DNREC … shad and river herring identification guide

DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife announces new online

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shad and river herring identification guide for anglers

DOVER (April 3, 2014) – A new online shad and river herring identification guide is now available for anglers on the DNREC website, the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife announced today. The handy ID guide was developed to help anglers distinguish between shad and river herring, which can be similar in appearance but must be treated differently by anglers who catch them, according to state fishing regulations.

In response to population declines, regulations were enacted to help restore Delaware’s once-thriving shad and river herring stocks. The Division of Fish and Wildlife is reminding anglers that they cannot harvest or possess blueback herring and alewife, from any waters in the State of Delaware. Also, the harvest of American shad and hickory shad is prohibited from the Nanticoke River and its tributaries.

“When in doubt about the identification of a shad or river herring, please release it unharmed,” said Fisheries Biologist and Program Manager Michael Stangl.

Anglers also are reminded that using any type of net to catch fish within 300 feet of any constructed dam or spillway on a tidal water river, stream, canal, ditch or tributary is prohibited in Delaware, with the exception of using a landing net on a fish caught with hook and line.

American shad, hickory shad, blueback herring and alewife are anadromous fish, meaning that they spend the majority of their adult lives at sea, only returning to their native streams and rivers in the spring to spawn. Blueback herring and alewife are collectively known as river herring. Historically, thriving populations of shad and river herring spawned in virtually every Delaware river and tributary. However, populations of these fish declined dramatically in the last century due to dam construction, poor water quality, overharvesting and other factors.

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