New state rules take effect on May 1, 2012, reducing the minimum length and creel limits for recreational anglers taking Atlantic cod in New Hampshire waters. The measure makes New Hampshire's rules compatible with new Federal regulations.
Under the new rules, as of May 1, 2012, the minimum size of cod that can be taken by recreational anglers is 19 inches (previously 24 inches); the minimum length of fillets that can be possessed is 12 inches (previously 14 inches); and the daily limit is 9 cod (previously 10).
The new rules are considered interim and will be effective for no more than 180 days, during which time the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will move to finalize these measures using the standard rulemaking process that includes a public hearing and comment period.
The state rules were changed because the U.S. Department of Commerce announced in April that they are implementing federal rules to reduce the fishing mortality rate for Gulf of Maine cod as required under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act. As of May 1, federal rules for recreational fishermen establish the possession limit for Atlantic cod at 9 fish and the minimum size at 19 inches. The federal rules apply to fish caught in federal waters (3-200 miles from shore) and anglers on a party/charter vessel with a federal permit.
The adopted state interim rule, can be viewed at www.wildnh.com/Legislative/Notices_summary.htm  (click on "Cod Rules – Interim ADOPTED").