Despite application delays caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the application process for New Jersey’s Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP) is officially open.  Anglers wishing to participate in the SBBP, which reopened as of May 15, need to download and submit the SBBP application first that’s found at www.njfishandwildlife.com/bonusbas.htm.

Effective May 15, the SBBP regulations are one fish per permit 24 inches to less than 28 inches through the end of the year.  The number of permits issued will be limited at the Division’s discretion based on harvest reports and other factors to ensure that the quota is not exceeded. Bonus harvest reporting is mandatory and must be reported within 24 hours of harvest via online or by calling 609-748-2074.

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 is transferred to the recreational fishing sector by way of the SBBP.

The current allocation from ASMFC is 215,912 pounds to be distributed between individual anglers and party/charter boats. Should NJ overshoot this quota in 2020, any overage would be subtracted from the 2021quota. Although this program does allow for the harvest of an additional striped bass for New Jersey anglers, the Division encourages catch and release whenever possible so this species can prosper for future generations.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife initiated the program in 1990 to allow the harvest of an additional striped bass for New Jersey recreational anglers. Although the program has been modified throughout the years, the main goal of the SBBP is to allow anglers to participate in the management process while enjoying their favorite recreational pastime. It is a popular program and provides valuable data for assessing stock status and fishing trends, making it an integral part of New Jersey’s striped bass management.

In addition to private anglers, the Party/Charter Boat (PCBT) facet of the SBBP is also expected to resume.  Data collected from this program has proved invaluable for managing striped bass. Qualified PCBTs will be issued a limited number of permits allowing customers to keep one Bonus Fish per customer per day.

PCBTs will be required to submit mandatory daily logbooks of their striped bass catch and will also be required to provide mandatory weekly reports of striped bass bonus harvest in order to ensure the quota is not exceeded. Complete instructions are below and will be provided with permits.

For additional information concerning this program or any other striped bass issue, please contact the Division’s Nacote Creek office at 609-748-2020 or sbbp@dep.nj.gov.