Commercial Marine Fishing Regulations

Reporting Requirements

  • Holders of permits for coastal waters fishing activities must submit monthly reports.
  • Forms available from Fish and Game Marine Division.
  • Participation in National Marine Fisheries Service Vessel Trip Report program required for those with federal permits for specific species.

Groundfish Regulations

  • No mobile gear allowed for finfish or crustaceans harvesting in state waters.
  • Minimum mesh size for gillnets and mobile gear: 6.5 inches for taking, transporting, or possessing groundfish.
  • Federally permitted vessels must adhere to current federal trip limits for groundfish.

New Hampshire Commercial Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Reporting Requirements

  • Holders of coastal waters fishing permits must submit monthly reports.
  • Forms available from Fish and Game Marine Division.
  • Participation in National Marine Fisheries Service Vessel Trip Report program required for those with federal permits for specific species.

Species Regulations

Species Min. Length (Total Length) Limit Closed Season/Day Special Rules
American Eel 9 inches No limit Fishway closures: October 2 – June 14 Harvest Permit required if taken by any method other than angling
American Plaice* 12 inches See footnote** Gill net: April 1 – June 30
American Shad No min. length No limit No closed season All shad taken in State waters must be immediately released Commercial landing cannot exceed 5% of the total landing by weight per trip
Atlantic Cod* 19 inches See footnote** April 1 – June 30
Atlantic Halibut* 41 inches 1 fish per trip/vessel Gill net: April 1 – June 30 Head and tail intact
Atlantic Menhaden No min. length 6,000 lbs./day once state quota harvested Jan 1 – June 14 Only non-directed or small scale gears permitted in state waters (call 868-1095 for list of allowable gears)
Atlantic Sea Herring No min. length Contact Marine Division for current trip limits: (603) 868-1095 September 23 – November 3 Fish and Game Director may revise closure dates Max. incidental catch = 2,000 lbs./day during specific area closures
Atlantic Wolffish No min. length No limit Closed Taking and possession prohibited
Black Sea Bass 11 inches No limit No closed season Length does not include filament/tail extension
Bluefin Tuna 73 inches CFL*** Variable; see website No closed season Under federal management; contact NMFS — 1-888-USA-TUNA or hmspermits.noaa.gov; Commercial saltwater license required for sale
Bluefish No min. length No limit October 1 – June 30 (by any method)
Dogfish, Spiny No min. length Contact Marine Division for current trip limits: (603) 868-1095 May 1 – June 30 Subject to additional closures Finning prohibited
Haddock* 16 inches See footnote** April 1 – June 30 Head and tail intact, unless fillet is 10 inches minimum
Monkfish 17 inches No limit No closed season Tails: minimum 11 inches; measured from the anterior portion of the fourth cephalic dorsal spine to the end of the caudal fin
Ocean Pout* See footnote** Closed Take and possession prohibited
Pollock* 19 inches See footnote** Gill net: April 1 – June 30
Rainbow Smelt (saltwater) No min. length 4 liquid quarts/day Net or Weirs: March 1 – December 15 Inland of Memorial Bridge (Portsmouth) Head and tail intact
Redfish* 7 inches See footnote** Gill net: April 1 – June 30
River Herring (Alewife/Blueback Herring) No min. length No limit Closed to all harvest in NH waters
Sharks — Blue and Thresher No min. length No limit No closed season All sharks — head, fins and tail must remain attached through landing Additional federal regulations apply in federal waters (call 1-978-281-9315)
Sharks — Shortfin Mako and Porbeagle See Special Rules
Striped Bass No min. length No limit Closed Take by netting prohibited; sale prohibited
Sturgeon No min. length No limit Closed Take and possession prohibited
Summer Flounder* No min. length See footnote** Closed Take prohibited
White Hake* No min. length See footnote** Gill net: April 1 – June 30
White Perch No min. length No limit Closed Sale is prohibited
Windowpane Flounder* No min. length See footnote** Closed Take and possession prohibited
Winter Flounder * 12 inches See footnote** April 1 – June 30 If not federally permitted for groundfish, may possess up to 500 lbs./vessel
Witch Flounder* 13 inches See footnote** Gill net: April 1 – June 30
Yellowtail Flounder* 12 inches See footnote** Gill net: April 1 – June 30
  • All groundfish species that are filleted and skinned must retain at least 2 square inches of contiguous skin intact for identification purposes.

** Non-federally permitted vessels fishing in state waters with a commercial saltwater license are restricted to current daily trip limits for common pool vessels pursuant to 50CFR648.86. Federally permitted vessels, current federal regulations and trip limits apply.

*** Curved fork length — See definition on Definitions.

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