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Hudson and Delaware Marine Fisheries

Staff of the Hudson River Fisheries Unit pulling a gill net

The Hudson and Delaware Fisheries Unit of the Division of Marine Resources takes a river-wide approach to its work which covers the main stem of the Hudson and Delaware rivers. Research focuses on migratory fishes in the 152 miles of the Hudson River Estuary from the George Washington Bridge in New York City to the Federal Dam located in Troy. The Unit also gathers data on resident species such as the shortnose sturgeon, blue crabs, and many other fishes among the > 200 other species that occur in the Hudson and Delaware rivers.

Managing Diadromous Fishes (Anadromous/Catadromous)

Staff of the Hudson River Fisheries Unit processing an Atlantic sturgeon

Anadromous comes from a Greek word meaning "running upward". Anadromous fishes spend many years in marine waters until they mature then migrate to the freshwater portions of rivers to spawn. Examples of anadromous species in the Hudson River include striped bass, river herring, American shad, and Atlantic sturgeon. After spawning in the Hudson River, the adults return to the Atlantic Ocean and the newly spawned bass, shad, and herring spend their first summer in the river before they join in the ocean migration to mature. On the other hand, catadromous fishes spend most their life in freshwater and return to the ocean to spawn (e.g. American eel). Because these fishes range widely in the near shore ocean, they are managed on a coast-wide basis. Each of the fifteen coastal states from Florida to Maine participates in cooperative interstate management of these species through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (link leaves DEC's website).

Recreational Fishing Information

To fish for diadromous fishes (striped bass, river herring, American eel) in the tidal portion of the Hudson River and its tributaries, or waters of Delaware River or Mohawk River, you must enroll in the annual non-fee Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. Enrollment can be performed online, by phone, or at a license issuing agent location.

Commercial Fishing Information

A marine permit application (PDF, 240 KB) is required to use a gill net and/or scap net in the Hudson River above the Tappan Zee Bridge. A passport size photo and proof of residency (e.g. driver's license) must accompany the application.


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