Reminder for the week: Visitors to state wildlife, fishing
and boating areas urged to respect natural resources
DOVER (Aug. 28, 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 Aug. 17-23 made 1,543 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 231 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 86 complaints and issued 71 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.
Incidents of particular note were:
- On Aug. 21, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited William E. Cunningham, 64, of Dover, for possession of a prohibited shark species near Bowers Beach. Cunningham was issued a fine totaling $107, including court costs.
- On the evening/night of Aug. 21-22, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers patrolled state wildlife areas, ponds and boat ramps in New Castle and Kent counties to help curb recent occurrences of vandalism, theft and other criminal activities. In Kent County, patrols focused on Milford’s state ponds and on state boat ramps at Port Mahon and Woodland Beach; in New Castle County, their focus was on the C&D Canal Conservation Area, the Augustine Wildlife Area and the Collins Beach public boat ramp. Sixteen citations were issued during the operation, including a DUI. Other charges included damaging state wildlife property, trespassing after hours on state wildlife areas and operating motor vehicles off established wildlife area roadways. Officers also located a juvenile reported on the national missing persons list.
- On Aug. 22, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Jay R. Murphy, 33, of Smyrna, for driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with an expired license, trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area, operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area and damaging state property on a wildlife area near Woodland Beach. Murphy was released pending a mandatory appearance at a later date in Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover.
- On Aug. 22, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited Robert W. Borgmann Jr., 49, of Millsboro, for removing a prohibited shark species from the water on a vessel in the ocean. Borgmann was issued a fine totaling $107, including court costs.
Citations issued this week by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (13), operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (3), and damaging state property on a wildlife area (1).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (13), possession of undersized blue crabs (13), recreational crab pot tampering/tending crab pots belonging to another (3), possession of a prohibited shark species (1), removing a prohibited shark species from the water/landing a prohibited shark species on the beach (1), possession of undersized white perch (1), possession of undersized black drum (1), possession of undersized Atlantic croaker (1), and possession of undersized summer flounder (1).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (8), failure to observe slow-no-wake zone (1), no fire extinguisher/required safety equipment (1), no life jacket on personal watercraft (PWC)/required safety equipment (1), towing a tuber with a PWC without required observer (2), and towing a water skier without required observer (1).
Public Safety: Driving under the influence of alcohol (1), driving with an expired license (1), and harvesting shellfish in a closed or prohibited area (1).
* One citation, which is not marked with an asterisk, was issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area:trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (1).
Are you AWARE?
With summer winding down and fall weather just around the corner, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police continue to closely monitor state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat launching facilities and multi-use areas for visitor safety and compliance, as well as checking for illegal activity such as vandalism, littering, dumping and damaging wildlife habitat.
“The public is encouraged to enjoy our wildlife, fishing and boating access areas and the unique outdoor experiences they offer,” said Cpl. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “However, as stewards of this land for Delaware, we cannot allow the few people who do not respect our conservation mission to ruin things for the many who do. Those caught abusing our natural resources through illegal activities will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
State wildlife areas, fishing piers and boat launching facilities are closed to the public from sunset to sunrise unless a person is actively and lawfully engaged in fishing, hunting or boating in accordance with state regulations and individual wildlife area rules. Individuals not meeting these requirements and found at these sites between sunset and sunrise face fines up to $100 for trespassing after hours.
Wildlife area visitors also are reminded that it is illegal to operate motor vehicles – including motorcycles, cars, trucks and SUVs – off established roadways in state wildlife areas. Violators who cause damage also will be cited for destruction of state property. In addition, operating a motor vehicle that is not licensed for use on established public roadways – including ATVs – is prohibited both on- and off-road on state wildlife areas.
The following rules also apply to all state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat launching facilities and multi-use areas:
- Camping, swimming, target shooting (including paintball), fires, dumping and littering are prohibited in state wildlife areas.
- Dog training is permitted only within established dog training areas or during open hunting seasons for the game animals that the dog is being trained to hunt.
- Hunting is permitted only in specified areas and only during designated hunting seasons.
- Firearms are prohibited on state wildlife areas from March 1 to Aug. 31, except during legal hunting seasons or as authorized by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.
- Trash at all of these sites is carry-in, carry-out.
“Littering can be a problem, especially in many fishing areas, so please leave no trace behind and take your trash with you,” Cpl. McDerby said.
For more information on individual wildlife areas, including the rules and regulations specific to each area, visitors are encouraged to give close attention to Delaware wildlife area maps published by the Division of Fish & Wildlife. The maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and also can be found online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps.
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.
Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.