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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : DNREC Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Blotter March 25 to 31

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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: March 25-31
Reminder for the week: Harvest of river herring, use of nets near spillways,
retaining striped bass during spawning season unlawful in Delaware

DOVER (April 4, 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 March 25-31 made 504 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 11 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 16 complaints and issued 10 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:

·        On March 25, Fish and Wildlife agents arrested Alan R. Passwaters, 24, of Seaford, and charged him with unlicensed hunting, failure to retain the required tag on an antlered deer, failure to attach the required tag to an antlered deer, failure to check antlered deer within the required 24-hour period, transporting an untagged antlered deer, and removing antlered deer parts before checking near Seaford during the 2013 November shotgun deer season. Passwaters was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and released on $1,500 unsecured bond pending trial at a later date.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed hunting (1), failure to retain the required tag on an antlered deer (1), failure to attach the required tag to an antlered deer (1), failure to check antlered deer within the required 24-hour period (1), transporting an untagged antlered deer (1), removing antlered deer parts before checking (1), failure to tend traps within the required 24-hour period (1), setting illegal leg hold traps (1), and setting traps without required permanent tag (1), Sussex County.

Public Safety: Driving faster than the posted speed of 20 mph on a state wildlife area (1)*, New Castle County.

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

Are you AWARE?

With spring fishing season gearing up, the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds recreational anglers that it is unlawful in Delaware to harvest or possess river herring, a popular baitfish in the striped bass hook and line fishery, and that they need to use an alternate type of live bait. Signs giving notice of the fishery closure are posted at various fishing locations. Fines for illegal possession of river herring begin at $25 for a first offense, and increase to $50 to $250 for a second offense. For more information, click on river herring.

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 on any striped bass spawning ground during the closed spawning season 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.

Also, as fish begin entering the spillways this spring, anglers are reminded that using any type of net to catch fish in tidal water within 300 feet below a dam or spillway is illegal, with the exception of using a landing net on a fish caught with hook and line.

Most anglers are required to have a Delaware fishing license, which 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


Vol. 44, No. 99

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