March 15, 2021
Highlights of Proposed 2022-2025 Fish Code Regulation Changes
Public Hearing April 22, Comment by May 14
New Jersey’s Fish and Game Council (Council) and NJDEP’s Fish and Wildlife are proposing amendments to the 2018 – 2019 Fish Code (pdf, 265kb). The proposed amendments are scheduled to be published in the March 15, 2021, New Jersey Register, initiating the sixty-day public comment period which will end on May 14, 2021. (See the Notice of Rule Proposal at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices/20210315a.html for a link to the full proposal.)
The Fish Code governs when, by what means, at which locations, in what numbers, and at what sizes, fish, and certain turtles and frogs may be pursued, caught, killed, or possessed in fresh waters of the state. Since the turn of the 20th century, the Fish Code has provided a system for the protection, propagation, introduction and conservation of freshwater fish in this State and for their use and development for public recreation and food supply. Biennial revisions of season dates, creel limits and other regulations based on scientific investigation and research ensures the greatest likelihood of success in reaching these goals.
A virtual public hearing concerning the proposed amendments will be held on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.Fish Code Public Hearing Log-in Information:
Attend Virtual Public Meeting using computer, tablet or smartphone.
To attend via dial-up using your phone:
872-240-3212 (Toll Free)
Access Code: 692-725-637
The public is encouraged to submit comments electronically by May 14, 2021 at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments.
Comments may be also be submitted in hard copy to:
ATTN: DEP Docket No. 03 -21-02
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
2022 Fish Code Comments
New Jersey Fish and Wildlife
Lisa Barno, Assistant Director
Mail Code 501-03, PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
For a complete summary of the proposed rule changes please refer to the DEP Notice of Rule Proposal.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PROPOSED REGULATION CHANGES
- Add season dates for the 2022-2025 Trout Seasons. The existing Fish Code (pdf, 265kb) only covers trout season dates through 2021. The proposed amendments will establish Opening Day of Trout Season for the next four years, as well as associated pre-season closure and in-season stocking dates. Dates proposed are consistent with previous season schedules.
- Establish a statewide 12-inch minimum size limit and a daily creel limit of two fish per day for Atlantic (landlocked) salmon. This will allow the current stocking program to be expanded beyond designated Holdover Trout Lakes into other trout stocked waters.
- Remove Hook’s Creek Lake from Fish and Wildlife’s Trout Stocking Program. Due to elevated salinity levels resulting from saltwater intrusion, Hook’s Creek Lake can no longer support freshwater fish. It has not been stocked with trout since 2018 when freshly stocked trout died shortly after stocking.
- Add three species of fish to the potentially dangerous fish species list. Black Bass, other than Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Blue Catfish, and the Round Goby are proposed to be added as potentially dangerous fish species which may threaten the structure of indigenous and established fish populations. Populations of these species are expanding in nearby states threatening New Jersey’s freshwater fisheries resources. In 2020, a small Blue Catfish was caught in the mouth of Alloway Creek, a tributary to the Delaware River.
- Clarify NOAC effective upon filing. Clarify that Notices of Administrative Change utilized to comply with season, size, gear and possession limits for migratory species in order comply with fishery management plans approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) or to maintain consistency with any Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council plan adopted by the National Marine Fisheries Service, are effective upon filing. Migratory species include Alewife, American Eel, American Shad, Blueback Herring, Hickory Shad, and Striped Bass.