Contact: Sr. Cpl. Carl Winckoski, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-542-2115, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Commercial waterman fined for fishing violations
ON THE DELAWARE BAY (July 3, 2014) – DNREC Natural Resources Police, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Agents on June 25 cited commercial fisherman Frank S. Eicherly, IV, 55, of Bowers Beach, for numerous violations of commercial fishing regulations. Eicherly was charged with 50 counts of no ghost panel (a means of escape for fish if a pot is lost or abandoned) on commercial fish pots, 50 counts of improperly marked commercial fish pots, and one count of illegally potting for finfish within the boundaries of an artificial reef.
Eicherly pled guilty in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown to five counts each of no ghost panel on commercial fish pots and improperly marked commercial fish pots, and one count of illegally potting for finfish within the boundaries of an artificial reef. He was fined $1,200 and placed on two years’ criminal probation.
To ensure compatible commercial and recreational fishing use of artificial reefs, Delaware’s commercial fishing regulations prohibit commercial watermen from using fish pots on artificial reefs, which are designated for hook-and-line or spear only as method of take. Similar in design to commercial blue crab pots, commercial fish pots are one of several methods commercial watermen use to catch popular food fish, such as sea bass. To help avoid unintended fish mortality, regulations require that commercial fish pots include a ghost panel, made of material that will deteriorate to allow fish to escape in the event that the pot is abandoned or becomes detached from its moorings.
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx.
Vol. 44, No. 228