According to a press release issued by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), on June 10th, after receiving multiple complaints of people keeping undersized marine species, shellfish from uncertified waters, and protected terrapins (commonly called turtles) during low tide, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) Veloski and Currey participated in Operation Low Tide, an enforcement initiative to combat the illegal taking of wildlife and shellfish in New York City.
ECOs partnered with U.S. Park Police in and around Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. While patrolling the area, the Officers said they observed two individuals leaving the area with headlights, nets, and large totes. The Officers reported interviewing the subjects and discovering that two of the totes contained diamondback terrapins while the other totes contained blue crabs. In total, the subjects had captured 22 diamondback terrapins, which are a federal- and state-protected species, and 41 undersized blue crabs. The anglers were also in possession of more than the allowable limit of 50 blue crabs.
Officers issued multiple summonses to the subjects for possession of protected wildlife, possession of undersized blue crabs, and possession of overlimit blue crabs. All 22 terrapins and the many illegal blue crabs were safely returned to Jamaica Bay they said.
Photo of seized diamondback terrapins provided.