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: Aug. 13-20
Reminders for the week: Know blue crab size/possession regulations
DOVER (Aug. 23, 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 Natural Resources Police, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Agents between Aug. 13-20 made 824 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 128 vessel boardings for boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 58 complaints and issued 44 citations, five 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 Aug. 17, Michael J. Mooney, 48, of Wilmington, was arrested and charged with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol at Indian River Marina. Mooney was released pending trial at a later date.
· On Aug. 17, Norris R. Hurley, 56, of Morgantown, Pa., was cited for over-the-limit recreational crab pots, improperly marked crab pots and tampering with crab pots belonging to another on the Indian River.
· On Aug. 17, Eufran Roberlo-Diaz, 24, and Abraham Juarez, 23, both of Georgetown, were cited with two counts each of possession of undersized blue crabs at Mulberry Knoll in Assawoman Wildlife Area.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Damaging state property on a wildlife area (1)*, and operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway in a state wildlife area (2)*, New Castle County; Littering (1), Kent County; Trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area (4), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (5), New Castle and Sussex counties; Possession of unlawfully taken blue crabs (2), and recreational crabbing in a closed area (2), Kent County; Possession of a prohibited shark (1), removing a prohibited shark from the water (1), failure to release protected shark unharmed (1), possession of undersized blue crabs (5), recreational crab pot tampering (1), over the limit recreational crab pots (1), and improper crab pot marking (1), Sussex County.
Commercial: Illegally setting crab pots in a tributary (1), Kent County.
Boating Safety: No life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (1)*, New Castle County; Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (5), New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties; Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (1), no boating safety certificate (1), no fire extinguisher on board/required safety equipment (1), operating a vessel with an expired registration (1), allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (1), slow no wake violation (1), and no boat ramp certificate (1), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Possession of illegal drugs (1), and possession of drug paraphernalia (1), Kent County.
*These citations were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area; additional violations at this site are also included above but are not marked with an asterisk: (1) charges for operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets.
Are you AWARE?
Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section Agents would like to 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.
· Recreational crabbers may tend two crab pots.
“We cite a lot of anglers in the summer for having too many pots or tending someone else’s pots,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “Under state fishing regulations, recreational crabbers may not set or tend more than two pots, and the person who sets or tends the pots must be the crab pot owner. In addition, crab pots must be marked with all-white buoys with the owner’s full name and permanent address on the buoys or on an attached waterproof tag. Crab pots also must not be left untended for more than 72 hours.” Recreational crabbers may use any number of hand lines or traps, Rhodes added.
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 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. 330