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December 28, 2001

NEW STATE RECORD TILEFISH

For more information contact:
Bruce Freeman at 609-292-7794

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, a new state record gray tilefish was taken off the Sea Girt Artificial Reef on December 5. Jim Zigarelli of Brick caught a 10 pound, 9 ounce gray tilefish that is the first in this brand new record category.

Zigarelli was bottom fishing from his boat in 60-65 feet of water when he hooked the fish on 12-pound test with a fiddler crab. The fish measured 28 inches in length with an 18 -inch girth. Division Research Scientist Bruce Freeman identified the fish for verification purposes.

The gray tilefish (Caulolatilus microps) is typically found in depths of 200 to more than 1,400 feet. Usually found south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, they live in burrows and sometimes congregate in small groups. Originally, the Division honored just one general category for tilefish, which until now remained vacant with a minimum weight of 8 pounds. However, with the recent extraordinary catch, it was determined that two separate categories for tilefish would be established - one for gray and one for golden, which remains vacant with a minimum weight of 8 pounds.

The Record Fish Program honors the largest species of fish caught in the state. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone (there are no line classes). Scale certification documentation and a weighmaster's signature are necessary. Other rules apply. For more information or to request an application, call 609-633-7768. Visit the Division website at www.njfishandwildlife.com for a complete list of state record fish.