The Division of Fish and Wildlife is aware many concerned sportsmen and women have questions about recreational outdoor opportunities during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors are easily circulated within communities during a crisis and therefore, we want to provide an accurate answer to questions many may have.
The Bureau of Marine Fisheries conducts the Volunteer Angler Survey to collect information on certain recreationally important marine finfish species. Below are FAQs pertaining to the survey:
Q. How can I report my catch and or harvest?
A. Anglers can Report Online, or
Print a log sheet (pdf, 115kb) and then either mail or e-mail us (see footnote on log sheet for address and e-mail address). Our log form will be updated from time to time, so please check to make sure you are using the most recent version.
Q. How do I complete a paper log form?
A. Information should be entered in all applicable fields. See the examples below:
Example of a completed log sheet where no fish were caught (pdf, 85kb)
Example of a completed log sheet where catch is one or more (pdf, 190kb)
Q. Should I report Striped Bass bonus fish on this log?
A. No - please report bonus fish using the Online Striped Bass Logbook until we combine all reporting into one form.
Q. What is the status of the Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP)?
A. The 2020 SBBP is scheduled to open May 15th. Due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, the opening of the SBBP may be delayed. Applications are not currently being accepted. To receive updated SBBP information when it becomes available, please sign up for the "Marine Fisheries" email list or visit the SBBP webpage.
Q: Am I allowed to go fishing during the Governor's Stay-At-Home Order?
A: Yes! Angling opportunities are considered outdoor recreation. We can't make specific recommendations about whether you should go fishing however and under which circumstances - those decisions should be made based on your personal circumstances, in consultation with your health care provider as appropriate, and consistent with the Governor's social distancing guidelines. If you fish, protect yourself and others by not congregating in groups, maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from other anglers, and washing your hands well before and after any outdoor recreation. Note that state parks and forests were closed beginning 8:00 p.m. on April 7 (DEP News Release).
Q: What is happening with the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS)?
A: Consistent with the Governor's stay at home order, APAIS is currently suspended. We will let anglers know as we learn more.
Q: How will National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) develop Marine Recreational Informational Program (MRIP) estimates?
A: Our understanding is that NMFS staff are in discussions on methodologies, and we will relay information to the angling public as we learn more.
Q: How will my Volunteer Angler Survey (VAS) data be used?
A: Our goal is to be able to make comparisons with whatever estimates NMFS develops. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has, through its various Technical Committees, accepted data from NJ's VAS as acceptable for stock assessments. We hope to be able to compare patterns in NMFS estimates with NJ VAS estimates as a means to ascertain feasibility.
Q. If I am fishing with one or more individuals, how can I be sure we won't double report each other's data?
A. Though we have data auditing procedures in place, please communicate with each other about your intentions to report data (whether your own, or for the group), to prevent duplicate reporting of data.
For questions or assistance please e-mail email@example.com.