NJ Saltwater Fishing License: A Complete Guide for 2024

The state of New Jersey requires all saltwater anglers ages 16 and older to register with the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program before fishing in marine waters. This free registration can be easily obtained online when purchasing hunting or fishing licenses through the NJ Online Licensing System.

Why Register for the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry?

The primary purpose of the saltwater registry is to create a comprehensive contact list for distributing surveys that estimate recreational fishing activity in New Jersey’s marine waters. This data is crucial for scientists and managers to accurately assess overall recreational catch and fishing effort, which directly informs regulatory decisions aimed at achieving sustainable saltwater fisheries.

In 2022 alone, over 138,000 individuals registered for the program, with 68% being NJ residents. Registrations came from all 50 states, 2 U.S. territories, and 42 countries, highlighting the popularity of New Jersey’s diverse saltwater fishing opportunities.

How to Register for the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry

  1. Visit the NJ Online Licensing System and create an account.
  2. Select the “NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry” option.
  3. Provide the required contact information.
  4. Print your registration, which should be immediately available.

Both residents and non-residents can sign up for the registry, which must be renewed annually as registrations expire at the end of each calendar year. It’s important to note that while the saltwater registry is free, separate fishing licenses are required for freshwater fishing in NJ, and additional permits may be needed for activities like shellfishing or crabbing.

Penalties for Fishing Without Registration

Recreational saltwater fishing without proper registry can result in fines of up to $50 for individual anglers. Fines for for-hire vessel owners or operators fishing without registration are higher, ranging from $100 to $200.

Get Involved in Managing NJ’s Saltwater Fisheries

Recreational anglers can actively participate in the management of New Jersey’s saltwater fisheries by providing public comments or joining advisory committees that provide input to the NJ Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC). The NJMFC advises the NJ Department of Environmental Protection on managing marine resources, including setting seasons, size limits, and possession limits for various species like striped bass, black sea bass, and sharks.

Anglers can also contribute valuable data by participating in fisheries surveys such as:

  • NJ Volunteer Angler Survey
  • NJ Recreational Striped Bass Bonus Program
  • ACCSP Recreational Tilefish Survey


To summarize, New Jersey requires free annual registration for recreational marine fishing instead of traditional licenses or fees. The saltwater registry program collects vital data that enables the sustainable management of the state’s popular recreational fisheries. Anglers should make sure to renew their registration each year and actively participate in public surveys or advisory committees whenever possible to help shape the future of fishing in New Jersey.


  1. NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program
  2. NJ Saltwater Anglers Must Register Annually
  3. NJ Marine Fishing Seasons & Limits
  4. NJ Online Licensing System
  5. Rutgers NJAES Fisheries & Aquaculture
  6. NJDEP Marine Recreational Fishing
  7. NJ Marine Seasons & Regulations
  8. NJ Attorney General POSSE Licensing
  9. NJ Marine Fisheries Council
  10. NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Details

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