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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter April 18 thru 24

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Contact: Sgt. 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  

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter:
April 18-24
Reminder for the week: Recreational crabbers should review rules before crabbing

DOVER (April 29, 2016) – 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 April 18-24 made 1,392 contacts with anglers, boaters, hunters and the general public, including 115 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 32 complaints and issued 22 citations, six 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 note:

·       On April 21, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Shawn Lee, 45, of Franklinsville, N.J., for one count of possession of undersized striped bass near Delaware City. Lee was issued a $165 fine, including court costs. The seized striped bass was donated to the Ministry of Caring Food Kitchen in Wilmington. 

·       On April 19, following an investigation, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Willis C. Hand, 61, of Dover, and charged him with failure to maintain a proper lookout while operating a commercial vessel in connection with a March 10 boating accident on the Murderkill River near Bowers Beach. Hand was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and released on $100 unsecured bond pending a court appearance at a later date.

·       On April 18, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited James K. Evans, 51, of Millsboro, for illegal sale of blue crabs without a commercial license near Harbeson. Evans was issued a $107 fine, including court costs.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (13), possession of undersized white perch (1)*, possession of undersized striped bass (1), illegal use of cast net in tidal water within 300 feet of a dam or spillway (1), possession of undersized blue crabs (1), and illegal sale of blue crabs without a commercial license (1).

Boating and Boating Safety: Failure to maintain a proper lookout while operating a vessel (1), operating an unregistered vessel (1), no boating safety certificate (1), and no tidal/non-tidal boat ramp certificate (1).

* Citation issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area, plus five citations for unlicensed fishing.

Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind 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.

·       Recreational crabbers are prohibited from selling blue crabs; only commercially-licensed crabbers are permitted to offer blue crabs for sale in Delaware.

·       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, 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 desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, 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 2016 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, 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

 Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook,

Vol. 46, No. 156

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