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: May 21-28
Reminder for week: Visitors to C&D Canal area asked to abide by new rules
DOVER (May 31, 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 Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents between May 21 and 28 made 1,936 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 295 boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 85 complaints and issued 69 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 included:
· Late at night on May 24, Enforcement agents responded to a boating accident in which a 22-foot Four Winns cabin cruiser collided with a stone jetty at the mouth of the C&D Canal. The severely-damaged vessel was estimated a total loss. The vessel’s operator, Gregory Mount, 46, of Essington, Pa., was cited for one count of negligent operation. A passenger who appeared to have suffered minor injuries received first aid from responding volunteer EMTs from the Delaware City Fire Company, but declined additional medical treatment. The vessel was recovered the next day by a salvage company.
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 (3), and damaging state property in a wildlife area (2), New Castle County; Trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area (2), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (24), New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties; Possession of undersized blue crab (1), Kent County; Illegal use of non-circle hooks for fishing during striped bass spawning season (2), possession of undersized weakfish (6), unlawful possession of river herring (2), over-the-limit recreational crab pots (1), and possession of undersized Atlantic croaker (1), Sussex County.
Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets aboard (3), and no ramp certificate (2), New Castle and Sussex counties; Operating an unregistered motor vessel (4), Kent and Sussex counties; Negligent operation of a vessel (1), New Castle County; Insufficient visual distress signals (2), Kent County; No life jacket on child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), operating an unregistered motor vessel (1), water skiing without required observer (1), operating personal watercraft without required fire extinguisher (1), no boating safety certificate (3), and allowing use of non-compliant vessel (1), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Clamming in polluted area (3), New Castle County.
Other: Lewdness (1), and failure to signal intention (1), Kent County; Littering (1), Sussex County.
Are you AWARE?
The Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section asks visitors to the 5,100-acre C&D Canal Conservation Area (formerly the C&D Canal Wildlife Area) near St. Georges to be patient and comply with new rules – some of which are temporary – while construction on the new Michael Castle Trail proceeds. To ensure public safety, agents are strictly enforcing regulations prohibiting motor vehicle access to the trail and encouraging visitors to park in designated areas and walk.
Designed primarily for walking, jogging, bicycling, and horseback riding, the Michael Castle Trail has been in the planning phase for more than seven years, during which numerous public comment sessions were held regarding its design and location.
New permanent gates have been installed to restrict motor vehicle access to the completed portions of the trail. Gates on the north side of the canal are currently closed, restricting access to the lower tier road from the eastern-most point near the branch canal at Delaware City through and including the Summit Marina area.
Until construction activities are complete, access on the upper tier roads between the Gunning Bedford School and Summit Marina will also be restricted limiting access to the ponds near the railroad bridge. Once construction is complete, vehicles will still be permitted to access most upper level roads for hunting and fishing activities.
The C&D Canal Conservation Area encompasses the north and south banks of the canal and part of the eastern shoreline of the Delaware River. The conservation area also offers hunting and fishing opportunities, boating access, and the Summit Retriever Training Area.
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. 222