An amended Delaware tilefish regulation that reduces recreational and commercial harvest of the blueline and golden tilefish, species that have grown in fishing popularity in recent years, will take effect Jan. 11, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today. Blueline and golden tilefish in combination will carry a recreational limit of seven fish per person per day aboard a vessel, with a commercial harvest combination limit of 300 pounds of tilefish per day.
A recent stock assessment indicated that blueline tilefish are overfished and that overfishing is continuing. In response, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) requested member states to consider adopting incidental commercial trip limits and recreational bag limits for blueline tilefish similar to current Virginia and Maryland state regulations. Consistent with this request and with further input from Delaware’s Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries, Delaware adopted an amended regulation to conserve two species of tilefish – blueline and golden – that are most commonly landed in Delaware waters.
In addition, a federal emergency action requires commercial and party/charter vessels going out for blueline and golden tilefish to hold a valid open access golden tilefish permit to land either species of tilefish.
“Blueline and golden tilefish are ocean-dwelling, deep-water species susceptible to exploitation due to their long-lived, sedentary nature,” said Fisheries Administrator John Clark. “To prevent an unmanaged expansion of Delaware’s tilefish fishery before more detailed data becomes available, we are joining our neighboring states in adopting these limits to conserve these species.”
The Secretary's Order on the amended regulation for tilefish can be found on DNREC’s website. For more information on Delaware’s fishing regulations, please call the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914 or visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries.