Changes to Fishing Regulations

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, Comment Period, Final Decision, Effective.

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​Click on title below to be taken to a regulation change.

AMERICAN LOBSTER
BLUE CRAB — Commercial Atlantic Time Change and Statewide​ Clarifications
BLUE CRAB— Commercial Harvest Times
BLUE CRAB— Sponge Crab Import
CHANNELED WHELK
CLAM — Hard and Soft
CLAM — Harvest in the Chester River - OPEN FOR COMMENT
COBIA
COMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS— 2016/2017
COMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS— 2017/2018
PUBLIC SHELLFISH FISHERY AREAS - OPEN FOR COMMENT
POUND NETS
SCUP
SHARKS — Recreational
SHARKS — Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — Commercial
SHARKS — Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — Recreational
SPINY DOGFISH — Commercial Eligibility and Declaration
STRIPED BASS - Atlantic Commercial In-Season Transfers
STRIPED BASS - Commercial Fishery
STRIPED BASS - Chesapeake Commercial In-Season Transfers
STRIPED BASS - Recreational Fishery
STRIPED BASS— Commercial Declaration
SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION
TROUT
TUNA
YELLOW PERCH


Thermometer GraphicAMERICAN LOBSTER
The Department would like to incorporate the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster into regulation by reference.



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Thermometer GraphicBLUE 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.



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Thermometer GraphicBLUE CRAB - Commercial Harvest TimeCOMAR 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 gear.


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.


 

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Thermometer GraphicBLUE 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.


 

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Thermometer GraphicCHANNELED WHELK COMAR 08.02.08.14

The purpose of this action is to establish a minimum girth size for channeled whelk

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Thermometer GraphicCLAM — Hard and Soft

Create regulations for clam harvest in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance.

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Thermometer GraphicCLAM — 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.

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COBIA

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.

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Thermometer GraphicCOMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS - 2016/2017 COMAR 08.02.01.05
Commercial license targets need to be adjusted based on unlimited tidal fish licenses (UTFL) that were downgraded during the 2015/2016 license year.



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Thermometer GraphicCOMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS - 2017/2018
Commercial license targets need to be adjusted based on unlimited tidal fish licenses (UTFL) that were downgraded during the 2016/2017 license year.

 

 


 

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Thermometer GraphicCOWNOSE RAYS

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.


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Thermometer GraphicDIVIDING 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.

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Thermometer GraphicFISHERY MANAGEMENT AREAS — Urbana COMAR 08.02.01.13
The 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.


 

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Thermometer GraphicFISHERY MANAGEMENT PLANS
The department would like to incorporate by reference fishery management plans for black bass and Spanish mackerel.

 

 



 
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Thermometer GraphicFISHING IN NONTIDAL WATERS - Changes for 2017 COMAR 08.02.11.01 and .04
The 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.


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Thermometer GraphicGEAR — Commercial and Recreational COMAR 08.02.25.02 and .03
Due 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".



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Thermometer GraphicGEAR — Sharing Commercial Gear
COMAR 08.02.03.07; 08.02.05.01, .02, .07; 08.02.15.04, .07; 08.02.25.04—.07


 

 

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Thermometer GraphicGEAR — Stinger Hooks
The department would like to clarify the definition of stinger hook.


 

 

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Thermometer GraphicHORSESHOE CRAB COMAR 08.02.10.01
Require that horseshoe crabs must be harvested from a vessel and prohibit the harvest of horseshoe crabs from shore.

 

 


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Thermometer GraphicJONAH CRABS

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.

 

 

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Thermometer GraphicLICENSE 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 suggestions.

 

 

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OUT OF STATE SUPPLIER REGISTRATIONThermometer Graphic
The department would like to establish a permit for an out-of-state fish supplier.

 

     



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    OYSTERSThermometer Graphic
    The department would like to make it clear that a person may not harvest oysters in a harvest reserve area when it is not open.



     


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    PENALTIESThermometer Graphic
    The department plans to make annual changes to commercial, recreational and dealer penalties based on the penalty workgroup meeting that was held June 15, 2017.



     


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    POUND NETS
    Allows harvesters to share pound nets.

    • Please note:  This proposal changed to include all commercial gear, not just pound nets.  Please see the proposal for GEAR — Sharing Commercial Gear



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    Thermometer GraphicPUBLIC 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. 

     

     

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    Thermometer GraphicSCUP COMAR 08.02.05.22
    Change the minimum mesh size for trawls from 4 ½ inches to 5 inches for the harvest of scup.





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    Thermometer GraphicSHARKS — Recreational
    Require certain sharks to be released in a manner that maximizes survivability.

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    Thermometer GraphicSHARKS Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — Commercial COMAR 08.02.22.03
    Implement 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.




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    Thermometer GraphicSHARKS Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — Recreational
    Eliminate the recreational possession limit for smoothhound sharks (smooth dogfish).


     

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    Thermometer GraphicSPINY DOGFISH - Commercial Eligibility and Declaration COMAR 08.02.05.24
    Possible changes are for the commercial fishery and include reducing the minimum landing requirement for permit eligibility and change the declaration period.


     

     

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    Thermometer GraphicSTRIPED BASS - Atlantic Commercial In-Season Transfers
    After discussion with the Coastal Commercial Fisheries Forum on October 2, 2017, the department would like to allow partial in-season transfers of a commercial striped bass permittee's share or remaining allocation.

     



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    Thermometer GraphicSTRIPED BASS - Commercial Fishery
    The department would like to make three changes to the commercial striped bass fishery.
    1. Extend the commercial individual transferable quota (ITQ) striped bass fishery season for pound net gear to December 31.
    2. Require all striped bass permits fished during the common pool fishery to have the minimum initial allocation associated with the permit.
    3. Allow in-season transfers of less than all of an individual's remaining quota. This topic needed further discussion with the Striped Bass Industry Workgroup.  The results of discussion with the workgroup can be found in the topic STRIPED BASS - Commercial In-Season Transfers below.


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    Thermometer GraphicSTRIPED BASS - Chesapeake Commercial In-Season Transfers
    After discussion with the Striped Bass Industry Workgroup, the department would like to allow partial in-season transfers of a commercial striped bass permittee's share or remaining allocation.

     

     




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    Thermometer GraphicSTRIPED BASS - Recreational Fishery
    The department would like to make two changes to the recreational striped bass fishery. The changes have been implemented with public notices for several seasons and we would like to put them into regulation. Making the changes in regulation allows the public to be better informed since the rules are in one location.
    1. Change the recreational size limit for the spring fishery in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. The spring fishery is the third Saturday in April to May 15.
    2. Change the recreational size and creel limits for the Atlantic Ocean, its coastal bays, and their tributaries.

     


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    Thermometer GraphicSTRIPED BASS - Commercial Declaration Period COMAR 08.02.15.04
    The 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.

     


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    SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION
    Thermometer GraphicThe department intends to update the delineations of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Protection Zones.​



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    TROUT
    Thermometer Graphic
    The department would like to create a new delayed harvest trout fishing area.


     

     

     

     

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    TUNA
    Thermometer Graphic
    Update tuna regulations to provide more consistency with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and list bigeye tuna as in need of conservation.


     

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    YELLOW PERCH COMAR 08.02.21.03
    Thermometer Graphic
    Change 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).

    • ​An Emergency Action was submitted to the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee (AELR) on 11/9/16
    • The purpose of this action is to change the size limits for commercial hook and line to be consistent with other commercial harvest methods. Currently, the commercial yellow perch hook and line fishery operates under the same size and daily creel limits as the recreational hook and line yellow perch fishery (9 inch minimum size limit and a 10 fish daily creel limit). The action removes the current size limit for commercial hook and line and makes the 8 ½" minimum size limit and 11" maximum size limit currently in place for other commercial gear types apply to all commercial harvest. The 10 fish per day limit for hook and line is not changed. This change was requested by commercial fishermen. The change does not have a biological effect on the population and it standardizes all size limits among the commercial fishery.
    • View the Emergency Proposal​
    • View the Proposal
    • Adopted as Proposed- Effective February 27, 2017

     
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