University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

DNREC News: Delaware’s river herring harvest closed due to population decline

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds recreational anglers and commercial watermen that it is now unlawful in Delaware to harvest or possess river herring, a popular baitfish, without a valid receipt from a state or jurisdiction where harvest is permitted. 

“Unless an ASFMC member state could prove that a given river herring run could withstand harvest, the commission opted to close the fishery in response to serious declines in river herring populations, including a commercial decline to very low levels coastwide. “In 2011, Delaware commercial fishermen reported catching only 300 pounds of river herring, the lowest amount since mandatory reporting began in 1985,” said Fisheries program manager and biologist Stewart Michels. “We lack evidence to suggest that current harvest levels are sustainable, so closure of the fishery was required.”