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:
May 30-June 5
Reminder for the week: Commercial horseshoe crab harvest occurring now
DOVER (June 10, 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’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between May 30-June 5 made 2,677 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 112 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 27 complaints and issued 321 citations, one of which was related to the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail, where there is an increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (8)*, possession of undersized blue crab (1), and possession of undersized white perch (1).
Commercial: Possession of undersized knobbed conch (289), possession of unlawfully taken fish (4), and unlawful method of take for summer flounder/dredging (4), and no commercial license in possession (1).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), failure to observe slow-no-wake zone (1), and operating an unregistered vessel (1).
Public Safety: Possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited (1), possession of ammunition by a person prohibited (1), possession of a deadly weapon during commission of a felony (1), carrying a concealed deadly instrument (1), possession of heroin (2), possession of drug paraphernalia (2), hindering prosecution (1), and failure to stop at a red light (1).
* Citation issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area: no fishing license (1).
Two DNREC press releases were issued related to this week’s citations:
· DNREC Natural Resources Police arrest two Maryland residents on drug, weapons charges at Bowers Beach
· Commercial waterman faces charges for fishing violations including possession of numerous undersized conch
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police News, Training and Outreach
On June 4, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police held their 30th annual Youth Fishing Tournament with more than 170 children attending the event, which was held at Lums Pond in New Castle County, Wyoming Pond in Kent County and Ingrams Pond in Sussex County. The tournament is held annually on Free Fishing Weekend to encourage children to get outdoors and learn about fishing and to teach conservation through catch-and-release fishing practices.
Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind visitors to central Bayshore beaches that they may see horseshoe crabs being legally harvested by commercial watermen now through the end of July. Delaware’s hand harvest of horseshoe crabs is permitted annually on weekdays from June 8 through July 31, or until Delaware’s annual quota is reached.
To harvest horseshoe crabs in Delaware, licensed commercial watermen must obtain a permit from the Division of Fish & Wildlife. Delaware adheres to the annual harvest limit set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), under the Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs. Harvest of male crabs is permitted only from the public beach at Port Mahon east of Dover and from private beaches with permission of the property owner; no harvest of female crabs is permitted at any time.
Delaware fisheries regulations require commercial watermen to report their horseshoe crab harvest within 24 hours; failure to do so results in a fine and possible suspension of their harvest permit until the report is submitted. The Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Fisheries Section monitors horseshoe crab harvest numbers until ASMFC’s annual quota is reached – this year, 162,136 male crabs – at which time the season closes. If the quota is not reached by July 31, a limited number of dredging permits for taking horseshoe crabs may be issued to commercial watermen.
Horseshoe crabs are harvested in Delaware for use as bait in the whelk (conch) and American eel commercial fisheries. Their copper-based blood also plays a key role in pharmaceutical testing. Through quotas, seasonal/area closures, widespread use of alternative baits and bait-saving devices and other conservation measures, bait landings in Delaware have been reduced.
Horseshoe crabs are vital to the ecology of the Delaware Bay, with visiting migratory shorebirds relying on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel their long distance migrations. The horseshoe crab harvest season opens after the shorebirds’ departure for their Arctic breeding grounds.
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 http://de.gov/ogt.
Like Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.
Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice. Vol. 46, No. 213