On Monday, DNREC held a pair of public hearings at the Richardson & Robbins Building in Dover on proposed new fishing regulations for black drum and Atlantic menhaden. Public comment is still being taken on those regulations.
One of the proposed regulations will make the three-fish at a 16-inch minimum length per angler statewide, and not just in the Delaware River and Bay. Another would set a limit of 65,000 pounds per year for the commercial menhaden (aka bunker) harvest. Captain Bill Baker of Bill's Sport Shop explains that menhaden is an oily fish, and is harvested in this region for a large factory in North Carolina that makes fish oil pills. Fishermen in Delaware and elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic use the menhaden that's left over from that harvest for bait for striper and also in crab pots. He says this regulation isn't likely to have that much of an impact on recreational anglers. Another requirement DNREC would like to implement is a better tracking program for fish harvest. Captain Bills says DNREC can get reports from fishermen about what they're catching that will give the Division of Fish and Wildlife much more accurate information about what's being caught, compared to the information officials get from surveys by student volunteers at boat ramps.
DNREC will be accepting public comments on the proposed regulations through October 15. Written comments can be mailed or e-mailed to Lisa Vest.
Address for mailing in written comments:
Lisa Vest, C/O DNREC
89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901
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