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:
June 29-July 5
Reminder for the week: Review blue crab regulations, including size limits, before crabbing
DOVER (July 10, 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 29-July 5 made 3,512 contacts with anglers, boaters, hunters and the general public, including 877 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 170 complaints and issued 169 citations, seven 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.
Incidents of particular note were:
· On July 5, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited commercial crabber Alex R. Wisniewski, 18, of Townsend, for possession of undersized blue crabs near Woodland Beach. Wisniewski was issued a $321 fine including court costs.
· On July 5, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited Stephen A. McCoy, 51, of Mount Airy, Md., for one count each of landing a prohibited shark species/dusky shark on the beach and failure to release a protected or prohibited shark species in a manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival in Fenwick Island. McCoy was issued a $214 fine including court costs.
· On July 4, following an investigation into illegal sales of blue crabs, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited Myron L. Savage, 52, of Lincoln, for two counts of unlawful non-commercial blue crab sales by a recreational crabber near Prime Hook Beach. Savage was issued a $214 fine including court costs.
· On July 3, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Jason A. Marshall, 23, of Newark, and charged him with one count each of operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (second offense), and no navigation lights/required safety equipment near Delaware City. Marshall was released pending a court appearance at a later date.
· Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers are investigating the cause of a single-vessel boating accident that occurred on July 5 at the Indian River Inlet after the Rehoboth Beach fireworks. A 23-foot Sunbird ran onto the beach just north of the North Jetty. All occupants escaped uninjured, and a commercial service removed the grounded vessel.
Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing in a closed area of a state wildlife area (1)*, trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (1), hunting white-tailed deer during a closed season (2), possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer (2), and wanton waste of a game animal/white-tailed deer (2).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (23), possession of undersized blue crabs (32), use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (2), tending more than two recreational crab pots (1), unlawful non-commercial blue crab sales by a recreational crabber (2), possession of undersized white perch (1), possession of undersized summer flounder (1), landing a prohibited shark species (dusky shark, on the beach) (1), and failure to release a protected or prohibited shark species in a manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival (1).
Commercial: Possession of undersized blue crabs (3).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel under the influence (OUI) of alcohol (1), negligent operation of a vessel (5), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (12), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (21), no boating safety certificate (25), operating a motor vessel with an expired registration/operating an unregistered vessel (3), failure to observe slow/no-wake zone (2), no boat ramp certificate (1), allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (11), no navigation lights/required safety equipment (1), personal watercraft (PWC) slow/no-wake violation (2), PWC towing a water skier without required observer (3), and operating a PWC in a swimming area (1).
Public Safety: Possession of fireworks (1), clamming in a closed or prohibited area (1), no trailer lights/required safety equipment (1), and failure to observe no stopping, standing or parking zone (3).
* This citation was issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area. In addition, the following citations not denoted by an asterisk also were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area: Fishing without a license (6).
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police reminds recreational crabbers to review state regulations governing blue crabs, including the required use of a turtle by-catch reduction device in recreational crab pots.
A turtle by-catch reduction device is attached in the funnel entrance of a recreational crab pot to reduce the possibility of diamondback terrapins entering the pots and drowning. The device is a rigid metal or plastic rectangular frame 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 install a by-catch reduction device are available online at Turtle Excluder.
Other Delaware crabbing regulations 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.
· Fishing or crabbing off courtesy docks at state-owned boat ramps is prohibited.
· To avoid being cited for littering, gather up leftover bait, bait containers, crab lines and other trash for proper disposal. Fish & Wildlife fishing areas and wildlife areas are “carry in, carry out” for trash.
· For more information on individual wildlife areas, including the rules and regulations specific to each wildlife area, wildlife area visitors are encouraged to check out Delaware wildlife area maps, which are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps.
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.
For more information on crabbing in Delaware, 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.
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. 224