ALBANY, N.Y. — New York will limit the number of American eel weir permits for the Delaware River and its tributaries to nine weirs in 2015.
The Interstate Fisheries Management Plan, adopted in Oct. 2014, limits permits to protect the state's silver eel weir fishery in the Delaware River. Under federal law, New York is required to implement changes by the plan.
Applications for eel weir licenses are due April 1. Permits will be issued May 15 and are valid until Nov. 30, 2015.
The initial distribution of licenses will be limited to permitted participants who fished and reported harvest of one pound or more from 2010 to 2013.
Eel weirs are obstructions placed in tidal waters or rivers that channel the eels into a trap. Although New York's eel fishery is small, data provided by permit holders helps DEC gather biological information about American eels that will guide future fishery management decisions.
The permit limit is in response to stock assessments prepared in 2012 for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which showed a decline in the American eel population in U.S. waters in recent decades. ASMFC estimates that a combination of factors, including historical overfishing, habitat loss, predation, turbine mortality, environmental changes, toxins and contaminants, and disease, likely caused the decline.
To obtain an application and obtain complete details about license distributions call the DEC at 845-256-3009.