Contact: Cpl. John McDerby, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: Sept. 30-Oct. 6
Reminder for week: Review blue crab regulations, including size limits, before crabbing
DOVER (Oct. 10, 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 Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Natural Resources Police officers between Sept. 30-Oct. 6 made 1,521 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 79 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 35 complaints and issued 32 citations, four of which were related to increased Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.
An incident of particular note was:
· On Oct. 1, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers responded to a report of trespassing to hunt and located two Wilmington men hunting deer with bows and a corn pile being used as bait on state wildlife refuge land near Wilmington. Both were cited and fined for one count each of illegally hunting on a state refuge and hunting over bait, and both cases are pending. Fines are $100 to $250 for hunting on a state refuge, and $25 to $100 for hunting over bait, plus court costs.
Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Hunting without a license (1), illegal use of an unplugged shotgun (1), hunting on a refuge (2), hunting over bait (2), failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season (2), operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway (1)*, and damaging state property (1)*, New Castle County; Dumping/littering on a state wildlife area (2), New Castle and Sussex counties; Carrying a loaded weapon in a motor vehicle (1), Kent County; Illegally selling waterfowl parts as a federal violation (1), possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer (1), hunting antlered deer out of season (1), and failure to register antlered deer within 24 hours (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing/crabbing without a license (5), New Castle and Kent and counties; Use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (1), over the limit recreational crab pots (1), failure to tend recreational crab pots at least once within required 72-hour timeframe (1), and improper recreational crab pot marking (1), New Castle County; Illegal possession of parts from a protected shark species (1), Sussex County.
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a motor vessel with an expired registration/operating an unregistered vessel (2), New Castle and Sussex counties; Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), Kent County; No life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Possession of drug paraphernalia (1)*, New Castle County.
* These citations were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area. In addition, the following citation which is not marked with an asterisk also was issued in connection with the C&D Canal Conservation Area: dumping/littering on a state wildlife area (1).
Fish and Wildlife Enforcement News and Training
· On Oct. 2, Sr. Cpl. Jeff Howell represented Fish and Wildlife Enforcement at Harrington’s National Night Out, contacting about 200 people. On Oct. 3, Sr. Cpl. Howell attended Lake Forest Elementary School’s annual Safety Field Day, sharing with about 275 students the importance of our natural resources and the laws and regulations that protect them.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds recreational crabbers to review state regulations governing blue crabs, including size limits. These include:
· A Delaware recreational fishing license is required for crabbing.
· The recreational daily limit on blue crabs is one bushel per person.
· 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.
· Recreational crabbers may use any number of single, baited hand lines, trot lines (a longer weighted line with a series of baited points), or pull traps. Standard size and possession limits as noted above apply.
· 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 .)
· Fishing or crabbing off courtesy docks at state-owned boat ramps is prohibited.
· Wildlife areas, fishing piers and fishing ponds statewide are “carry in, carry out.” To avoid to be cited for littering, gather up leftover bait, bait containers, crab lines and other trash for proper disposal.
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. 354