Durham, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is announcing changes to the cod and haddock rules for recreational anglers fishing in state waters 0–3 miles from shore. Beginning August 15, 2022, the recreational bag limit for haddock will increase from 15 to 20 fish, the closed season will remain March 1 through March 31, and the minimum size limit will remain at 17 inches. The recreational rules for cod will also change to allow an open season for both private boat and party/charter fishing from September 1 through October 7 and April 1 through April 14 with a possession limit of 1 fish greater than or equal to 22 inches. This is an increase in opportunity for recreationally harvested cod in both the length of the open season and the size limit, while the possession limit remains unchanged at one fish. These rule changes reflect recently announced federal rules for cod and haddock for recreational private boat anglers and party/charter vessels fishing in federal waters (3–200 miles from shore) in the Gulf of Maine.
These rule changes are in response to an assessment conducted by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center that shows Gulf of Maine haddock measures can be relaxed to allow for an increase in the bag limit while not exceeding the recreational sub Annual Catch Limit (sub-ACL).This prompted the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) to modify regulations for haddock following consultation with the New England Fishery Management Council.
The Gulf of Maine cod stock assessments continue to demonstrate that overfishing has occurred and that the stock continues to be overfished despite low quotas and harvest in recent years. As a result, it was determined that an increase in minimum size from 21 to 22 inches and an increase in the fall season would not result in an exceedance of the recreational sub-ACL.
“Most recreational harvested haddock and cod are caught in federal waters, so state rules change to reflect the new federal rules so anglers can legally possess the increased federal bag limit for haddock and take cod during the expanded season when brought to shore in New Hampshire,” concluded Cheri Patterson, Chief of Marine Fisheries