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Hudson and Delaware Marine Fisheries

A variety of migrating marine fish species use the waters of the Hudson River for spawning and as a nursery for their young. The DEC conducts many studies and manages several projects to monitor and track the populations and movements of these marine fish. By tracking and monitoring fish populations, DEC seeks to learn about fish migration, the status of certain species, and how environmental factors and fishing can affect them. The information collected allows DEC to more effectively manage and protect these important species. DEC also works with other coastal states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to help protect New York fish stocks during their ocean migrations. For more information on Hudson River American shad and Hudson River river herring (blueback herring and alewife), please download the stock status summary (PDF) from the right column on this page.

Delaware River American Eel

Changes to Delaware River Eel Weir License Allocation

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved Addendum IV to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for American eel on October 27, 2014. Part of this Addendum stipulates that "The Delaware river silver eel weir fishery is restricted to nine annual permits. These permits are initially limited to those permitted participants that fished and reported landings from 2010 to 2013. Permits may be transferred thereafter." New York State is required to abide by changes that ASMFC makes to the FMP.

If you wish to apply, please call 845-256-3199 for an application and more information.

Application due: April 1

Licenses issued: May 15

License valid: Issuance - Nov 30 of the application year.

Initial Distribution

The total number of license issued shall not exceed nine (9) in any year.

The initial distribution of licenses (2015) will be limited to those applicants who held an eel weir license and legally reported landing one (1) or more pounds of eels in any of the following years: 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013.

  • If there are more than nine (9) applicants that meet the above requirements then the 9 license holders will be selected by a random selection.
  • If there are fewer than nine (9) applicants that meet the above requirements, licenses will be issued to the eligible recipients. The remaining licenses will be issued using the method outlined below.

Subsequent Distributions

The total number of licenses issued shall not exceed nine (9) in any year.

In subsequent annual license distributions, up to nine (9) licenses will be issued to eligible applicants according to the priority criteria listed in descending priority below.


1) Applicants who held an eel weir license in the previous year and landed 1 or more pounds of American eel in the previous three years.

2)Applicants who held a license and landed one or more pounds of American eel in any license year.

3)Applicants who have held a license in any license year.

4)All other applicants.

  • Applicants that share the highest priority criteria will be issued a license, not to exceed the nine (9) total licenses.
  • Any remaining licenses will be considered under the next priority criteria.
  • This process will be repeated until the final priority criterion is reached or until all licenses are issued
  • If issuing licenses to all the applicants in any priority group would result in exceeding the nine (9) total annual licenses, then a random selection will be made among applicants that share a criterion.
  • Lower priority grouping(s) will not be issued licenses.

Hudson River Striped Bass Management

Up-coming regulation change

On October 29, 2014, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Management Board adopted Addendum IV to Amendment 6 of the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for Striped Bass. The new addendum requires a 25% coast-wide reduction in harvest to reduce fishing mortality. The reduction is necessary to stop the decline in coastal spawning stock biomass (SSB) (link listed in the right column under "links leaving DEC's website) of large female fish.

Hudson River striped bass are part of the coastal migratory stock. In the Hudson, annual abundance of young of year fish has decreased in recent years. The Hudson River SSB is also decreasing along with the coastal SSB; the number of Hudson spawning fish will decline within the next three to four years.

NYSDEC adopted emergency striped bass regulations on March 17, 2015. These new regulations can be found on the Tidal Hudson Regulations web page.

Other Anadromous Stocks

DEC staff also assists in managing Delaware River anadromous fish stocks through participation in the Delaware River Fish and Wildlife Cooperative. The cooperative is made up of representatives from all the Basin States (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) and both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. The current fisheries focus is on American shad and the recent decline that is occurring in the Delaware River shad stock. For more information on Delaware River American shad, please download the stock status summary (PDF) from the right column on this page.

Hudson River American Shad Recovery Plan

The shad recovery plan, currently being implemented by DEC and other partners, addresses many of the known and suspected causes of the fishery's decline. Over-fishing, habitat loss, increased populations of predatory species and competition for food sources are among the many factors identified. The long-term goal of the plan is to restore shad to healthy and sustainable population levels. A PDF copy of the recovery plan can be downloaded from the right column on this page.

American Shad Stock Status

With the American shad population in the Hudson River at historic lows, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed the recreational and commercial fisheries for American shad in the Hudson River and the Marine District around Long Island in March 2010.

New York biologists played a lead role in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 2007 coast-wide stock assessment of American shad. The assessment concluded that the Hudson River shad stock declined substantially since the 1990s -- and now is at historic lows. Juvenile production dropped to a historically low level in 2002 and has not rebounded. Hudson River recreational and commercial fisheries were restricted in 2008 with the hope that it would trigger some improvement in production of young American shad. Because no change occurred, the DEC implemented fishery closures.

A stock status presentation given at public information meetings, prior to the fisheries closure is available below. This presentation will be updated as data become available.

American shad public information meeting presentation (645 KB, PDF)

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