Please note: these measures are only applicable to the recreational sector; there are no changes to the commercial cobia fishery regulations at this time.

Background Information

The cobia fishery is managed coastwide by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). New Jersey is a de minimis participant in the recreational cobia fishery (recreational landings are less than 1% of the coastwide quota). Under provisions of ASMFC's Cobia Fishery Management Plan (FMP), de minimis states must select their regulations from two choices: match the nearest non-de minimis state's regulations or adopt the de minimis-only regulations option provided by the FMP. New Jersey currently matches the nearest non-de minimis neighboring state, Virginia (VA). The current regulations are summarized below:

2020 NJ Recreational Cobia Regulations
Bag Limit 1 fish
Vessel Limit 3 fish
Size Minimum 40" TL
Season June 1 - Sept. 30

Recent review of recreational cobia landings in VA revealed harvest was occurring over target levels. In effort to reduce harvest to target levels, VA has adjusted its regulations for 2021. Thus, New Jersey must update its 2021 regulations to continue matching VA or change to the FMP de minimis option.

New Regulations Options

Match New VA Regulations Option
Bag Limit 1 fish
Vessel Limit 2 fish
Size Minimum 40" TL,
1 fish over 50" TL
Season June 15 - Sept. 15
Prohibition on Gaffing*
(*It is not required that NJ implement a gaffing prohibition.)
FMP De Minimis Option
Bag/Vessel Limit 1 fish
Size Minimum 37" TL
No Seasonal Restrictions

For more details on this issue, please reference the summary linked below containing slides from the January 7, 2021 Marine Fisheries Council meeting presentation:
2021 Recreational Cobia Regulations Changes (pdf, 270kb)

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Last Updated: January 27, 2021