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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: April 8-14

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Contact: Lt. Douglas Messeck, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-258-4045, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902  

DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: April 8-14
Reminder for the week: Boaters reminded to follow safe practices, don’t drink and boat

DOVER (April 17, 2014) – 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 April 8-14 made 894 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 80 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 30 complaints and issued 14 citations, one of which was related to increased Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail currently under construction.

An incident of particular note was:

·         Following an investigation by Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, Scott Stapleford, 49, of Lincoln, pled guilty in Justice of the Peace Court 3 April 14 to one count of exceeding his quota of striped bass during the 2013 commercial hook-and-line season. Stapleford was fined $135 including court costs. Delaware’s seasonal commercial hook-and-line quota for striped bass is 200 pounds; Stapleford was found by Fish and Wildlife Enforcement to be in possession of more than 300 pounds of fish.

Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:

Wildlife Conservation: Hunting wild turkey over illegal bait (2), Sussex County.

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (6), New Castle and Sussex counties; Possession of undersized striped bass (1), New Castle County.

Commercial: Possession of striped bass over the commercial hook-and-line seasonal quota (1), Kent County.

Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2), New Castle and Sussex counties; Operating a vessel with an expired registration (1), Sussex County.

Public Safety: Possession of drug paraphernalia (1)*, New Castle County.

* This citation was issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.  

Are you AWARE?

With warmer weather finally arriving and a holiday weekend at hand, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds spring boaters heading out to enjoy the weather that drinking and boating don’t mix – and that boat operators found to have blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher will face charges for operating a vessel under the influence. Boat operators who consume alcohol also put themselves, their passengers and other boaters at risk. 

“Drinking while boating is a choice. The best way to minimize the risk of an accident is to make the wise choice – don’t drink and boat,” said Enforcement’s Lt. Douglas Messeck, noting that boaters should plan ahead to have a non-drinking designated boat operator aboard if alcohol is being consumed. 

Other tips for recreational boaters include:

·         Exercise patience and courtesy at crowded boat ramps and docks.

·         Observe all “slow - no wake” areas.

·         Maintain a lookout for other vessels and keep a safe distance away.

·         Avoid traveling at unsafe speeds, including congested areas.

·         Do not allow youth under age 16 to operate jet skis.

·         Make sure children 12 and younger are wearing life jackets while underway as required by law.

·         Wear your life jacket and encourage all your passengers 13 and older to wear them also.

·         Check navigation lights and make sure to turn them on when operating at night. 

For more information, please visit Delaware_Boating_Safety.


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


Vol. 44, No. 112

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