NH Fish and Game Department's Organization and Function
The Mission of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department:
As the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department works in partnership with the public to:
- Conserve, manage and protect these resources and their habitats;
- Inform and educate the public about these resources; and
- Provide the public with opportunities to use and appreciate these resources.
The N.H. Fisheries Commission was organized in 1865 by the N.H. Legislature in an effort to restore sea-running fish to the Merrimack and Connecticut rivers. Later, in 1935, the Legislature greatly expanded the state's role in managing wildlife resources by establishing the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and its commission.
Fish and Game Commission members are appointed by the Governor, in consultation with the N.H. Executive Council. There are 11 members, one from each county in the state, plus one to represent the coastal area. The coastal commissioner must reside in either Portsmouth, Seabrook, Rye, Hampton, North Hampton or New Castle. Commission members must be well informed on the subject of fish and wildlife; no more than six commissioners can be members of the same political party.
The Fish and Game Commission recommends a single executive director candidate to the Governor, following a comprehensive and equitable candidate search. The executive director is then nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Executive Council. Each candidate must be a competent administrator and have knowledge of, and experience in, the requirements for the protection, conservation and restoration of the wildlife resources of the state. The executive director serves for a term of four years, has general supervision and control of all activities, functions and employees of the Fish and Game Department, and enforces all provisions of the laws of this state relating to fish, wildlife and marine resources.
The Fish and Game Department operates under the general supervision of the Office of the Director and serves the public through seven major divisions.
The Office of the Director supports the Commission, oversees the Department operation and through the Director's staff, maintains the Department's legislative, budget, human resources, federal aid, environmental review and landowner relations programs.
The Inland Fisheries Division manages all freshwater fish in state and interstate waters. Fisheries biologists and fish culturists work to provide New Hampshire anglers with prime fishing opportunities, and to protect and restore statewide aquatic habitat in the best interest of the public. This division is responsible for operating the Department's six fish hatcheries, which annually produce about 250 tons of salmonids.
The Law Enforcement Division enforcement all laws, rules and regulations pertaining to fish and wildlife. They also, by law, have responsibility for search and rescue operations and for enforcement of off-highway recreational vehicle regulations.
The Marine Fisheries Division manages saltwater species, including fish, lobsters, clams and oysters. Its concerns reach beyond the New Hampshire boundary, and staff work closely with other states and agencies to protect and maintain marine resources for both commercial and sport fisheries.
The Public Affairs Division takes a proactive approach to issues facing the Department, using an integrated public relations approach. Publications, the World Wide Web, videos, education, marketing, advertising, human dimension research, media relations, fundraising and a range of educational programs enable the delivery of information. Among the programs are hunter, bowhunter and trapper education; Let's Go Fishing and aquatic resources education; teacher training; and a variety of short-term workshops and activity days.
The Business Division issues fishing and hunting licenses and associated permits, and collects the revenue from the sale of these licenses and permits. Division staff supervise the purchase of all equipment, materials, supplies and services; maintain the physical plant of the Fish and Game Department headquarters in Concord, as well as six hatcheries, three education centers and four regional offices; and manage and maintain the Department's vehicles and equipment.
The Wildlife Division manages and maintains the state's game and nongame species at levels consistent with available habitat, and promotes the security of that habitat. Wildlife biologists conduct surveys to monitor populations and oversee applied research that provides them with essential information. The protection, restoration and active management of wildlife habitat of public lands throughout the state is accomplished through the division's staff, who also provide technical assistance to private landowners. Those services also include assistance in preventing or reducing wildlife damage to orchards, agricultural lands and other private property.
The Facilities and Lands Division manages the planning, design and construction of public works projects, such as boat ramps and access sites throughout the state. This division is also responsible for the coordination of land conservation projects, including purchase and sale, easements, land use agreements and/or special use permits.
Fish and Game's four Regional Officesare located in Lancaster, New Hampton, Durham, and Keene. Each house staff members of the fisheries, wildlife and law enforcement divisions. The office in Durham also houses Marine Fisheries Division staff. Click here for more information on the biological field survey activities; conservation partnerships; and fish, wildlife and OHRV enforcement and wilderness rescue work that Fish and Game accomplishes in each of these regional locations.