Biden’s 30 by 30 plan

July 24, 2021

The Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful initiative is a plan to conserve 30 percent of all U.S. lands by 2030. It is directed by President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis Change at Home. While there is plenty of room for mischief by those groups that want to stop recreational fishing and hunting, the plan recognizes the importance of both activities and finds both are critical to the plan’s success.

Fishing became even more important last year as, according to an editorial by Salt Water Sportsman Editor Glenn Law, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation found that 4.6 million more people took up fishing in 2020 than in 2019. Of that number, 1.3 million were saltwater fishing. We could have told them that just by counting the people on Herring Point on any given summer Saturday.

The more people who fish, be it fresh or saltwater, the more money they spend, and the more important they become to the overall economy and to the government. All those people on Herring Point paid for their surf-fishing permits, and that put well over $1 million into Division of Parks coffers.  Even those who don’t surf fish had to buy a general fishing license, and that increased the funds available to the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Any entity that generated funds to any government agency has value to that agency and is not likely to be restricted. The last time I checked, PETA didn’t pay for anything.

Tilefish and cobia

In order to comply with federal regulations, the State of Delaware must come into compliance with new rules for tilefish and cobia. A virtual public hearing was held July 22, but you can still send public comments to until Friday, Aug. 6.

The new regulations for tilefish will see some significant changes. Possession limits for blueline tilefish will be three per person for a private boat, five per person for a six-pack charter and seven per person for an inspected charter. The season for blueline tilefish will be closed from Nov. 1 until April 30.

As I have said before, I don’t like different possession limits for recreational fishermen depending on whose boat they happen to be on. It sets up divisions where there should be none. All recreational fishermen should have the same regulations.

Golden tilefish will have an eight-fish-per-person possession limit and no closed season.

With cobia, there will be two choices. Option 1 will have a minimum size of 37 inches and one per person, with a one-per-boat possession limit and no closed season. Option 2 will have a 40-inch minimum size, with only one per boat over 50 inches, and a two-per-boat limit. The cobia season would run from June 15 to Sept. 15.

I think you can count on the tilefish regulations being enacted as they stand. The cobia regulations will be chosen by the number of public comments supporting each one. If you have a preference, send your comment to the email address above. If you have a preference and don’t send a comment, please don’t complain when that preference isn’t chosen.

Fishing report

Sea bass and flounder still lead the pack as the most common fish caught by Delaware anglers. A few boats bring in limits of both species from ocean structure, while the rest of the fleet catches a mixed bag. Gulp! is the most frequently mentioned bait, closely followed by minnows, squid strips, jigs and bucktails.

Spanish mackerel and bluefish are still available at Fenwick Shoals on trolled spoons. The wrecks there hold triggerfish and a few flounder.

Reef sites 10 and 11 have seen some nice flounder taken on jigs baited with Gulp! swimming mullet. These sites will be very crowded on most days as they are closest to Indian River Inlet. The Del-Jersey-Land Reef is a bit farther out, and it yields more keeper sea bass and flounder.

In Delaware Bay, the reef sites hold small croaker and kings plus the occasional keeper flounder. Try bloodworms or Fishbites for the croaker and kings, with jigs baited with Gulp! or live minnows with a strip of squid for the flounder.

The Delaware Bay striped bass season has been less than successful for most anglers. The Broadkill River has seen a few slot fish, 20 to 25 inches, caught on cut bait fished on the bottom.

The Inner and Outer walls and the Ice Breakers hold tog and a few sheepshead. Sand fleas or green crabs have been used successfully. 

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park continues to see good numbers of spot and croaker with some flounder. Bloodworms or Fishbites for the spot and croaker. Live minnows or Gulp! for the flounder.


  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age. Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast. He has been the regional editor for several publications and was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine. Eric is the author of three books: Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits. He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

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