The following words and terms shall have the following meanings unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise.
"Department" means the New Jersey Department of Environmental
"Heart" means an upright fence of netting forming a
heart-shaped (round or square) compartment located between the leader and the
pocket. It is designed to cause fish to circle in front of and eventually enter
the pocket of a pound net.
"Leader" means an upright fence of netting that acts as a
barrier to fish and guides them toward a trap; the netting is made of heavy
twine, not designed to catch fish by the gills.
"Navigable channel" means a channel marked with navigational
markers including poles, piling or buoys, by the Coast Guard or the
"Pocket" means an upright fence of netting forming the final
compartment of a pound net in which trapped fish accumulate.
"Pound net" means a large fish trap, consisting of a leader,
pocket and one or more hearts, held in place with poles, the netting of which
reaches from the bottom to above the surface of the water.
"Staked or anchored gill net" means an upright fence of
monofilament or nylon netting, held in place at each end by stakes or anchors,
that catches fish by snagging their gill covers as they try to pass through the
mesh of the net.
"Submarine pound net" means a pound net that is totally
submerged beneath the water and held in place by anchors.
General requirements for all pound net
users are as follows:
1. No person may
install, operate or maintain a pound net in the marine waters of the State
without having first obtained a license from the Department.
2. The Department may establish limits on the
number of licenses to be issued for pound nets in Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook
Bay and in the Atlantic Ocean within three nautical miles of the
3. Licenses must be
4. Holders of
pound net licenses from the previous year shall have first priority in
obtaining a new license, provided they apply before March 1 of the current
Any person operating any
fish pound net in the marine waters of New Jersey, must, at the time of
emptying the net, return to the waters wherein the net is located all species
less than the minimum size limits specified pursuant to
6. No person may, by boat, anchor, dredge or
otherwise, willfully and without reasonable cause, interfere with, break,
damage or destroy any fish net or associated equipment being lawfully used by a
7. The Department
may require any licensee to submit a money surety bond to insure removal of
pound net poles and apparatus as required by these rules.
8. Violation of the rules in this section
will subject the violator to money penalties, loss of license and/or injunctive
Specific requirements for pound net users
in Raritan, Sandy Hook and Delaware Bays are as follows:
1. Any person applying for a pound net
license must indicate the specific proposed site for the net, as designated by
a chart developed by the Department. Sites which have not previously been
located on the approved chart must be approved by the Department prior to
issuance of a license.
2. New pound
net sites must be at least 3,000 feet from a previously located pound net site,
when measured parallel to the shoreline, and must be at least 1,000 feet from
any navigable channel.
3. Any pound
net license holder has priority in retaining a pound net site previously
licensed by him or her, provided that he or she has actively and lawfully
fished that site during the previous year and has submitted a license
application prior to March 1 of the current year. After March 1, any citizen
may apply for any available site on a first-come basis.
4. No staked or anchored shad net may be
placed within 3,000 feet of an operating pound net. However, shad nets may be
set on licensed pound net sites by the license holder or on unoccupied,
approved pound net sites, provided the shad nets are set end-to-end with and in
line with any existing pound nets.
5. Pound nets must be placed end-to-end so as
to form a straight line, perpendicular to the shoreline.
6. The maximum allowable length of a pound
net, including leader and hearts, is 750 feet.
7. A minimum distance of 50 feet must be
maintained between any two pound nets, shad nets or combination thereof, when
measured perpendicular to the shoreline.
8. A pound net license holder must maintain a
nameplate, on the offshore pole of the net not less than six inches square, on
which shall be legibly marked the identification number of the pound, as
assigned by the Department.
flashing, amber light must be displayed between sunset and sunrise on each of
the two end poles of a pound net or a continuous row of pound nets. These
lights must be placed at least 10 feet above the mean high water level and must
be of sufficient brightness to be visible for at least three miles in all
directions (360 degrees) at such times and under such weather conditions as
would allow visibility of 10 miles.
10. Within 30 days of the termination of
fishing activities for that year, all poles and stakes must be removed by the
pound net license holder.
pound net license holder will be responsible for the cost of pole and/or stake
removal where the Department accepts responsibility for such removal, due to
the licensee's failure to comply with 10 above.
Specific requirements for pound net users
in the Atlantic Ocean are as follows:
submitting a request for an ocean or submarine pound net license, the applicant
must specify the specific proposed site-location for placement of each net.
Upon site approval, the Department may issue the license. (Note: Permission for
location of ocean pound nets is also required from the United States Army Corps
2. No portion of a
pound net may be set within 1,500 feet or greater than 7,000 feet from the mean
low water line on the ocean shoreline.
3. No row of pound nets may be erected or
operated within one and one-half miles of any other row of pound nets, when
measured parallel with the coastline.
4. No more than two pound nets may be joined
5. A minimum distance of
1,000 feet, when measured perpendicular to the coastline, must be maintained
between individual or paired pound nets set in a row.
6. A row of ocean or submarine pound nets
must form a straight line with the nets placed end-to-end.
7. The maximum allowable length of an ocean
or submarine pound net, including leader and pocket, is 1,100 feet.
8. The minimum mesh size for ocean or
submarine pound nets is two inches, stretched.
Ocean pound nets shall be maintained in
compliance with the following additional requirements:
i. White reflectors must be placed around the
top of each pole so as to reflect in all directions;
ii. Flashing amber lights must be displayed
on the inshore and offshore poles of nets or rows of nets, between sunset and
sunrise; these lights must be placed at least 10 feet above the mean high water
level and must be of sufficient brightness to be visible for at least three
miles in all directions (360 degrees) at such times and under such weather
conditions as would allow visibility of 10 miles.
Submarine pound nets shall be maintained
in compliance with the following additional requirements:
i. At least eight fluorescent orange floats,
at least 12 inches in diameter, shall be maintained along the length of each
net, including the inshore and offshore ends.
ii. The pound net license holder shall
maintain a nameplate, not less than 12 inches square, on which shall be legibly
marked the identification number of the pound, as assigned by the
license holder must completely remove all pound net poles and stakes, within
ten months of the termination of fishing activities.
12. The pound net license holder will be
responsible for the cost of pole and/or stake removal, where the Department
accepts responsibility for such removal, due to the licensee's failure to
comply with 11 above.