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: March 27-April 3
Reminder for the week: Trout season opening, striped bass spawning season closure in effect
DOVER (April 5, 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, between March 27 and April 3 DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents made 1,231 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public. These included 132 boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks, which resulted in five anglers being cited for unlicensed fishing during a tournament. Agents responded to 24 complaints and issued 22 citations. Incidents of particular note included:
· On March 29 in connection with an incident at the C&D Canal Wildlife Area, two Maryland residents were cited on one count each of lewdness and loitering to engage or solicit another to engage in sex and summoned to appear in Justice of the Peace Court 9 in Middletown on April 9.
· Agents also are investigating a large pile of junk furniture and household trash found dumped near the new C&D Canal Trail on March 31. With spring coming, agents have increased enforcement presence on state wildlife areas, particularly the C&D Canal area because of the new trail, and are strictly enforcing regulations.
· On March 30, a Seaford resident was cited for two counts of illegal possession of river herring. The fish were seized as evidence and will also be used to continue K-9 Warden’s training in detection of river herring.
· Agents are investigating an April 2 incident of criminal mischief at the Phillips Landing public boat ramp near Laurel, in which unknown suspects pulled down the John Smith Memorial Monument and damaged four road signs. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Sr. Cpl. Douglas Messeck, Sussex County Enforcement office, at 302-855-1905, or call Fish and Wildlife Enforcement’s 24-hour line at 302-739-4580.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway in a state wildlife area (1), New Castle County; No migratory bird taxidermy permit (1), illegal possession of untagged migratory waterfowl (8), and illegal possession of a wild bird (a blue jay) for mounting purposes (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (5), New Castle and Kent counties; Illegal possession of river herring (2), Sussex County.
Other: Loitering to engage or solicit another to engage in sex (2), and lewdness (2), New Castle County.
Fish and Wildlife Enforcement News and Training
· Sr. Cpl. Mari Grehofsky represented the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement’s annual conference held in Dover March 24-28, joining 170 female police officers from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland , Virginia, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Topics included leadership, fitness, emergency vehicle operation, tactical and self-defense training. Governor Jack Markell spoke at the opening ceremonies.
· On March 29, Cpl. John McDerby joined enforcement officers from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to provide information on Delaware’s fishing and boating regulations to a group of about 100 anglers registered for a March 30 fishing tournament benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The officers were invited to address the group to help ensure compliance during the tournament, which took place on the Delaware River in areas encompassing waters under the jurisdiction of the three states. During the tournament, of 70 vessels checked, five anglers were cited for violations.
Are you AWARE?
The Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds anglers that upstate trout season opens at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 6 in six designated trout streams – White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek. At White Clay Creek State Park, staff will open the gates to Creek Road for anglers access from sunrise to sunset beginning April 6 and through the rest of the month. The road will be open to one way traffic north bound between Wedgewood Road and Hopkins Road. Part of Wilson’s Run goes through Brandywine Creek State Park. At both of these park locations, park entrance vehicle fees are in effect and will be enforced.
Most anglers must have a valid Delaware fishing license. A resident annual fishing license, which covers fresh and tidal waters as well as crabbing and clamming, costs $8.50 for ages 16 through 64. Resident anglers under the age of 16 and residents age 65 and older are not required to purchase fishing licenses in Delaware. For non-resident anglers age 16 and older, a Delaware fishing license costs $20. Most anglers fishing for trout also must purchase a trout stamp, which costs $4.20 for residents ages 16 through 64, or a youth stamp, which costs $2.10 for youth anglers ages 12 through 15. For non-residents, a trout stamp is required for all anglers age 12 and older and costs $6.20. Exempt persons may purchase fishing licenses and trout stamps if they so choose to help support fisheries management and Delaware’s trout stocking efforts.
Both resident and non-resident anglers age 16 and older are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) number. The free number is included as part of a Delaware fishing license purchase. License-exempt anglers, including Delaware residents 65 and older, may visit www.delaware-fin.com or call 800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free F.I.N. number.
Anglers are also reminded that during spawning season for striped bass in Delaware, which began on April 1 and continues through midnight on May 31, it is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C&D Canal, or the C&D Canal or its tributaries. Anglers are required to practice catch and release fishing during this season with no harvest allowed in these areas.
In addition, regulations require anglers fishing during spawning season on any striped bass spawning ground with natural bait to use a non-offset circle hook. The Division of Fish and Wildlife recommends that circle hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce hook-and-release mortality for striped bass and other fish species. The circle hook’s design usually results in fish being hooked in the mouth, simplifying hook removal and reducing injury to the released fish.
For more information, 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. For more information, call the Fisheries section at 302-739-9914.
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. 131