Posted February 4, 2024

 In 2024, You must obtain your New Jersey Saltwater Registry

You must obtain your saltwater registry because the information provided is critical to the management of our salt water fisheries – and it’s the law.

The collection of recreational fisheries harvest data has been a critical component in the establishment of our marine fisheries quotas for years.  Unfortunately, the collection of accurate data from recreational New Jersey fishermen has historically been poor at best and in many cases totally inaccurate.   This has resulted in our fishermen being subject to lower harvest quotas and shorter fishing seasons.  It has also allowed other states, such as our neighbor to the north, New York, who have better data to attack our quotas and gain additional fish for their fishermen.

In 2011 New Jersey established its first Saltwater Registry as required by the National Maine Fisheries Service https://www.commerce.gov/bureaus-and-offices/noaa/nmfs  (NMFS)

  to establish a base of fishermen in order to comply the federal Magnuson-Stevens Act.  You can sign up on line and it’s free and easy, use this link.https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/fishing/marine/saltwater-registry/

 The Registry was instituted to allow New Jersey and NMFS to establish a base of fishermen to collect more accurate data which will allow our biologists to better manage our marine fisheries.  By signing up for the Salt Water Registry you will be counted and enter the pool of anglers who might be interviewed. (possible intercepts.)

It has been said for years that 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish. The 10% are quick to sign up and report their catches. The other 90% are less likely to take part. It is just as important that you report your catch or lack of catch, because if you are not included then the data collected will show an inflated harvest. We have over 700,000 salt water anglers who take over 1 million fishing trips each year. Currently less than 120,000 fishermen have signed up to the Salt Water Registry.  Last year NJF&W managed only slightly over 5,000 angler interviews, which provides poor and inaccurate data.

 So, you have two good reasons to sign up for the free Salt Water Registry.  Number one is to help produce better, more accurate data which will enable our biologists to defend our quotas and argue for more liberal seasons, sizes and bag limits for NJ anglers.  Number two, since the legal requirement has been in place for over 13 years, the free ride is over.  Conservation Police Officers will now begin issuing summonses to those failing to comply which could cost you from $25.00 to $100.00 dollars if you are stopped.  There is no reason to subject yourself to such a penalty when you can sign up on the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s web site by following this link https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/fishing/marine/saltwater-registry/

Or if you want to work harder go to The NJ Fish and Wildlife web site. 

Scroll way down the introductory page and at the bottom in the left column you will see Marine, click on it. Go down the page to Seasons and Regulations. Click on Learn More.  Scroll down to recreational regulations and find the link https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/fishing/marine/saltwater-registry/

and click on it. Scroll down and you will see Register. You have arrived. 


 It’s a little more complicated if you have never had a license in New Jersey and do not have a Conservation Identification Number (CID#) but once you signup you are in the system for life.  You will also be required to complete the Child Support Registration.  


If this is the first time you are signing up, have your Social Security number and driver’s license handy.  Should you run into a problem you can contact Marine Fisheries by phone (609) 748-2020. 

If you don’t have a computer or have a printer available, you may want to ask a friend who does to help you register and print a copy.

As a side note, the NJOA along with several other organizations are currently working with Senator Vin Gopal from District 11 to secure a permanent reoccurring source of funding for Marine Fisheries staff in the State Budget.  Stay tuned to this one because we will need your help down the line to make this happen.  This would kill the need for a salt water license once and for all and allow New Jersey to compete with other states on an even playing field.

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