DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between May 18 and 24 made 2,784 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 667 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 108 complaints and issued 94 citations.
Incidents of particular note were:
• On May 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Dean Millard, 57, of Birdsboro, Pa., and charged him with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (OUI) at Massey’s Landing. Millard was taken to the Millsboro police station for a breathalyzer test and released pending a later court date at Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown.
• On May 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested David W. Jones, 24, of Harrington, and charged him with OUI on Rehoboth Bay near Love Creek. Jones was taken to the Millsboro police station for a breathalyzer test and released pending a later court date at Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown.
• On May 23 and 24, and concurrent with National Safe Boating Week (May 16-24), Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers conducted concentrated boating safety patrols on Delaware’s waterways to ensure public safety over the holiday weekend. The officers spent 227.5 hours under way on patrol vessels, conducted 570 vessel boardings, contacted 2,036 members of the public and responded to 74 complaints, including two search-and-rescues. Statewide, 82 citations were issued, including two OUI arrests.
• On May 18, following an investigation near Felton, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Joshua Nuewiller, 38, of Greensboro, Md., and charged him with one count of guiding a turkey hunt in Delaware without a valid Delaware guide license. Nuewiller pled guilty in Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and was fined $107, including court costs.
In all, the parks, hunting and fishing citations issued for the week of May 18-24 included: operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area; six citations for trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area; no valid guide license for hunting; 29 citations for fishing without a license; possession of undersized white perch; three citations for trespassing to fish; nine citations for possession of undersized blue crab; possession of sponge crab; two citations for improperly marked recreational crab pots.
Boating and boating safety citations issued included: nine citations for operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets; six citations for no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law; six citations for operating a motor vessel with an expired registration/operating an unregistered vessel; three citations for failure to observe slow/no wake zone ; no valid boat ramp certificate; two citations for operating a motor vessel under the influence of alcohol; three citations for negligent operation of a vessel; five citations for no boating safety certificate; use of non-complying vessel; no fire extinguisher on board/required safety equipment; and no sound-producing device on board/required safety equipment.
Public safety citations included: two citations for failure to carry helmet on motorcycle; and no motorcycle endorsement.
Additionally, on May 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer and spoke to the public about hunting, fishing and boating safety at the Millsboro VFW Boating & Fishing Expo, which included a fundraiser for an offshore fishing trip for “wounded warriors.”
Tautog season closed through July 16, possession prohibited
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police also this week reminded anglers that from May 12 through July 16 and again from Sept. 1 through Sept. 28, landing and possession of tautog in Delaware is prohibited, regardless of where the fish was caught— Delaware waters, another state’s waters or federal waters.
Tautog typically spawn in offshore waters in late spring to early summer. Due to their slow reproduction and growth, the species is vulnerable to overfishing, and Delaware’s regulations are based on management guidelines issued by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to protect stocks from overfishing. Regulations include:
• A tautog size minimum of 15 inches for all seasons;
• A possession limit of five fish from Jan. 1 through March 31, July 17 through Aug. 31 and Sept. 29 through Dec. 31; and
• A possession limit of three fish from April 1 through May 11.
Most recreational anglers who fish, crab or clam in tidal or non-tidal waters statewide must have a valid Delaware fishing license. Anglers younger than 16 and residents 65 or older are not required to purchase fishing licenses in Delaware.
Both resident and non-resident anglers 16 and older are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) number. The free number is included as part of a Delaware fishing license purchase. License-exempt anglers, including Delaware residents 65 and older, may visit www.delaware-fin.com or call 1-800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free F.I.N. number.
Delaware fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call (302) 739-9918.