Contact: Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-542-6102, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: July 9-16
Reminder for the week: Know blue crab size/possession regulations
DOVER (July 19, 2013) – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents between July 9 and 16 made 616 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 145 boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 50 complaints and issued 33 citations, two of which were associated with increased Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area (formerly the C&D Canal Wildlife Area) and the associated recreational trail currently under construction. Incidents of particular note were:
· On July 10, Wayne W. Fawley, 53, of Ganet Valley, Pa., was cited with three counts of possession of undersized blue crabs after agents noted numerous undersized blue crabs on his vessel during a routine safety and compliance check at Massey’s Landing. Mr. Fawley was also cited for one count of no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger.
· On July 15, Ryan M. Warfel, 39, of Lincoln, was cited with six counts of possession of undersized blue crabs after agents noted numerous undersized blue crabs in his possession during a routine compliance check at Fowler Beach.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Dumping (1)*, New Castle County; Trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area (6), and littering from a motor vehicle (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (5), Kent and Sussex counties; Failure to release protected species of shark unharmed (1), and use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (4), Kent County; Possession of undersized blue crabs (10), and possession of undersized summer flounder (1), Sussex County.
Boating Safety: Excessive vessel speed/slow no wake violation (1), and no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (2), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Unlicensed driving (1)*, New Castle County.
*These citations were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section agents remind recreational crabbers of the minimum size and possession limit requirements for blue crabs:
· Minimum “keeper” size for hard-shell male crabs and for immature female crabs with the V-shaped apron is 5 inches, measured across the shell from point to point.
· Mature female crabs, identified by the U-shaped apron, are exempt from the minimum size of 5 inches because many females reach maturity at a smaller size.
· Mature female blue crabs bearing eggs, known as sponge crabs and recognizable by the orange eggs visible under the apron, may not be taken and must be returned to the water immediately.
· Minimum size for a soft-shell crab is 3.5 inches, measured across the shell from point to point.
· The recreational daily limit for possession of blue crabs is one bushel per person.
Also, crabbers are reminded that a turtle by-catch reduction device is required to be attached in the funnel entrance of recreational crab pots to reduce the possibility of diamondback terrapins entering the pots and drowning. The device is a rigid rectangular frame made of metal or plastic that measures 1.75 inches by 4.75 inches. By-catch devices are available at local tackle shops or may be handmade of heavy wire. (Directions to make a by-catch reduction device are available online at Crab pot excluder.)
For more information on crabbing regulations, pick up a copy of the 2013 Delaware Fishing Guide at your local tackle shop or license dealer, or check it out online at www.fw.delaware.gov/fisheries.
The current heat wave may put those spending time outdoors at risk from sunburn, heatstroke and dehydration. Enforcement officers recommend boaters and anglers take the following precautions:
· Drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated.
· Avoid alcohol, as this can intensify the effects of dehydration and heat exposure.
· To avoid sunburn, apply sunscreen regularly according to package directions.
· Monitor children carefully to ensure that they remain hydrated and are protected with sunscreen.
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. 43, No. 283