RFA Reminds Coastal Anglers of New Regulations

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RFA Reminds Coastal Anglers of New Regulations
With the opening of the 2021 inshore striped bass season tomorrow and the start of spring just a few weeks away, the New Jersey Chapter of the RFA wants to make NJ anglers aware of pending regulatory changes for the upcoming season. The RFA-NJ would like to remind our members that Monday March 1st brings the following changes to NJ saltwater fishing regulations.
  • The inshore striped bass fishery opens on March 1st, with the same size and bag limit as 2020; 1 fish, 28”- less than 38”. The biggest change is that circle hooks will be required to be used when fishing for striped bass with natural bait. While there has been some discussion to allow for limited exemptions to the circle hook mandate in certain circumstances, (tube/worm, pork rind/buck tail, eel skin/plug, rigged eel), none of those exemptions have been approved in New Jersey for the 2021 fishing season.
  • Winter flounder also opens up March 1st with a 2 fish bag limit and a 12” minimum size limit.
  • Tautog (Blackfish) closes on Sunday February 28th and will reopen again on April 1st with a 15″ minimum size limit and a 4 fish bag limit.
  • Black Sea bass regulations for 2021 are expected to remain the same as 2020 which included a May 23-June 19 season with a 10 fish bag limit and 12.5” size limit, a July 1-August 31 season with a 2 fish bag limit and a 12.5” size limit, and an October 22-December 31 season with a 15-fish bag limit and a 13” size limit.
  • Thursday March 4th the NJ Marine Fisheries Council will meet virtually. On the agenda is the setting of the 2021 summer flounder season. Bag and size limits will remain the same as last year, 3 fish with an 18″ minimum size. Special regulations apply for Island Beach State Park and the Delaware Bay, see here. There are two options for the start and close dates for the 2021 season;
  1. May 22 through September 19
  2. May 28 through September 28
  • 2021 stands to be a busy year for other regulatory action. The Mid Atlantic Council is expected to take final action on the commercial/recreational allocations on Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass. Written comments can be submitted through March 16, 2021 through this link, SUBMIT COMMENTS
  • The Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council is also gathering public comment and holding public hearings on the bluefish rebuilding plan and the commercial/recreational allocation. The hearing scheduling and how to submit comments can be found here, BLUEFISH
  • The Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission will be holding public hearings on Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Striped Bass plan. The amendment will address important aspects of the plan such as goals and objectives as well as biological reference points which include threshold and rebuilding targets. The public information document along with the public hearing schedule for Amendment 7 can be found here, STRIPED BASS AMENDMENT 7.