DNREC issues multiple citations for shark fishing violations

DOVER (July 20, 2015) – As part of continuing enforcement vigilance and a public awareness campaign about protected shark species that anglers are prohibited from possessing, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers over the last two weeks have issued 16 citations for violations of state shark fishing regulations.

  • Bernardo Luis-Rayo, 53, of Lincoln, was cited on July 12 for two counts of possession of a prohibited shark species, along with one count of possession of undersized blue crabs near Slaughter Beach. Luis-Rayo was issued a fine of $321 including court costs.
  • Gary M. Messick, 32, of Milford, was cited on July 12 for three counts of removing a prohibited shark species from the water/landing a prohibited shark species on the beach and two counts of possession of a prohibited shark species, along with one count of fishing without a license near Big Stone Beach. Messick was issued fines totaling $700 including court costs.
  • Willard J. Millman Jr., 61, of Milford, was cited on July 12 for one count each of possession of a prohibited shark species and removing a prohibited shark species from the water (landing a prohibited shark species on the beach). Millman was issued fines totaling $214 including court costs.
  • On July 11, Jerson F. Sefil, 49, of Frederica, was cited for five counts of possession of a prohibited shark species near Milford. Sefil was issued fines totaling $535 including court costs.
  • On July 7, Ernest L. Edwards, 55, of Wilmington, was cited for two counts of possession of a prohibited shark species near Bowers Beach. Edwards was issued fines totaling $214 including court costs.

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“Before casting their lines, anglers fishing for sharks in Delaware waters need to review species that may be legally caught and retained here,” said Cpl. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Landing, attempting to land, possessing or removing any prohibited shark species from the water is illegal in Delaware, and prohibited shark species must be immediately released while still in the water. Also, removing any shark from the water for taking photos is dangerous and harmful to the shark.”

The popularity of shark fishing along the coastline has increased the past several years. Delaware hosts many different species of sharks, both in the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. In addition to popular targeted species such as the mako and thresher, anglers may encounter several prohibited species including sand tiger, dusky and sandbar sharks. The sand tiger, sandbar, smooth dogfish and spiny dogfish are the most commonly caught shark species in Delaware.

Anglers are prohibited from keeping sand tiger and sandbar sharks. Due to their low reproductive rate and overfishing, possession of either species is prohibited. Hook-and-line anglers cannot remove from the water any sand tiger or sandbar shark, or any other prohibited species of shark. In addition, any sandbar shark or other prohibited species of shark must be immediately released in a manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival.

Delaware shark fishing regulations also include:

  • Possession of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the body is illegal in Delaware, as is fileting a shark prior to coming ashore.
  • Recreational possession limit, except for dogfish sharks, is one non-prohibited species per vessel and one non-prohibited species per angler on shore.
  • Recreational size limit for non-prohibited sharks, except for dogfish sharks, is 54 inches. Size limit for hammerhead sharks is 78 inches.
  • Anglers may take smooth dogfish and spiny dogfish sharks all year with no minimum size requirements and no daily limit.
  • A complete listing of shark regulations is available at Delaware Code – shark regulations.

Most anglers fishing for sharks in state waters require a Delaware fishing license and FIN 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. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For more information on Delaware fishing licenses, please call 302-739-9918.

Recreational anglers targeting sharks in federal waters outside Delaware’s 3-mile line also require a highly migratory species permit available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website,https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, including shark regulations, click on 2015 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.

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