DOVER – 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, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between June 5-11 made 2,032 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 200 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 44 citations. Officers responded to 46 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. An increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and Michael N. Castle Trail.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community
· On June 5-6, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information about Delaware’s native wildlife and natural areas and how Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police protect these resources during a nature program for students from Cedar Lane Elementary School at Lums Pond State Park. The students were also taken on a nature hike to look for signs of wildlife.
· On June 9, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers attended the Delaware Special Olympics opening ceremonies at the University of Delaware Sports Complex in Newark.
· On June 10, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer and conducted several K9 demonstrations at the American Legion on Rt. 24 near Millsboro.
· On June 10, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers attended the Annual Inland Bays Cleanup in Rehoboth Bay and the Indian River Bay utilizing Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police vessels MP November, MP Mike and a small duck boat for enforcement control and prisoner transport. The Department of Corrections assisted in the cleanup efforts with a work release crew.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions
Incidents of note:
· On June 6, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited an individual for two counts of possession of undersized blue crabs, one count of improperly marked crab pots and one count of use of crab pots without required turtle excluder on the Little Assawoman Bay near Fenwick. Dennis Ridge, 52, of Glenburnie, Md., was fined a total of $428, including court costs and released.
· On June 7, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Alfred Alberts Jr., 27, of Milford following an investigation of an incident that occurred in January where a slug hit a residence near Greenwood. Alberts was charged with one count of striking an occupied dwelling with shot discharged from a firearm and arraigned at Sussex County Justice of the Peace Court 3 where he plead guilty, was fined $180, with restitution and released.
· On June 10, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited an individual for four counts of possession of undersized blue crabs on Herring Creek, near Rehoboth Bay. Todd M. Kramer, 54, of Wrightsville, Pa., was fined a total of $428, including court costs and released.
· On June 11, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Brian L. Hall, 54, of Wilmington following an investigation of several hunting violations that occurred in November near Little Creek. Hall was charged with three counts of possession of a firearm/weapon by a person prohibited, one count of possession of illegally taken antlered deer and two counts of possession of illegally taken antlerless deer. Hall was arraigned at Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7 where he transferred his case to the Court of Common Pleas. He was released on $1,902 unsecured bond.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Striking an occupied dwelling with shot discharged from a firearm (1), possession of illegally taken antlered deer (1), and possession of illegally taken antlerless deer (2).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (9), tend crab pot of another (1), possession of undersized striped bass (1), possession of undersized blue crabs (7), crab pot limit (1), use of crab pots without required turtle excluder (2), and improperly marked crab pots (1).
Boating and Boating Safety: Negligent operation (1), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (4), operating a PWC without a life jacket (1), child life jacket violation (1), and equipment violation-no fire extinguisher (1).
Public Safety: Disorderly conduct (2), and possession of a firearm/weapon by a person prohibited (3).
Other: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (1), dumping/littering on private property (1), possession of marijuana-civil (2)*, and failure to transfer title and registration (1)*.
*Includes citation(s) issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
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.
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.
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 2017 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.