NJ Angler Registration & “Bonus” Striper Tallies For 2020 - The Fisherman

NJ Angler Registration & “Bonus” Striper Tallies For 2020

In an official New Jersey Marine Fisheries Administration monthly report for December of 2020, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW) provided an update on the number of angler registered to fish in marine waters for last season as well as the final tallies in the Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP) for the year.

According to the report, there were 162,544 individuals and 705 for-hire vessels registered in the state’s saltwater angler registry as of December 14, 2020.  That tally represents a 5% increase over registered anglers in 2019 (154,827) and a decrease by just over 3% in the number of for-hire vessels (728) registered in the previous year.

In 2006 NOAA Fisheries was charged with the creation of a universal phonebook – or registry – of all current saltwater anglers in the United States. The registry was developed to allow NOAA to quickly and easily contact current saltwater anglers in an effort to gain more accurate and timely information on recreational fisheries. States were allowed to establish their own registry program for saltwater anglers that fished in their state.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection established its own registry program, the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program, to exempt saltwater recreational anglers fishing in New Jersey’s marine and tidal waters from the federal registry and the $15 federal registration fee imposed in 2011. The registration is free for all saltwater anglers who fish in New Jersey marine waters and must be updated every year.

To register to fish in New Jersey coastal waters go to saltwaterregistry.nj.gov.

As for last year’s SBBP tally, a total of 8,696 individuals and 165 party/charter boats were enrolled in the 2020 striped bass bonus fishery which closed January 1, 2021.  According to preliminary 2020 data from NJDFW, the bonus harvest for the 2020 season was 33,524 pounds from 5,189 tagged fish reported back. This represents 15.5 % of the total 215,912-pound quota, the highest bonus harvest since 2004.

New Jersey is allocated a commercial harvest quota of striped bass under the Striped Bass Interstate Fisheries Management Plan as administered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Since New Jersey does not allow netting or sale of striped bass, this quota was transferred to the recreational fishing sector resulting in the origin of the SBBP.

The current allocation from ASMFC is annually distributed between individual anglers and party/charter boats through the SBBP.  Should New Jersey overshoot its quota through the voluntary SBBP program, any overage would be subtracted from the future year’s quota. Although this program does allow for the harvest of an additional striped, NJDFW encourages catch and release whenever possible so this species can prosper for future generations.

The 2021 SBBP program will get underway again on May 15; as in 2020, those holding a valid bonus permit may keep one tagged fish 24 inches to less than 28 inches.  For participation and reporting details go to www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/bonusbas.htm or do an online search of “striped bass bonus program NJ.”