CDFW Busts Striped Bass Traffickers in Fresno County

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 Nov. 28-Dec. 4 made 804 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 50 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 59 citations. Officers responded to 29 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 associated recreational trail.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

Incident of note:

· On Dec. 1, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested a commercial waterman from Lewes, for 33 counts of improperly marked commercial conch pots. During a routine check of commercial conch pot compliance in the Delaware Bay, near Lower Middle Shoal, officers located 98 pots belonging to the individual that were illegally marked. He was arraigned at Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7 and released pending a future court appearance at Kent County Court of Common Pleas.

The following press release was issued related to this week’s citations:

· Kent County man arrested for multiple firearm hunting related and drug violations

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

Wildlife Conservation: Trespass to hunt (1), possess an illegally taken antlered deer (2), possess an illegally taken antlerless deer (2), and cut live trees or shrubs on state forest property (1).

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (1), and possession of undersized striped bass (1).

Commercial: Improperly marked conch pots (33).

Public Safety: Possession of a firearm by a person prohibited (4), possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited (3), possession of ammunition by a person prohibited (3), possession of marijuana (1), possession of drug paraphernalia (1), possession of a prescription drug not a controlled substance without a prescription (1), criminal impersonation (1), impersonate a police officer (1), forgery 2nd (1), reckless driving (1), and driving while suspended or revoked (1).

Are you AWARE?

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police encourage the public to report violations of Delaware’s hunting and wildlife regulations through Operation Game Theft (OGT), a fund established in 1980 by the Delaware General Assembly to assist in the apprehension and conviction of game law violators. Funded with all fines collected for violation of game laws in Delaware and with donations from various sources, OGT provides rewards up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons involved in game law violations. The identity of those providing information is kept confidential, and rewards are paid in cash.

Following is a list of rewards paid by Operation Game Theft for information on violations covered under the fund:

Rewards of $100 – $1,000

· Commercialization of wildlife (sale of wildlife or wildlife parts)

· Killing an endangered/threatened species

· Any violation in which a Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officer is assaulted

· Fleeing to avoid prosecution for a wildlife violation

Rewards of $100 – $500

· Illegally hunting black ducks, canvasbacks, turkeys or Canada geese

· Poisoning wildlife

· Destruction of state wildlife areas or equipment

· Gross over-limits of wildlife

· Illegally hunting waterfowl or deer on state game refuges

· Willful obstruction of lawful hunting

· Illegally hunting/trapping out of season or at night

· Hunting during license revocation

· Possession, tending or setting killer traps with a jaw spread in excess of 5 inches

Rewards up to $100

· Fraudulent use of hunting license and/or fraudulently obtaining a hunting license

· Illegally hunting with a rifle

· Dumping trash on state wildlife areas

NOTE: An additional $100 reward will be paid by the Delaware Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally killing a wild turkey in Delaware.

Operation Game Theft’s primary focus is on catching and deterring those who illegally kill wildlife species, including ducks, geese, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and endangered or threatened species. “While poaching is broadly defined as the illegal hunting or killing of wildlife, it actually robs natural resources from the people of Delaware, especially from the majority of hunters who hunt legally and ethically,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “With the help of Delaware citizens, we can better battle poaching to conserve our wildlife resources.”

Residents and landowners in Delaware are encouraged to report any suspicious or illegal activity that they observe as soon as possible to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at Operation Game Theft. “To report a violation, please provide all the information you can. Details that might seem insignificant often help in solving cases,” Sgt. McDerby said. “And the sooner you can get the information to us, the better the chances are that we can catch violators.”

Useful details include:

· Time, date and location of the violation observed;

· Species and numbers of wildlife involved;

· How the animal was taken and its current location, if known;

· A vehicle description and tag number; and

· Age, height, weight, hair color, clothing and any other identifying features of the violator(s), if this information can be obtained safely without contacting, confronting or attempting to restrain the violator(s).

For more information, contact Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police at 302-739-9913 during weekday business hours or call the 24-hour line at 302-739-4580.

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