Fisheries and Wildlife officers cover wide jurisdiction

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 08:18 PM.

When boaters see them coming they get a definite “Why me?” look — and then, as often as not, they scramble to locate their life jackets, extinguishers and registration.

Nimble boats with a flashing blue light, a 250-horse Evinrude motor, and “Wildlife Officer” stenciled down the sides, these are the police cruisers of North Carolina ’s waterways.

The fisheries and wildlife departments have a large job: North Carolina has more than 4,000 miles of shoreline, according to DMF Public Information Officer Patricia Smith, plus 2.5 million acres of marine and estuarine waters.

There are 3,169 active commercial fishermen and 1.5 million recreational fishermen in coastal and joint brackish waters.

Patrol Officer Allen Williford of Marine Fisheries; Master Wildlife Officer Billy Cain of the Wildlife Resources Commission; and Frederick Bonner, a fisheries biologist are just three of the state employees who oversee them all.

On a nearly perfect day weather-wise, at least four patrol boats sped up the creek and across the broad and choppy Pamlico to perform random checks on boaters

“You’re out in real force today,” one boater smilingly complained.

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