Department of Environmental Conservation

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Migratory Fish of the Sea

Requirements for the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry

For purposes of the recreational marine fishing registry, "migratory fish of the sea" include species of fish that live a part of their lifespan in the ocean and tidal rivers/streams.

These species can be one of the following:

  • Anadromous: primarily live in the ocean and along the coast, but migrate up tidal rivers to spawn or to feed.
    Examples: Striped bass, river herring, hickory shad and American shad.
  • Catadromous: primarily live in tidal streams and rivers, but migrate out to the ocean to spawn.
    Examples: Most eel species, including the American eel.

New York State "Migratory Fish of the Sea" Species

A recreational marine fishing registry is required to fish for the following "migratory fish of the sea" species:

Species Season and Harvest Limits
Striped bass

***Before going fishing, check the regulations for the waterbody you intend to fish***
Some migratory fish species may be prohibited from harvesting in areas of the state

American eel
Hickory shad
American shad
Anadromous river herring
(alewife* and blueback herring)

*Fishing for landlocked alewives, which are isolated from migrating to the ocean, requires a freshwater fishing license and does not require enrollment in the recreational marine fishing registry.