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For Release: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DEC Accepting Applications for American Eel Weir Permits for the Delaware River Watershed Until April 1

New York Allowed to Issue Nine Weir Permits in 2015

Based on formal changes to the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan (FMP), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will limit the number of American eel weir permits for the Delaware River and its tributaries to nine weirs in 2015. Under federal law, New York is required to implement the FMP changes that were adopted in October 2014, which established the permit limit in order to protect New York's silver eel weir fishery in the Delaware River.

Applications for eel weir licenses are due April 1, 2015. Permits will be issued May 15 and are valid until November 30, 2015. The initial distribution of licenses will be limited to permitted participants who fished and reported harvest of one pound or more from 2010 to 2013. To obtain an application and obtain complete details about license distributions visit DEC's website or contact DEC at (845) 256-3009.

Eel weirs are obstructions placed in tidal waters or rivers that channel the eels into a trap. Although New York's eel fishery is small, data provided by permit holders helps DEC gather biological information about American eels that will guide future fishery management decisions.

The permit limit is in response to stock assessments prepared in 2012 for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which showed a decline in the American eel population in U.S. waters in recent decades. ASMFC estimates that a combination of factors, including historical overfishing, habitat loss, predation, turbine mortality, environmental changes, toxins and contaminants, and disease, likely caused the decline.

Additional information on the FMP changes can be found at: (http://www.asmfc.org/species/american-eel).

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