The information provided on this webpage is a summary of regulatory ideas and proposals that are being considered by the department. The purpose of posting this text is to make the public aware of the issues and to elicit public feedback on these ideas. Comments on the ideas presented provide the department with invaluable information and perspectives that may be incorporated into content or editorial changes. We appreciate your time and your commitment to Maryland's natural resources. The graphic within each topic will help you follow the change through the regulatory process. Learn our terminology…Scoping, Development,
Learn How to Get Involved with Fisheries Rulemaking.
AMERICAN LOBSTERThe Department would like to incorporate the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster into regulation by reference.
BLUE CRAB - Commercial Atlantic Time Change and Statewide Clarifications COMAR 08.02.03.01,.09,.11. ,.12, and .14
The purpose of this action is to change the time for commercially harvesting blue crabs in the coastal bays of the Atlantic Ocean and their tidal tributaries and update statewide blue crab regulations by clarifying text. Several blue crab issues have been combined into one proposal.
BLUE CRAB - Commercial Harvest Times COMAR 08.02.03.11 and .12
The purpose of the action is to implement changes that were made to Natural Resources Article, §4-803, Annotated Code of Maryland during the 2017 legislative session. Senate Bill 59 and House Bill 1314 passed during the 2017 legislative session and will be effective July 1, 2017. This
legislation requires the Department to adopt regulations to permit commercial
harvesters to take crabs using legal gears one hour earlier than current rules
permit on certain holidays and the day before those holidays. The proposed
action allows commercial crab harvesters to start harvesting crabs one hour
earlier than currently allowed on Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and the day
immediately preceding those holidays. The change applies to all commercial
Emergency Action Submitted to the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee (AELR) 6/9/17. Emergency status was requested so that crab harvesters could benefit as soon as possible. No action was taken by the committee.
BLUE CRAB - Sponge Crab Import
The department is considering changes to the commercial fishery. Possible changes include allowing the ability to adjust the time frame for importing sponge crabs and decreasing the size of letters required for marking a vessel with the day off.
CHANNELED WHELK COMAR 08.02.08.14
The purpose of this action is to establish a minimum girth size for channeled whelk
CLAM — Hard and Soft
Create regulations for clam harvest in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance.
CLAM — Harvest in the Chester River COMAR 08.02.02.12; 08.02.04.15; 08.02.07.03
Current regulations conflict on whether clamming is allowed or prohibited in a certain
area of the Chester River. The department would like to clarify that clamming is allowed in Zone A of the Chester River Oyster Recovery Area.
The department plans to
list cobia as in need of conservation and develop cobia regulations in response
to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery
Management Plan for the Atlantic Migratory Group of Cobia.
COMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS - 2016/2017 COMAR 08.02.01.05Commercial license targets need to be adjusted based on unlimited tidal fish licenses (UTFL) that were downgraded during the 2015/2016 license year.
COMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS - 2017/2018Commercial license targets need to be adjusted based on unlimited tidal fish licenses (UTFL) that were downgraded during the 2016/2017 license year.
Based on the feedback that the Secretary of Natural Resources has received to date, the Department is clarifying the details of what is being considered. The scoping in November was not completely clear regarding where the restriction would apply or if the restriction applied to recreational and/or commercial user groups. Please view the summary for specifics.
DIVIDING LINES FOR TIDAL/NONTIDAL WATERS - Barren Creek COMAR 08.02.01.09
The purpose of this action is to establish a dividing line on Barren Creek for tidal and nontidal waters. Barren Creek is a large tributary to the Nanticoke River.
FISHERY MANAGEMENT AREAS — Urbana COMAR 08.02.01.13The purpose of this action is to limit hunting at Urbana Lake Fishery Management Area to the use of archery equipment only. The primary goal for Urbana Lake is to provide access for fishing.
FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLANSThe department would like to incorporate by reference fishery management plans for black bass and Spanish mackerel.
FISHING IN NONTIDAL WATERS - Changes for 2017 COMAR 08.02.11.01 and .04The proposed action increases the possession limits for trout, changes the closures for four put-and-take areas (Accident Pond, Georges Creek, Muddy Creek, and Little Youghiogheny River), extends the boundary on the North Branch Potomac River upper catch-and-return trout fishing area; makes possession limits for game fish consistent, defines when an individual needs a trout stamp, and clarifies the regulation by removing duplicate text.
GEAR — Commercial and Recreational COMAR 08.02.25.02 and .03Due to bills passed by the General Assembly during the 2016 Session, the Department must write regulations for a number of gears. The changes include 1) Finfish Trotlines (Commercial Use); 2) Bowfishing (Commercial Use); 3) Gigging (Recreational Use); 4) Slat Baskets, Bush Bobs, Bank Poles, and Dip Nets (Recreational Use in Nontidal Waters); 5) Definition of "Bow".
GEAR — Sharing Commercial GearCOMAR 08.02.03.07; 08.02.05.01, .02, .07;
08.02.15.04, .07; 08.02.25.04—.07
GEAR — Stinger HooksThe department would like to clarify the definition of stinger hook.
HORSESHOE CRAB COMAR 08.02.10.01Require that horseshoe crabs must be harvested from a vessel and prohibit the harvest of horseshoe crabs from shore.
The department would like to make changes to
the commercial Jonah crab fishery in response to Addendum II to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Jonah Crab.
LICENSE FREE FISHING AREAS
The department is considering adding three new license free fishing
areas. The Sport Fisheries Advisory
Commission discussed the areas at their meeting in July and supported the
OUT OF STATE SUPPLIER REGISTRATIONThe department would like to establish a permit for an out-of-state fish supplier.
department would like to make it clear that a person may not harvest oysters in
a harvest reserve area when it is not open.
PENALTIESThe department plans to make annual changes to commercial, recreational
and dealer penalties based on the penalty workgroup meeting that was held June
POUND NETSAllows harvesters to share pound nets.
This proposal changed to include all commercial gear, not just pound
nets. Please see the proposal for GEAR — Sharing Commercial Gear
PUBLIC SHELLFISH FISHERY AREAS COMAR 08.02.04.17
The purpose of this action is to incorporate by reference “Public Shellfish Fishery Areas of the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries (November 2016)”. This document contains coordinates for all Public Shellfish Fishery Areas (PSFA) in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. The November 2016 version of this document contains amended coordinates for PSFA 109 to exclude a 4.9 acre portion of an 11.9 acre submerged land lease and PSFA 110 to exclude a 7.7 acre submerged land lease. The proposed action also corrects a reference to statute.
SCUP COMAR 08.02.05.22Change the minimum mesh size for trawls from 4 ½ inches to 5 inches for the harvest of scup.
SHARKS — RecreationalRequire certain sharks to be released in a manner that maximizes survivability.
SHARKS Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — Commercial COMAR 08.02.22.03Implement Addendum IV to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Coastal Sharks which allows smooth dogfish carcasses to be landed with corresponding fins removed from the carcass as long as the total retained catch on board at the time of offloading is composed of at least 25 percent, by weight, smooth dogfish.
SHARKS Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — RecreationalEliminate the recreational possession limit for smoothhound sharks (smooth dogfish).
SPINY DOGFISH - Commercial Eligibility and Declaration COMAR 08.02.05.24Possible changes are for the commercial fishery and include reducing the minimum landing requirement for permit eligibility and change the declaration period.
STRIPED BASS - Commercial Declaration Period COMAR 08.02.15.04The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to shift the commercial striped bass declaration period from August 1 – September 30 to July 15 – September 15.
SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATIONThe department intends to update the delineations of Submerged Aquatic
Vegetation (SAV) Protection Zones.
TROUTThe department would like to create a new delayed harvest trout fishing area.
TUNAUpdate tuna regulations to provide more consistency with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and list bigeye tuna as in need of conservation.
YELLOW PERCH COMAR 08.02.21.03Change the size limits for commercial hook and line to be consistent with other commercial harvest methods (8 ½" minimum size limit and an 11" maximum size limit).
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