Contact: Cpl. John McDerby, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter:
Reminder for the week: Fishing for sharks? Review species, regulations for restrictions
DOVER (June 12, 2015) – 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 Natural Resources Police officers between June 1-7 made 1,743 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 129 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 42 complaints and issued 34 citations, four of which were related to the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail, where there is an increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence.
An incident of particular note was:
· Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers recently responded to a hit-and-run property damage boating accident just off Indian River near Oak Orchard. James C. Jones, 33, of Millsboro, was arrested and charged with one count each of inattentive operation of a vessel/failure to maintain proper lookout, operating a personal watercraft (PWC) over headway speed near docks, no boating safety certificate and failure to render assistance in a boating accident/not providing information to the victim at the time of the accident. Jones was arraigned and pled guilty to all charges in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown. He was fined $463 and required to pay $604 in restitution to the owner of damaged floating docks at the marina.
Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1)*, excessive speed on a state wildlife area (1)*, trespassing in a closed area of a state wildlife area (1)*, excessive noise from a motor vehicle on a state wildlife area (1), and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (4), New Castle County; Possession of a diamond-backed terrapin during a closed season (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Possession of undersized white perch (2), Kent County; Fishing without a license (5), possession of undersized blue crab (2), and improperly marked recreational crab pot (1), Sussex County.
Boating and Boating Safety: Negligent operation of a vessel (1), inattentive operation of a vessel/failure to maintain proper lookout (1), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), no boating safety certificate (2), allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (2), operating a personal watercraft (PWC) over headway speed near docks (1), and failure to render assistance in a boating accident (1), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Operating a motor vehicle without proof of insurance on a state wildlife area (1)*, New Castle County; Underage consumption of alcohol (1), and hindering prosecution (1), Kent County; Loitering to engage in sex in a public place (2), Sussex County.
* These citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police News, Training and Outreach
· On June 6, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police sponsored and hosted the annual Youth Fishing Tournament at three locations: Lums Pond in New Castle County, Wyoming Pond in Kent County and Ingrams Pond in Sussex County, with Fisheries staff assisting as weigh masters. The tournament drew a total of 175 youth ranging in age from 2 through 15. Trophies were awarded to first place winners in each of three age groups, 4-7, 8-11 and 12-15, and to each county’s overall winner. All participants received prizes, many of which were donated by local businesses. The three county winners and the overall statewide winner will be recognized during the annual DNREC Awards ceremony on Governor’s Day, Thursday, July 30 at the 2015 Delaware State Fair.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police reminds anglers planning to fish for sharks in Delaware waters to review species that may be caught here and regulations for them. Anglers also are reminded that removing sharks from the water for taking photos is dangerous, harmful to the shark and, for some species, illegal.
The popularity of shark fishing along the coastline has increased the past several years. Delaware hosts many different species of sharks, both in the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. In addition to popular targeted species such as the mako and thresher, anglers will encounter several prohibited species including sand tiger, dusky and sandbar sharks. The sand tiger, sandbar, smooth dogfish and spiny dogfish are the most commonly caught shark species in Delaware.
Anglers are prohibited from keeping sand tiger and sandbar sharks. Due to their low reproductive rate and overfishing, both species are protected and cannot be possessed. Hook-and-line anglers cannot remove from the water any sand tiger or sandbar shark, or any other prohibited species of shark. In addition, any sandbar shark or other prohibited species of shark must be immediately released in a manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival.
Delaware shark regulations also include:
· Landing, attempting to land, possessing or removing any prohibited shark species from the water is illegal in Delaware.
· Possession of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the body is illegal in Delaware, as is fileting a shark prior to coming ashore.
· Recreational possession limit, except for dogfish sharks, is one non-prohibited species per vessel and one non-prohibited species per angler on shore.
· Recreational size limit for non-prohibited sharks, except for dogfish sharks, is 54 inches. Size limit for hammerhead sharks is 78 inches.
· Anglers may take smooth dogfish and spiny dogfish sharks all year with no minimum size requirements and no daily limit.
· A complete listing of shark regulations is available at Delaware Code - shark regulations.
Most anglers fishing for sharks in state waters require a Delaware fishing license and FIN number. 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 a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.
Recreational anglers targeting sharks in federal waters outside Delaware’s 3-mile line also require a highly migratory species permit available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/.
For more information on fishing in Delaware, including shark regulations, click on 2015 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.
For more information on identifying shark species, the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Fisheries Section recommends Delaware’s Most Commonly Misidentified Sharks on DNREC’s website, and Shark Species on the NOAA website.
DNREC’s Division of Fish & 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 & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 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. 45, No. 191