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Freshwater Herring Closure

FEBRUARY 16, 2012

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:25-6.17, upon this public notice, the New Jersey Fish and Game Council, in coordination with the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council, and the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, has modified the regulations for river herring in freshwater.

These changes are necessary to comply with Amendment 2 of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Fisheries Management Plan for Shad and River Herring (FMP). Amendment 2 of the ASMFC fishery management plan requires the closing of the recreational and commercial harvest of migratory river herring in the waters of a state that does not have an ASMFC approved river herring sustainable management plan. These closures are a result of significant coast wide declines of river herring stocks. New Jersey does not have sufficient information to determine if the State's river herring stocks are sustainable.

The term river herring is collectively applied to two species of fish, the alewife (Alosa aestivalis), and blueback herring (Alosa psuedoharengus). The fresh waters of New Jersey have both migratory, and landlocked populations of herring. Migratory populations reside in the marine environment and migrate each spring into freshwater rivers and streams, and even into some lakes to spawn. Landlocked populations do not migrate and complete their entire life cycle in a number of freshwater lakes across the state. There are no distinctive identifying characteristics to determine between a landlocked or migratory herring regardless of species. Individuals in landlocked populations, however, are notably smaller in size than their migratory counterparts.

Amendment 2 of the ASMFC plan applies to the state's entire population of migratory herring in both marine and fresh waters. Compliance with the ASMFC plan requires the closure of both the state's marine water and freshwater fisheries for migratory herring.

In order to comply with the required fishery closure for migratory herring, while still allowing landlocked fisheries to remain open the Fish and Game Council in coordination with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, has adopted the following:

1. The possession, take, attempt to take, sale or purchase of alewife or blueback herring from any freshwater stream or river is prohibited.

2. Up to ten alewife or blueback herring, no greater than six inches in length, may be taken for personal use, from freshwater lakes in Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties, and from Spruce Run Reservoir, located in Hunterdon County. Landlocked herring taken from lakes within these counties may only be used on the lake from which they were taken. Any unused herring must be returned to the waterbody upon the conclusion of the angler's fishing trip. They may not be transported away from the shoreline of the lake by any mechanism. They may not be sold.

3. For all other freshwater lakes, regardless of ownership (public or private) only purchased herring, no greater than six inches in length, may be possessed for up to seven days from date of purchase, when accompanied by a receipt. The receipt must list the name, address and telephone number of the place of purchase, date of purchase, and quantity purchased. This receipt must be without erasures or alterations of any kind and must have a control number.

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2012
Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: February 16, 2012