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Public Hearing on Proposed Changes in Rules for Groundfish, Tuna and Aquaculture

Doug Grout: (603) 868-1095
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211

July 10, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. -- A public hearing on proposed marine rule changes affecting size limits for bluefin tuna, recreational bag limit and seasons for haddock and/or cod, and restrictions on shellfish harvesting in licensed aquaculture locations in New Hampshire waters will be held on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801.


"The proposed rules for bluefin tuna, cod and haddock are designed to reflect the size and possession limits in federal waters," said Doug Grout, NH Fish and Game Marine Fisheries Division Chief.  "The proposed aquaculture rule is intended prevent the general public from harvesting shellfish being raised in a licensed aquaculture site."


The NH Fish and Game Department is proposing to implement or adjust the following rules in state waters:


  • Require that all cod caught by recreational anglers be immediately released year round.
  • For haddock, decrease the recreational bag limit from 15 to 12 per day.
  • Increase the seasonal closure period for recreationally caught haddock to September 17 through October 31, and March 1 through April 14.
  • For bluefin tuna, implement a 73 inch commercial size limit, a 27 inch recreational size limit, and federal seasonal possession limits.
  • Prohibit the take of certain shellfish from licensed aquaculture sites.


Also at this hearing, the Department is seeking input from the public on the general concept of having different bag limits, seasons, and/or size limits for recreational anglers fishing from party and charter boats versus those fishing from private boats or from shore.  This year, the New England Fishery Management Council’s Groundfish Committee proposed to have different haddock bag limits and seasonal closures for anglers on party and charter boats versus those fishing from private boats in order to constrain the catch to the allowable  catch limit (quota) for recreational anglers. While the proposal was not ultimately recommended by the full Council or implemented by the NOAA Fisheries, the concept may be considered again in the future.


The complete rulemaking notice, with original and proposed rule language for these proposals, can be viewed at


Written comments must be received by August 1, 2017.  Send to: (use the rule name in your subject line); or write to Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to (603) 271-5829.


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