Frequently Asked Questions - Marine Resources

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Saltwater Recreational Fishing FAQs

Does New Hampshire require a saltwater fishing license for recreational anglers?
Yes. All persons age 16 and older recreationally fishing in coastal and estuarine waters of the state must purchase a N.H. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License. This includes anglers, spearfishers and persons using other gear types who wish to take, possess, or transport marine finfish for personal use and which are not sold. Click here for more information about the saltwater license.

Take Me Fishing - Seashore

Where is a good place to fish from the shore?
Our brochure, Take Me Fishing - NH Seashore offers suggestions for where to fish on the coast, including parking, fishing tips and more. Also, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve offers a list of Great Bay-area access points -- click here.

Are the stripers in?
Anglers begin catching striped bass on New Hampshire's coastline in large numbers in late May and early June, and will catch them throughout the summer months.  Isolated groups of fish can be caught following river herring runs up to coastal dams in the spring.  Check the N.H. Saltwater Fishing Digest for rules regarding fishing near fish ladders and dams on coastal rivers. For updates, check out the N.H. Weekly Fishing Report, a free email report that includes weekly recreational saltwater fishing updates for the N.H. coast, available April through September; to sign up, click here)

I launch my boat in New Hampshire and fish in Maine, where the striped bass regulations are different.  If I catch a legal striper by Maine regulations, but it is not legal by New Hampshire regulations, can I land it in New Hampshire?
No, New Hampshire length limits regarding take, possession, and transport of stripers differ from Maine.  Striped bass legally taken in Maine that do not meet the New Hampshire size and creel restrictions shall only be possessed on the waters of the Piscataqua and Salmon Falls rivers.

All striped bass landed in New Hampshire must meet New Hampshire's size and creel restrictions. No person shall cull any striped bass taken from or while on the waters under the jurisdiction of the state. A person cannot take, possess, or transport striped bass less than 28 inches in total length in New Hampshire.

The striped bass regulations as they appear in the Saltwater Fishing Digest are as follows: minimum length 28 inches; daily limit 2 fish; only 1 fish may be greater than 40" in total length; no closed season. Sale of striped bass is prohibited, regardless of origin. Netting is prohibited except when landing by use of a hand-held dip net. Gaffing is prohibited.  Head and tail must remain intact while on or leaving state waters or shores.
 

General/Miscellaneous FAQs

How can I get a N.H. Saltwater Fishing Digest?
Click here and on the publication cover to download the current NH Saltwater Fishing Digest. You can pick up a printed publication at Fish and Game's headquarters in Concord (603-271-3422) or the Department's Region 3 office in Durham, N.H. (603-868-1095).

Is there a website that has more NH saltwater fishing information?
For the moment, the best resource -- other than this site -- is the N.H. Saltwater Fishing Digest (see previous question).  Another publication called the Saltwater Fishing Guide is a printed booklet containing descriptions of some saltwater species and coastal fishing/boating access sites; to request a copy by mail, call the Region 3 office at 603-868-1095.

Where can I talk to someone concerning questions about saltwater resources or rules?
There are marine biologists and law enforcement personnel at Fish and Game's Region 3 Office (603-868-1095) Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Who do I call if I see a dead or injured seal or other marine mammal? 
Contact the Stranding Hotline (NE Aquarium: 617-973-5247) or (if dead) NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service at 207-780-3241. 

Are NH saltwater fish safe to eat?
Click here for the most recent ocean fish and shellfish consumption guidelines. Or, contact Fish and Game's Region 3 Office at 603-868-1095 or NH Department of Environmental Services at 603-559-1509.

Are NH shellfish safe to eat?
Generally, yes, with exceptions: if there is a Red Tide warning or other shellfish contamination issue, it will be shown on the Clam Flat Status page (click here). Shellfish from closed areas may not be harvested or eaten.

There have been a lot of lobster traps and gear washed up on the beach.  Do you do anything about it?
NH Fish and Game organizes a spring cleanup each year with the NH Commercial Fishermen’s Association to clean up all the lobster gear debris caused by storms, etc.
 

Licensing FAQs

What do I need to allow me to land lobsters that were harvested outside of state waters in NH?
You will need a Wholesale Marine Species License if not licensed to harvest lobsters in state waters. To request this license, contact the Marine Division at (603) 868-1095 or Licensing/Front Desk at (603) 271-3422 between the hours of 8am and 4pm.

Do I need a license to fish in saltwater?
Yes. All persons age 16 and older recreationally fishing in coastal and estuarine waters of the state must purchase a N.H. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License. This includes anglers, spearfishers and persons using other gear types who wish to take, possess, or transport marine finfish for personal use and which are not sold. Click here for more information and a Q&A about the saltwater license. Federal permits may also be required - see www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/neropermits.

Can children fish without a license?
Children under the age of 16, resident or nonresident, are not required to purchase a NH fishing license.

Where can I find how much marine licenses cost?
Costs can be found in the N.H. Saltwater Fishing Digest; click here and on the publication cover at right to download the current Digest.

Where can I get marine licenses?
Print-and-mail applications for many marine licenses are available online (click here); licenses can also be purchased through N.H. Fish and Game Headquarters in Concord, N.H. Recreational saltwater fishing licenses may be purchased online (click here) or from local fish and game license agents (click here for agent list).

Do you sell Fish and Game licenses at the Region 3 Office? 
Licenses are not sold at Fish and Game's Region 3 Office. 

Are applications for marine licenses available through Region 3?
Yes.

Does Fish and Game’s website have a list of licensing agents?
Yes - click here.

Do I need any kind of license to net baitfish?
You will need a Coastal Harvest Permit.  Click here to download an application (PDF) or contact the Marine Division for more information at 603-868-1095.  You will be required to report monthly if issued this permit.

Lobster FAQs

Can I dive for lobster?
No. It is illegal to harvest lobster by diving in the State of New Hampshire.

I haven’t received my lobster trap tags yet.  Do you have a number for Stoffel Seals?
Issues with lobster trap tags must be resolved through the Marine Fisheries Division (603-868-1095), not Stoffel Seals.

What do I need to allow me to land lobsters that were harvested outside of state waters in NH?
You will need a Wholesale Marine Species License if not licensed to harvest lobsters in state waters. To request this license, contact the Marine Division at (603) 868-1095 or Licensing/Front Desk at (603) 271-3422 between the hours of 8am and 4pm.

There have been a lot of lobster traps and gear washed up on the beach.  Do you do anything about it?
NH Fish and Game organizes a spring cleanup each year with the NH Commercial Fishermen’s Association to clean up all the lobster gear debris caused by storms, etc.
 

Shellfish FAQs

Are nonresidents permitted to take clams and oysters?
No, only residents are allowed to purchase licenses for the taking of clams and oysters.

Are the clam flats open this weekend?
Call the Clam Flat Hotline at 1-800-43CLAMS (1-800-432-5267) for the most up-to-date information or click here for the same info on this website.  The hotline is generally updated by Friday afternoon each week.

Do you have maps showing the areas where shellfishing is allowed?
Maps are available in the N.H. Saltwater Fishing Digest (click here and on publication cover at right) or visit the Department of Environmental Services Shellfish Program website

Are NH shellfish safe to eat?
Generally, yes, with exceptions: if there is a Red Tide warning or other shellfish contamination issue, it will be shown on the Clam Flat Status page (click here). Shellfish from closed areas may not be harvested or eaten.


About Us
 
NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

603-271-3421
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