DURHAM, N.H. – Saltwater anglers heading for the coast this
spring should be aware that as of January 1, 2011, all persons age
16 and older fishing in coastal and estuarine waters of New
Hampshire need to purchase a N.H. Saltwater Recreational Fishing
License. This includes anglers, spearfishers and persons using
other gear types to take, possess, or transport marine finfish for
personal use and which are not sold.
Licenses are available online at www.fishnh.com or wherever
freshwater fishing and hunting licenses are sold. The license costs
just $16 (of which $1 is an agent fee) for both residents and
nonresidents. Anglers fishing from a state-licensed charter or
party boat do not need to purchase a saltwater license to fish from
those boats, but do need them when they are fishing from shore or
on a private boat.
The New Hampshire license includes some reciprocity with
neighboring states– if you hold a N.H. Recreational Saltwater
Fishing License, you may legally fish in Maine up to Cape Neddick
and in all coastal and estuarine waters of Massachusetts. Please
note that N.H. residents cannot fish in New Hampshire with a
saltwater license, registry or endorsement from other states
including Massachusetts or Maine. N.H. residents must have a New
Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing License to fish in tidal
and estuarine waters of New Hampshire.
The new license allows New Hampshire to meet federal
requirements while assuring that angler dollars stay in the state
instead of going to the federal government. Through the Magnuson
Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006, Congress created a National
Saltwater Angler Registry, enabling the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to better estimate the health of
marine fisheries so that more effective regulations can be
established to preserve recreational fishing for the anglers,
fishing businesses, coastal communities and millions of Americans
whose lives and livelihoods are connected to saltwater fishing.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service was authorized to charge a fee for the
annual registration beginning this year (now set at $15), but
states are exempt if they set up a recreational saltwater fishing
In 2009, the New Hampshire State Legislature enacted the law
that provides for the current New Hampshire saltwater recreational
fishing license, with the revenue to go to the New Hampshire Fish
and Game Department for fisheries and wildlife management. Among
other responsibilities, the N.H. Fish and Game Department works in
partnership with NOAA and other states to manage commercial and
recreational harvest of fish.
A Q&A answering many specific questions about the new
license is available on the Fish and Game website at
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of
the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.