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Delaware regulators eye changes to conch fishing rules

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — Officials are eyeing changes to Delaware’s conch fishing rules to keep commercial fishermen on equal footing with their New Jersey counterparts.

Officials planned to hold a hearing Thursday evening on lowering the minimum size limits for licensed knobbed conch dredgers.

Currently, Delaware requires a six-inch minimum size limit, while New Jersey has a five-inch minimum. Officials say that poses a potential economic disadvantage to Delaware conch harvesters fishing the shared waters of the Delaware Bay.

New Jersey also allows conch dredging, as an authorized bycatch of blue crab dredging, from Nov. 15 through April 15, while Delaware’s direct conch fishery has no closed season.

Authorities are proposing an open season from Jan. 15 through June 15 in Delaware to allow harvesting while not unduly jeopardizing the sustainability of the resource.

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