Effective immediately, the New Jersey DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is indefinitely suspending the Party/Charter Boat facet of the Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP).

This does not impact the individual angler facet of the SBBP nor does it affect the current recreational fisheries regulations for striped bass. Recreational anglers without a SBBP permit, including those fishing on for-hire vessels, can still harvest two striped bass per day at 28 inches or larger. Party/Charter Boat anglers can still harvest a ‘bonus’ bass if they obtain a SBBP permit from the Division’s website prior to their fishing trip and have the permit in possession while fishing on the for-hire vessel.

Suspending this facet of the SBBP is one of a number of shifts in resources and staffing necessary to adequately address higher priority programs and responsibilities identified through a Marine Fisheries Administration reprioritization process. Marine fisheries related job responsibilities are being prioritized based upon five different criteria: Fishery Management Plan Compliance Criteria, Federal Funding, Recreational Fishery In-State Rank, Commercial Fishery In-State Rank and Bureau Priority.

Some of the highest priority responsibilities include mandatory compliance programs required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission fishery management plans, coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service on the national Marine Recreational Information Program and various existing and new data collection programs.

Suspending the Party/Charter Boat facet of the SBBP allows a significant shift of personnel and resources to higher priority responsibilities while still providing Party/Charter Boat anglers the opportunity to keep a ‘bonus’ striped bass. The Division is grateful to those Party/Charter Boats that participated in the SBBP over the years and grateful for the information those boats provided.

For more information on the Striped Bass Bonus Program, visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/bonusbas.htm on the division’s website.  For a listing of Party/Charter Boats visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/prtyboat.htm , also on the division’s website.

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