Delaware Waterman Charged With 200+ Shellfish Violations

DOVER, Del. – A Milford man has been charged with more than 200 commercial shellfish violations, following a DNREC investigation.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Natural Resources Police says on November 1st, 37-year-old Jason Watson, was arrested. Watson was charged with two counts of no horseshoe crab dredge permit, 167 counts of unlawful possession of horseshoe crabs, 22 counts of using improperly marked commercial conch pots, 30 counts of using commercial conch pots without required bait-saving device, two counts of illegally taking shellfish after sunset/before sunrise, and one count of illegal commercial conch catch from a vessel not owned by the commercial conch licensee.

DNREC says in order to harvest horseshoe crabs in Delaware waters, licensed commercials watermen must get a permit. The quota for horseshoe crabs were reached on June 19th, therefore closing the fishing. Dredging for horseshoe crabs is currently not permitted. Horseshoe crab eggs provide a vital food source to fuel the long journey of migrating shorebirds, while the entire crab can be used for bait for eel and whelk pot fisheries, and their unique copper-based blood is used in medical testing.

Watson was released on $20,350 bond, after he pleaded not guilty to the charges. A trial is pending.

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