Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: June 13-19

Reminder for the week: Visitors to fishing areas, boat ramps and wildlife areas reminded to take trash with them when they leave

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, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between June 13-19 made 1,939 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 253 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 45 complaints and issued 52 citations. This week, with an expanded Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continuing to be deployed as a deterrent, no citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.

Incidents of note:

  • On June 16, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Robert L. Wheatley, 73, of Seaford, and charged him with two counts of carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and one count each of hunting from a motor vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) near Seaford. Wheatley was released pending a mandatory court appearance at a later date.
  • On June 14, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Alexander Bati, 45, of Wilmington, for recreational crab pot tampering and Timothy Roehm, 53, of Lititz, Pa., for use of a recreational crab pot without required turtle excluder on the Inland Bays. Both face fines of $107 each, including court costs.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (2).

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (6), recreational crab pot tampering (1), use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (1), possession of undersized weakfish (1), and possession of undersized summer flounder (1).
Commercial: Improper display of commercial crabbing license number on crab pot floats (22).

Boating and Boating Safety: Negligent operation of a vessel (1), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), operating/riding a personal watercraft without wearing a lifejacket as required by law (2), failure to observe slow-no-wake zone (1), allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (1), no boat ramp certificate (1), and no boating education certificate (5).

Public Safety: Driving under the influence (1), carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (2), and hunting from a motor vehicle (1).

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police News, Training and Outreach
On June 17, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police’s new K-9 teams AFC Chelsea Allen and K-9 Officer River and AFC Josh Hudson and K-9 Officer Rosco graduated from the Maryland Natural Resources Police K-9 Academy following an intensive 10-week training course. The K-9s and their partners are now certified in human tracking, evidence location and wildlife evidence tracking of deer and wild turkeys.

Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind visitors to state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat launching facilities and multi-use areas to take any trash they generate with them when they leave.

“Littering can be a problem, especially in many fishing areas, so please observe the carry-in, carry-out rule and leave no trace behind,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Those who are caught leaving trash in these areas will be fined for littering.”

For more information on individual wildlife areas, including the rules and regulations specific to each area, visitors are encouraged to review 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, DE 19901, 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.

Contact: Sgt. John McDerby, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 231


National Mosquito Control Awareness Week: June 26 through July 2

DNREC Mosquito Control Section urges: Do your part in helping keep mosquito populations down in Delaware

DOVER – The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has declared June 26-July 2 as the 20th annual National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, and in observance of it, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Mosquito Control Section is encouraging Delawareans to take precautions to avoid or reduce mosquito bites, and to put particular emphasis on eliminating backyard mosquito-producing habitat.

“As a sustaining member of the American Mosquito Control Association, the Delaware Mosquito Control Section joins with our AMCA colleagues around the country in highlighting our efforts in making modern life as mosquito-free as possible, or at least tolerable compared to extreme infestations in the past,” said Dr. William Meredith, Delaware Mosquito Control Section administrator and past AMCA president. “But we can’t achieve all of this on our own, so we urge property owners to help us – and themselves – by practicing good water sanitation on their lands.”

Whenever there are large rainfall events, Mosquito Control staff work hard to control the large numbers of mosquitoes that can emerge from natural habitats. However, contending with the many artificial habitats holding standing water requires the help of homeowners throughout the state. The best approach for mosquitoes is prevention, and it’s easy to make a difference in your community by eliminating standing water from artificial containers on your property and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.

Common house mosquitoes and Asian tiger mosquitoes are known carriers of West Nile virus, and in Delaware are common mosquitoes produced in backyards and neighborhoods throughout the state. Asian tiger mosquitoes are of additional concern as potential carriers for chikungunya and Zika viruses, which could be introduced into the local mosquito population if a Delaware mosquito bites a resident who returns home from travel abroad carrying these viruses.

Asian tiger mosquitoes lay eggs in and hatch from artificial container habitats including tarps, flower pots, buckets, boats, tires, rain gutters, corrugated downspout pipes – anything in your yard that can collect water. These nuisance mosquitoes don’t fly more than a few hundred yards from where they hatch, so that means that if you have these mosquitoes, the source is very likely your yard or one of your immediate neighbors’. Removal of even the smallest amounts of standing water in artificial containers from your property will help reduce or eliminate these mosquitoes from your area.

If you can’t eliminate the mosquitoes from your area, always remember to protect yourself from mosquito bites by avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito times (dusk to dawn), wearing long sleeves and long pants, and/or properly using mosquito repellent.

To combat mosquitoes, the Mosquito Control Section provides spray services by helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft and truck-mounted sprayer. Advance public notice of when and where spraying for adult mosquitoes will occur is available by calling 800-338-8181 toll-free and in radio announcements on some stations. Interested parties may also subscribe to receive email, text or phone message notices of mosquito control spraying in their area by signing up on the Spray Zone Notification System at de.gov/mosquitospray.

In addition to providing mosquito control services, the Mosquito Control Section also monitors for various mosquito-borne illnesses. As part of their annual West Nile virus monitoring program, Mosquito Control requests that the public report finding sick or dead birds for possible testing. Residents are asked to report the following species only: crows, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hawks or owls, plus clusters of five or more sick or dead wild birds of any species. Bird specimens should have been dead for less than 24 hours and not appear to have died or been killed by other obvious causes.

Zika and chikungunya viruses are mosquito-borne diseases currently found in South and Central America and the Caribbean, and there is some concern about these viruses possibly occurring in local mosquito populations in southern and Mid-Atlantic areas of the U.S., including Delaware. Unlike West Nile virus, neither of these two viruses involves wild birds as hosts, but rather are transmitted by mosquitoes person-to-person, so monitoring wild bird populations or sentinel chickens would not be an effective means of detecting these viruses in local mosquitoes. For further information on preventing Zika visit: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/zika.html

To report sick or dead birds, or to report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes and request mosquito control services, please call Mosquito Control’s field offices between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday:

  • New Castle County and northern Kent County from Dover north, call Mosquito Control’s Glasgow office at 302-836-2555
  • Remainder of southern Kent County and all of Sussex County, call Mosquito Control’s Milford office at 302-422-1512

Callers to Mosquito Control field offices after business hours or during weekends or holidays can leave voicemail with their name, phone number, address and a brief message. Messages regarding dead birds that are left more than 24 hours before Mosquito Control can review them – typically messages left between Friday evening and Sunday morning when staff might not be present – may result in birds becoming too deteriorated for virus testing.

For more information on Delaware’s Mosquito Control program, please call the main office at 302-739-9917, or click Delaware Mosquito Control.

For more information about West Nile virus in humans, please contact the Delaware Division of Public Health at 302-744-1033 or 888-295-5156. For more information about West Nile virus in horses, eastern equine encephalitis or vaccines, please contact the State Veterinarian at the Delaware Department of Agriculture at 800-282-8685 (Delaware only) or 302-698-4500.

DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section provides statewide services to about 945,000 Delaware residents and 7.5 million visitors annually to maintain quality of life and protect public health by reducing the possibility of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, chikungunya and Zika virus. Throughout the warmer months, Mosquito Control monitors and treats mosquito populations that emerge from wetland areas throughout the state, including ditches, stormwater ponds, wet woodlands and coastal salt marshes, using EPA-registered insecticides. These insecticides have been determined by EPA to pose no unreasonable risk to human health, wildlife or the environment when professionally applied. The Section also works year-round on water and marsh management projects designed to reduce mosquito populations, and provides the public with information on dealing with mosquitoes, from reducing backyard mosquito production to avoiding mosquito bites. For more information, call 302-739-9917 or visit de.gov/mosquito.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 232


Public asked to report sick or dead wild birds to DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section for 2016 West Nile virus monitoring

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Mosquito Control Section is again asking for the public’s help in monitoring West Nile virus in Delaware by reporting the discovery of sick or dead wild birds that may have contracted the virus. West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease of concern to human health and to owners of unvaccinated horses.

Beginning today, the Mosquito Control Section requests that the public report sick or dead birds of the following species only: crows, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hawks or owls, plus clusters of five or more sick or dead wild birds of any species. Bird specimens should have been dead for less than 24 hours and not appear to have died or been killed by other obvious causes.

“We are interested in when and where West Nile virus might first appear in Delaware this year and in monitoring the timing and locations of its possible spread throughout the state,” said Dr. William Meredith, Delaware Mosquito Control administrator. “Our sampling strategy this year will be to collect and test a sample of wild birds found throughout the state from early June to late September.”

Birds collected by Mosquito Control are processed by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry & Animal Health Lab, and are then submitted to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Laboratory for virus testing. From early July through mid- to late October, Mosquito Control also will operate its statewide network of about 20 sentinel chicken stations placed in prime mosquito areas, which “keep watch” for WNV and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), another mosquito-borne viral disease that affects horses and humans. The DPH lab tests blood samples from the sentinel chickens for both viruses to help indicate where WNV or EEE has been transmitted by mosquitoes from wild bird hosts to other animals, possibly leading to an increased risk of exposure for humans or horses.

“The prevalence of prime mosquito production habitats in Delaware, combined with our high human population density, presents quite a challenge, but our effective approach to controlling mosquitoes has helped reduce the frequency of West Nile virus transmission and prevent large outbreaks,” Dr. Meredith said.

In 2015, two mosquito-related human cases of WNV were reported in Delaware, neither of them fatal. No human cases of WNV were reported in 2014, although three cases occurred in 2013 with no fatalities. A resurgence in Delaware as well as the rest of the country occurred in 2012, when there were nine human cases and one fatality in the state. WNV is transmitted to humans primarily by the common house mosquito, and possibly by Asian tiger mosquitoes. The disease first appeared in Delaware in 2001, with a peak year in 2003, which saw 17 reported human cases and two human fatalities, as well as six WNV-stricken horses. From 2004 through 2011, WNV numbers were lower in Delaware. Only one human case of WNV was reported in 2011.

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nationwide figures show 2,060 reported human cases of West Nile virus resulting in 119 deaths, with the most cases occurring in descending order in California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma and Illinois. Regionally, 52 WNV human cases were reported in New York during 2015 with one death, 45 cases occurred in Maryland with five deaths, 30 in Pennsylvania with one death, 25 in New Jersey with two deaths, 21 in Virginia with one death and four with no deaths in the District of Columbia.

Due to complicated environmental reasons, wild birds are considered better indicators of WNV early in the season from May through July than Mosquito Control’s sentinel chickens, which become better indicators later, from August through October. Weather conditions could also impact this year’s West Nile numbers, whether found in wild birds, sentinel chickens or mosquitoes themselves, as outbreaks can be more severe during abnormally hot years, with 2012 a good example. Within any given year, regardless of total numbers of cases, the period of greatest concern for disease transmission is in late summer and early fall, Dr. Meredith said.

Zika and chikungunya viruses are two other mosquito-borne diseases currently found in South and Central America and the Caribbean, and there is some concern about these viruses possibly occurring in local mosquito populations in southern and Mid-Atlantic areas of the U.S., including Delaware. Neither of these two viruses involves wild birds as hosts, but rather are transmitted by mosquitoes person-to-person, so monitoring wild bird populations or sentinel chickens would not be an effective means of detecting these viruses in local mosquitoes. For further information on preventing Zika visit: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/zika.html

Dr. Meredith also noted that there is no cause for alarm that uncollected specimens might transmit WNV to humans, or to pets that come in contact with a sick or dead bird. Should the public encounter dead birds, they can be left to decompose in place or they can be buried or bagged and disposed of in the garbage. When disposing of any dead bird, he advises avoiding direct skin contact by wearing gloves and/or by using a shovel.

Sick or dead birds can be reported to the Mosquito Control Section between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling Mosquito Control’s field offices:

  • New Castle County and northern Kent County from Dover north, call Mosquito Control’s Glasgow office at 302-836-2555
  • Remainder of southern Kent County and all of Sussex County, call Mosquito Control’s Milford office at 302-422-1512

Callers to Mosquito Control field offices after business hours or during weekends or holidays can leave voicemail. Callers should give their name, phone number, address and leave a brief message. However, the public should be aware that some calls left more than 24 hours before Mosquito Control can review them – typically involving times between Friday evening and Sunday morning when staff might not be present – may result in birds becoming too deteriorated for virus testing.

The phone numbers above may also be used to report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes to help the Mosquito Control Section determine when and where to provide control services. For more information on Delaware’s Mosquito Control program, please call the main office at 302-739-9917, or click Delaware Mosquito Control.

For more information about West Nile virus in humans, please contact the Delaware Division of Public Health at 302-744-1033 or 888-295-5156. For more information about West Nile virus in horses, eastern equine encephalitis or vaccines, please contact the State Veterinarian at the Delaware Department of Agriculture at 800-282-8685 (Delaware only) or 302-698-4500.

DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section provides statewide services to about 945,000 Delaware residents and 7.5 million visitors annually to maintain quality of life and protect public health by reducing the possibility of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, chikungunya and Zika virus. Throughout the warmer months, Mosquito Control monitors and treats mosquito populations that emerge from wetland areas throughout the state, including ditches, stormwater ponds, wet woodlands and coastal salt marshes, using EPA-registered insecticides. These insecticides have been determined by EPA to pose no unreasonable risk to human health, wildlife or the environment when professionally applied. The Section also works year-round on water and marsh management projects designed to reduce mosquito populations, and provides the public with information on dealing with mosquitoes, from reducing backyard mosquito production to avoiding mosquito bites. For more information, call 302-739-9917 or visit http://de.gov/mosquito.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 46, No. 214


DNREC, DHSS issue new fish consumption advisories reflecting significant improvements in New Castle County

DOVER –Updated consumption advisories for fish caught in Delaware waterways show some of the most significant improvements in fish tissue contaminant concentrations since the state began assessing contaminants in fish in 1986, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health (DHSS/DPH) announced today. Fish consumption advisories are recommendations to limit or avoid eating certain fish caught in local waters that alert people to the potential health risks of eating contaminated fish. The latest advisories come from recent data collected and analyzed from fish caught in New Castle County waterways.

“Overall, the updated advisories are good news for an area of our state that has historically been challenged by the impacts of legacy contaminants,” said DNREC Secretary David Small. “The improvements we’re seeing indicate that collaborative efforts among state, federal, local, and industry partners to address contaminants, along with DNREC’s innovative toxics assessment and restoration projects, are making a difference. This progress is also the result of significant investments in wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and cleanup technologies. If we are to achieve our goal to accelerate the cleanup of remaining contaminants and restore our waterways in the shortest time possible, we will need the technical and financial resources to make that happen.”

Less restrictive advisories were issued for seven waterways – the tidal and non-tidal Christina River, Little Mill Creek, tidal Brandywine River, tidal White Clay Creek, and upstream and downstream portions of Shellpot Creek – a result of long-term improvements in reducing contaminants in fish caught in these waterways. A more restrictive advisory was issued for Red Clay Creek due to higher levels of some contaminants, while the advisories for two waterways, the non-tidal Brandywine River and non-tidal White Clay Creek, were unchanged and remain the same as for 2015.

“I applaud DNREC’s continuing efforts to clean up our state’s waterways, which, in turn, reduces the restrictions on fish consumption,” said DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf. “The Division of Public Health would like to remind everyone that consuming fish is an important part of a healthy diet because they contain high-quality proteins along with other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. This updated advice will help all of us make informed healthy decisions about the right amount and right kinds of fish that our families should eat from Delaware’s waterways.”

Many of the contaminants that prompt fish advisories in Delaware are “legacy pollutants” – chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the banned insecticide DDT, and dioxins and furans that were released into waterways in significant quantities in the past. These legacy pollutants are slow to break down in the environment and can accumulate in fish and in bottom sediments of lakes, streams and estuaries.

The improvements in consumption advisories are largely the result of declining PCB concentrations in fish. Tidal areas of the Christina and Brandywine Rivers and Shellpot Creek, historically some of the most contaminated areas in the state, have shown decreases of PCB concentrations of 50 to 60 percent in the last eight years. The reduction in PCB levels is attributed to several efforts, including state-of-the-science testing to identify, prioritize, and control remaining sources of contaminants and to innovative clean-up strategies, including adding activated carbon and quicklime to sediments that bind contaminants and limit their transfer to the water and fish. In addition, DNREC and its partners, including the Delaware River Basin Commission, New Castle County Special Services, the City of Wilmington, state environmental agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and industrial facilities, have been working cooperatively on strategies and projects that implement the Delaware Estuary total maximum daily load (TMDL) pollution limits, since first established in 2003.

The latest advisories encompass New Castle County waterways and include:

Tidal Christina River. The advisory for the Tidal Christina River between Smalley’s Dam (near Christiana) to the Delaware River was updated to less-restrictive advice that includes two areas:

  • Area upstream of the Peterson Wildlife Refuge to Smalleys Dam. Less restrictive advisory:
    The current advice of “eat no fish” caught from this area has been revised to “eat no more than 12 eight-ounce meals of fish per year.” The advice also applies to Nonesuch Creek, a tidal tributary of the Christina. This increase in allowable fish consumption is significant and can be attributed to improved water quality flowing from the non-tidal portion of the Christina River into the upper tidal portion of the River. PCBs are the primary contaminant of concern.
  • Area between the Peterson Wildlife Refuge downstream to where the Christina River empties into the Delaware River. Less restrictive advisory:
    For the general adult population, the current advice of “eat no fish” has been updated to “eat no more than one eight-ounce meal of fish per year.” The modest easing of the advice is largely attributed to falling concentrations of PCBs – approximately 50 percent from 2007 to 2015. The new advice for this area is consistent with the tidal Delaware River, into which the Christina River flows. Despite improvements in PCBs, they remain the primary contaminant of concern.

Non-Tidal Christina River. Less restrictive advisory:

The non-tidal Christina River runs from its headwaters north and west of Newark downstream to Smalleys Dam. The existing advice of “eat no more than six eight-ounce meals of fish” has been doubled to “eat no more than 12 meals per year.” The single contaminant of concern is Dieldrin, a chemical that was used in the past as an insecticide for termite control. PCBs and chlordane are no longer contaminants of concern.

Little Mill Creek. Less restrictive advisory:

A tributary of the Christina River, Little Mill Creek’s headwaters are in Greenville. The Creek flows southward through Elsmere, Canby Park, and the Peterson Wildlife Refuge and empties into the tidal Christina south of Wilmington.

The existing fish consumption advisory is to “eat no fish.” New data and assessment found that the current advice can be less stringent and has been revised to “eat one eight-ounce meal of fish per year.” The chemicals of concern include PCBs and chlorinated pesticides. Revising the advisory to “one meal per year” is consistent with the recommended advice for the lower reach of the tidal Christina into which the Little Mill Creek flows.

Tidal Brandywine River. Less restrictive advisory:

The Brandywine River is the largest tributary of the Christina River. The tidal Brandywine covers the area between Baynard Boulevard in Wilmington downstream to its confluence with the Christina River.

The existing fish consumption advisory is to “eat no fish.” The advice is being increased to “eat no more than two eight-ounce meals of fish per year.” The primary chemical of concern continues to be PCBs, however, PCB concentrations in fish have dropped significantly – approximately 59 percent from 2007 to 2015. The reduction is the result of steady cleanup efforts at the Amtrak former fueling facility in Wilmington and other projects. DNREC and the EPA are working with Amtrak on a plan to fully remediate the site, with the goal of further easing the fish advisory in the future.

Non-Tidal Brandywine. No change in existing advisory:

The non-tidal Brandywine runs from the Delaware/Pennsylvania state line to the head of tide near Baynard Boulevard in Wilmington. The data and assessment supports keeping the existing advice to “eat no more than six eight-ounce meals of fish per year.”

Tidal White Clay Creek. Less restrictive advisory:

The lower three miles of the White Clay Creek are tidal between the mouth of the creek and Route 4 in Stanton. Hershey Run, which has a history of contamination, flows into the tidal White Clay Creek. The advisory was updated from “eat no fish” to “eat no more than one eight-ounce meal of fish per year.” PCBs remain the primary contaminant of concern.

Non-Tidal White Clay Creek. No change in existing advisory:

The non-tidal White Clay Creek originates in Chester County, Pennsylvania and flows into Delaware north of the City of Newark. The existing advice of “eat no more than 12 eight-ounce meals of fish per year” is being retained and the primary contaminant continues to be PCBs.

Red Clay Creek. More restrictive advisory:

The Red Clay Creek, which has a long history of contamination in Pennsylvania and Delaware, flows into Delaware south of Kennett Square, Pa. and north of Yorklyn, Del. New data and assessment found that the recommended meal advice needs to be more stringent – from “eat no more than six meals per year” to “eat no more than three meals per year.” PCBs and dioxins and furans are retained as contaminants of concern and chlorinated pesticides added.

In recent years, fish caught near the Pennsylvania/Delaware state line have shown an increase in the concentration of the banned insecticide, DDT, and its breakdown products, suggesting the source or sources of this contamination may be in Pennsylvania. DNREC and environmental officials in Pennsylvania are working cooperatively to assess and control the contamination. Follow-up actions will include sampling areas for contamination to confirm that sources are being controlled.

Shellpot Creek. The headwaters of Shellpot Creek are located near Talleyville and its outlet is in the far eastern portion of Wilmington, just north of the Cherry Island landfill. The advisory was updated to less-restrictive advice that includes two areas:

  • Upstream of Governor Printz Boulevard. Less restrictive advisory:
    The current advice of “eat not more than one eight-ounce meal of fish per year” has been revised to “eat not more than two eight-ounce meals per year.” The contaminant of concern is Dieldrin and its presence in the creek upstream of Governor Printz Boulevard is likely the result of heavy usage of Dieldrin in the past, primarily as an insecticide to control termites.
  • Downstream of Governor Printz Boulevard. Less restrictive advisory:
    The current advice of “eat no fish” has been revised to “eat no more than one eight-ounce meal of fish per year.” Although PCBs continue to be the primary chemical of concern, concentrations of PCBs have dropped significantly in waters downstream of Governor Printz Boulevard, a result of less pollution entering the Creek and improvements in the Delaware River.

In addition to the advisories mentioned above, DNREC and DHSS remind the public of the general statewide fish consumption advisory issued in 2007:

  • Eat no more than one meal per week of any fish caught in Delaware’s fresh, estuarine and marine waters. This advisory applies to all waters and fish species not otherwise explicitly covered by an advisory.

The statewide advisory is issued in an abundance of caution to protect against eating large amounts of fish or fish that have not been tested, or that may contain unidentified chemical contaminants. Delaware issues more stringent advice for specific waters when justified by the data. One meal is defined as an eight-ounce serving for adults and a three-ounce serving for children.

People who choose to eat fish caught in Delaware waters in spite of the consumption advisories can take steps to reduce exposure. Contaminants tend to concentrate in the fatty tissue, so proper cleaning and cooking techniques can significantly reduce levels of PCBs, dioxins, chlorinated pesticides and other organic chemicals. Larger fish tend to have higher concentrations. To reduce the amount of chemical contaminants being consumed:

  • Remove all skin
  • Slice off fat belly meat along the bottom of the fish
  • Cut away any fat above the fish’s backbone
  • Cut away the V-shaped wedge of fat along the lateral line on each side of the fish
  • Bake or broil trimmed fish on a rack or grill so some of the remaining fat drips away
  • Discard any drippings; do not eat drippings or use them for cooking other foods.

However, consumers are cautioned that these techniques will not reduce or remove unsafe levels of mercury from fish.

A chart which shows all fish consumption advisories for Delaware waters, including the revised advisories issued today, can be found on DNREC’s web site. The revised advisories will be reflected in the 2017 Delaware Fishing Guide available at tackle shops and fishing license dealers.

For more information, contact Dr. Richard Greene, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship, 302-739-9939.

Visit the following U.S. government websites for information on federal fish consumption advisories, on mercury in fish and shellfish, and on how to safely select and serve fresh and frozen fish.

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
    www.epa.gov/ost/fish
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
    http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm110591.htm
    http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm077331.htm

Media Contacts:

Vol. 46, No. 209


DNREC to hold public hearing Wednesday, June 8 in Millville on Statewide Activity Approval process for Delaware shellfish aquaculture activities

DOVER – The DNREC Division of Water’s Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section will conduct a public hearing Wednesday, June 8 to solicit input on the proposed Statewide Activity Approval (SAA) for shellfish aquaculture in specific, designated shellfish aquaculture development areas (SADA) in Delaware. The hearing will start at 6 p.m. at the Millville Fire Hall, 35554 Atlantic Ave, Millville, DE 19970.

The SAA, if adopted by DNREC, would be used by the Division of Water to more efficiently issue approvals for the use of subaqueous lands after shellfish aquaculture lease applicants have received authorization from the Division of Fish & Wildlife for shellfish aquaculture activities within specific portions of the SADAs previously established under 7 DE Admin Code 3800 Shellfish Aquaculture Regulation. The public is advised that the upcoming hearing will address only the use of the SAAs by the Division of Water to more efficiently review applications and issue permits – the state’s shellfish aquaculture regulation is not the subject of this hearing.

The SADAs eligible for approval by the Statewide Activity Approval, with their parenthetical designations, include Indian River Bay (IR-A), Rehoboth Bay (RB-A, RB-B, RB-C), and Little Assawoman Bay (LA-B in part and LA-D), specifically.

DNREC had previously published public notice of the proposed Statewide Activity Approval, accepting public comments on the SAA process during the March 23 – April 12, 2016 comment period. Subsequently, the Department determined that the public interest warranted holding the upcoming public hearing on the SAA, according to Wetlands & Subaqueous Lands Administrator Steven Smailer.

Anyone wishing to comment on the proposed SAA may present written statements through the close of the public comment period, which has been reopened and extended until the conclusion of the June 8 public hearing. Interested parties may also present comment orally or in written form at the hearing. Persons who want to speak at the public hearing are encouraged to register through DNREC’s hearing officer Robert Haynes in advance and no later than June 6. This registration will be used to determine the order of speakers at the public hearing.

Registration and any written comments should be sent either by emailing Robert.Haynes@delaware.gov or by mail to:

Robert P. Haynes, Esq.
Senior Hearing Officer
Office of the Secretary
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
P.O. Box 1401
89 Kings Highway,
Dover, DE 19901

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 204