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Newly-signed Delaware law changes size, possession limits for American eel
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A new Delaware law that increases size limits and decreases recreational possession limits on American eel is now in effect, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today.

The new law, passed by the Delaware General Assembly in January and signed by Governor Markell last week, brings Delaware’s American eel fishing rules into compliance with recent changes in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American eel.

The law increases the minimum recreational and commercial size limit of American eel to 9 inches from 6 inches, decreases the recreational possession limit from 50 to 25 American eels and sets a minimum mesh size requirement of ½” by ½” for all eel pots in commercial and recreational use.

The law also gives DNREC the ability to change American eel size and possession limits, fishing areas, seasons and allowable fishing gear by regulation as required to keep Delaware in compliance with future changes to the ASMFC’s American eel management plan. If the ASMFC plan requires states to restrict their eel harvest by use of a quota in the future, the Legislature will establish a quota management system through law.

For more information on current American eel fishing requirements, see the updated 2016 Delaware Fishing Guide for recreational requirements or click http://de.gov/commregs for commercial requirements. The guide also is available in printed form – which does not include the new American eel fishing rules – at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and from license agents throughout the state.

For more information on Delaware’s American eel fishery, please contact DNREC’s Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

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