The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and its Division of Fish and Wildlife (Division) announced this week that the Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP) will reopen on September 1 and the Party/Charter Boat facet of the SBBP will be reinstated. Applications for individuals and those in the party and charter boat sector are currently being accepted.

Detailed information about new SBBP procedures, including permits and reporting will be provided through the Division website.

All current permit holders received notice earlier this spring that the old 2015 permits were longer valid and tag holders will automatically receive a new permit prior to September 1. Those permits will be issued first before processing new applications. The number of permits issues will be limited, based on the Division’s discretion, to ensure the 2015 quota is not exceeded.

As of September 1, the new SBBP regulations will be one fish from 24 inches to less than 28 inches in length. As that relates to the current striped bass regulations of one fish 28 inches to less than 43 inches and one fish 43 inches or greater, the Division reminds SBBP tag holders that the order in which striped bass are harvested by anglers does not matter.

According to the Division, data collected from the party and charter boat segment of the program which also reopens on September 1 has proved invaluable for managing striped bass. Qualified businesses will be issued a limited number of permits allowing customers to keep one bonus fish from 24 inches to less than 28 inches, and only one permit may be issued to a customer per day.

Party and charter boats taking part in the SBBP will be required to submit daily logbooks of their striped bass catch and will also be required to provide weekly reports of striped bass bonus harvest in order to ensure the quota is not exceeded.

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 Division 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.

For all information regarding the program and download an application, go to www.njfishandwildlife.com/bonusbas.htm.