Fishing License Requirements and FIN Number in Delaware

General Fishing License

A general fishing license is required for fishing, crabbing, or clamming in both tidal and non-tidal waters in Delaware. Licenses are valid through December 31 of the year issued and can be obtained at DNREC headquarters, over 40 statewide licensing agents, or online.

Delaware Fisherman Information Network (FIN) Number

All anglers aged 16 or over, including those exempt from the general license, must obtain a free FIN number annually before fishing in any Delaware waters. This applies to both residents and non-residents. The FIN number is auto-generated with individual fishing license purchases. Those exempt from the license or non-residents without a license must actively obtain a FIN.

Obtaining a FIN Number:

  1. Digital DNREC: Create an account and get a free FIN at de.gov/erpermitting.
  2. Quick FIN: Access Quick FIN at the bottom of the Digital DNREC sign-in page without account creation.
  3. Licensing Agents: Visit any of the 40+ licensing agents throughout the state.

The FIN number is valid through December 31 for the year issued and is essential for legal fishing, with enforcement comparable to fishing license regulations. FIN is not required for those exclusively crabbing or clamming.

Data Use and Funding

The National Marine Fisheries Service utilizes FIN data for surveying anglers and improving recreational landing estimates, crucial for effective fisheries management. Funds from fishing licenses are allocated specifically to match federal money from the Sportfish Restoration Act, supporting sportfish restoration and conservation projects, and ensuring public benefits from these resources.

Fishing License Exemptions and Exceptions in Delaware

Exempt Anglers and FIN

While exempt anglers must obtain a FIN number unless otherwise noted, there are several exemptions and exceptions to Delaware's fishing license requirements:

Specific Exemptions

  • Surf Fishing Permit: Operators of vehicles with a valid Delaware surf fishing vehicle permit are exempt when the vehicle is on a designated State Park beach. Other vehicle occupants must have a fishing license to fish.
  • Seniors: Delaware residents aged 65 and older are exempt but must provide proof of age and residency.
  • Children: Under the age of 16 are exempt from both the license and FIN requirement.

Additional Exemptions

  • Farm Residents: Residents owning or living on a farm of 20 or more acres in Delaware, and their immediate family residing on the farm, can fish on that farm without a license.
  • Military Hospital Patients: Members of the armed forces in military hospitals due to disability and Veterans Administration facility patients, as well as patients in public hospitals or sanitariums for tuberculosis treatment or under the Department of Health rehabilitation hospital, are exempt with appropriate identification.
  • Honorably Discharged Veterans: Those certified as having at least a 60% service-connected disability are exempt.
  • Rehabilitation Hospital Patients: Delaware residents in a rehabilitation hospital under the Department of Health and Social Services or those who are legally blind are exempt.
  • Fee-Fishing Facilities: Individuals fishing in registered fee-fishing facilities are exempt.
  • Recent Military Service: Delaware residents honorably discharged after 90 or more consecutive days of active duty associated with specific military operations may be issued a license without charge for the first 12 months post-discharge.
  • Active US Armed Forces Members: Those serving full-time active duty in Delaware and members of Delaware's National Guard are eligible for a resident fishing license.

Contact for Verification

For any of the above exemptions requiring verification or additional information, individuals should contact the Division at (302) 739-9918.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.