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
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: June 10-16
Reminder for week: Review blue crab regulations, including size limits, before crabbing
DOVER (June 20, 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 June 10-16 made 952 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 81 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 77 complaints and issued 43 citations, three of which were related to increased Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail currently under construction.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Illegally entering a state wildlife area after hours (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (10)*, and possession of undersized blue crabs (18), New Castle and Sussex counties; Over the limit of recreational crab pots (1), and recreational crab pot tampering/checking crab pots belonging to another (1), Sussex County.
Commercial: Failure to report horseshoe crab landings within a 24-hour limit as required by state regulations (1)**, Kent County.
Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (3), New Castle and Sussex counties; No life jacket on child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), no boating safety certificate (2), operating a motor vessel with an expired registration (3), and operating an unregistered personal watercraft (2), Sussex County.
* Three of these citations for fishing without a license were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
**A separate press release was issued on the case associated with this charge for failure to report horseshoe crab landings within a 24-hour limit as required by state regulations: Commercial crabber fined for failure to report horseshoe crab harvest
Are you AWARE?
With 20 citations related to violations of crabbing regulations issued this week, the Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds recreational crabbers to review state regulations governing blue crabs, including size limits.
· Minimum “keeper” size for male blue crabs and 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.
· A Delaware recreational fishing license is required for crabbing.
· The recreational daily limit on blue crabs is one bushel per person.
· Recreational crabbers may not use, place, set or tend more than two crab pots.
· Recreational crab pots must be tended by the owner at least once every 72 hours and must be marked with white buoys with the owner’s name and permanent mailing address.
· 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 .)
· Recreational crabbers may use any number of hand lines or traps.
Recreational anglers and crabbers also are reminded that fishing or crabbing off courtesy docks at state-owned boat ramps is prohibited. Anglers and crabbers should remember that these areas are “carry in, carry out,” and gather up leftover bait, bait containers, crab lines and other trash for proper disposal; those who do not can be cited for littering.
Delaware fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find the participating agent nearest you, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.
For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on 2014 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.
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. 209