Delaware emergency order authorizes change to striped bass fishing regulations

DOVER – An Emergency Secretary’s Order issued by DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin reduces the striped bass fishing quota for commercial fishing and limits the number and size of fish that recreational anglers can keep. The emergency regulations bring Delaware into compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) required 18 percent reduction in fishing mortality.

The emergency regulations were issued since there was insufficient time for Delaware to adopt regulations through the standard regulatory process prior to ASMFC’s required implementation date. The standard regulatory process will be initiated to obtain public input on the state’s striped bass fishing regulations that will replace the interim emergency regulations.

The emergency regulations reduce the commercial 2020 striped bass quota for Delaware to 142,474 pounds. All other commercial fishing restrictions remain unchanged.

The emergency regulations establish Delaware’s recreational striped bass fishing limits at one-fish-per day with a “slot limit” size of 28 through 35 inches, except for the period from July 1 through Aug. 31, when the allowable slot limit size is 20 through 25 inches in the Delaware Bay, Delaware River and their tributaries.

The recreational striped bass fishery remains open all year, except that retaining striped bass from April 1 through May 31 continues to be prohibited on their spawning grounds in the Delaware River, Nanticoke River, C&D Canal, and their tributaries. Anglers fishing these spawning grounds during this period are required to use a non-offset circle hook with a gap greater than 3/8-inches when using natural baits.

Recreational striped bass possession and size limits have been updated in the online 2020 Fishing Guide, which can be checked for current and updated fishing regulations.

For more information about striped bass fishing regulations, call the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.