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Hudson and Delaware Marine Fisheries

Hudson River Fisheries Unit pulling a haul seine

Hudson and Delaware Fisheries Unit

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 tidal portion of the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge in New York City to the Federal Dam located in Troy and in the non-tidal portion of the Delaware River.

The Unit also gathers data on resident species such as the shortnose sturgeon, blue crabs, and many other fishes among the greater than 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 Greek words 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 utilize near-shore habitat along the Atlantic coast, they are collectively managed. Each of the fifteen coastal states from Florida to Maine participates in cooperative interstate management for these species through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (link leaves DEC's website).

Recreational Fishing

To fish for migratory fish of the sea (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

A marine permit application (PDF) is required to use a gill net and/or scap net with dimensions that are greater than 4 ft x 4 ft in the Hudson River north of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (note: nets may not be used in tributaries of the Hudson River, regardless of size). A passport size photo and proof of residency (e.g. driver's license) must accompany the application. Contact DEC Marine Permit Office at (631) 444-0470 for additional information.

A Delaware River Eel Permit is required to take American eel from state waters of the Delaware River for commercial purposes.

Monthly reporting is required for Hudson River Marine and Delaware River Eel Weir permits. Fishing Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) should be submitted no later than the 15th of the following month. Fishermen must submit "Not Fishing" Reports/Forms for any and all months of the year they did not fish under the privilege of their permit(s). See 2020 Commercial Not Fishing Form (PDF) or 2019 Commercial Not Fishing Form (PDF). Please review the Hudson/Delaware River VTR Information Packet (PDF) or call DEC Marine Fisheries Data Management Unit at (631) 444-0857 for additional reporting information.

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