FISHERIES SERVICE: Scoping of Possible Regulations


 
The information provided on this webpage refers to possible regulations or issues which have not yet been proposed. Any text posted on this webpage is not official regulatory text and is subject to change prior to publication in the Maryland Register. The purpose of posting this text is to make the public aware of issues the Department is considering addressing and to elicit public feedback on these ideas. Receiving comments provides the Department with invaluable information and perspectives that may be incorporated into content or editorial changes. Please limit feedback to the changes specified below. We appreciate your time and your commitment to Maryland's natural resources. If you have questions regarding the proposed regulations, please e- mail them to the Regulatory Staff.

Click here to Learn How to Get Involved with Fisheries Rulemaking.

Possible Regulations for 2012


Pound Nets

The first action is to require pound net fishermen to notify the Department prior to setting a net and prior to taking a net down. Currently, the Department does not collect data regarding the number of registered pound net sites that are actively being fished. Without this data, the Department is unable to determine the actual effort put forth by the pound net fishery. By requiring pound net fishermen to notify the Department of when a pound net is set and when it is taken down, the Department will have real-time information with regards to the number of pound nets actively being fished.

The second action is to require pound net fishermen to check their pound nets more frequently during the striped bass spawning period. Currently, pound nets only must be checked once a month. By requiring pound net fishermen to check their nets more frequently, biological concerns regarding the effects of pound nets on spawning striped bass will be addressed. There is compelling scientific data that suggests that while pound nets do not result in increased mortality during this time period, there are increased levels of sub-lethal effects, including abandonment of spawning activity. By decreasing the time striped bass spend in pound nets during the spawning season, the Department hopes to decrease the sub-lethal effects on spawning activity.

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on December 4, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us

Result: Regulation Proposed - see Proposed Regulations Page for more information


Billfish

The Department would like to list Roundscale Spearfish (Tetrapturus georgii) as "in need of conservation" to allow management of Roundscale Spearfish consistently with NMFS. In 2003, the Department listed Atlantic White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Sailfish and Swordfish as "In Need of Conservation" and established regulations. When Atlantic White Marlin was listed as "In Need of Conservation," Roundscale Spearfish was not known to exist, and had been managed as Atlantic White Marlin. However, new research has identified Roundscale Spearfish as a separate species. DNA testing and other identifying factors confirmed the taxonomic distinction in 2006. In 2008, further DNA analysis and research indicated a change in genus of Atlantic White Marlin from Tetrapturus to Kajikia. This was adopted by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. In 2010, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published an interpretive rule to recognize Roundscale Spearfish as part of the definition of "HMS" (Highly Migratory Species) in the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). At the same time, NMFS also published a final action amending the MSA to include the taxonomic changes to Atlantic White Marlin. Currently, management of Roundscale Spearfish and Atlantic White Marlin is uniform; as new information becomes available, separate management measures may be considered.

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on November 9, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us

Result: Regulation Proposed - see Proposed Regulations Page for more information


Yellow Perch

The Department would like to be able to open, close or modify a commercial season in order to manage the quota by putting notice on the reporting phone system and Fisheries Services' website.

Currently, the Department can open, close, or modify a commercial season in order to manage the quota by publishing notice in a daily newspaper of general circulation at least 24 hours in advance, stating the effective hour and date. Newspaper deadlines have made managing the season difficult as it often takes a few days to get the notice published in the newspaper and have the action become effective 24 hours later. Licensees are required to report daily catch, regardless of amount, to the Department by 11:59 p.m. every day through the Department-described process. The process is through a phone system. The notice would be placed on the phone system and on the website at least 24 hours before it becomes effective.

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on August 31, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us

Result: Regulation Proposed - see Proposed Regulations Page for more information


American Lobster

In February, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's American Lobster Board approved Addendum XVII to Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan. The addendum addressed rebuilding the Southern New England (SNE) lobster stock and contained measures for lobster conservation management areas (LCMAs) 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The addendum implemented mandatory v notching programs in LCMA 2, 4, and 5. The measures are intended to reduce fishing exploitation on the SNE stock by 10% starting in July 2013 in response to the stock's depleted condition, which has been at low levels of abundance and experiencing persistent low recruitment since 2002. Maryland (part of LCMA 5) is required to adopt the following regulations:

  • Mandatory V-notching and immediately release of egg-bearing female lobsters effective January 1, 2013
  • V notches must be to the right of the center flipper as viewed from the rear of the female lobster when the underside of the lobster is down. The v notch should be made by means of a sharp blade bladed instrument, at least inch and not greater than a inch in depth and tapering to a sharp point.
  • A season closure to the landing of lobsters from February 1 through March 31.
  • During the February 1-March 31 closure, lobster potters will have a two week period to remove lobster pots from the water and may set lobster pots one week prior to the end of the closed season.

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on August 31, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us

Result: Regulation Proposed - see Proposed Regulations Page for more information


License Targets

Commercial license targets will be updated in accordance with 4-701 requirements.

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on August 15, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us

Result: Regulation Not Proposed - After review of input on this idea, DNR will not be proposing any regulation at this time.


2013 Penalty System Changes

The purpose of this action is to adjust the recreational, commercial, and charter boat/fishing guide penalty systems based on an annual assessment of violations. The action adds penalties for undersized hard crabs and fishing in a blind, youth area to the recreational fishing penalty system. The action increases tiers for oyster sanctuary violations, adds additional tiers for undersized hard crabs, differientes misdemeanor and felony Lacey Act violations, and adds penalties for gill net reels, unmarked gill net corks, river herring possession, and untagged oyster containers to the commercial fishing penalty system. The action also adds penalties for undersized hard crabs to the charter boat/fishing guide penalty system. The action makes general text corrections and clarifications.

Annual penalty system changes were scoped in July. However, a few additional changes have been suggested through dialogue with staff since July. These include: 1) Adding recreationally oystering out of season (180 days suspension); 2) In the commercial penalty system, changing "individual" to "person" in order to apply points to offending incorporations; 3) Clarifying the definitions of "suspension" and "revocation", in order to make clear that revocation means a permanent ban from the fishery, whereas suspension is a temporary ban where the person may return to the fishery at the end of the ban; 4) Adding a commercial provision to allow for the "freezing" of a commercial license immediately when the person accumulates more than 30 points, prior to a hearing, to prevent transferring license or selling license when the person has done something that may lead to a 365 day suspension or revocation; 5) Clarifies entitlement to engage in a particular activity or activities under a tidal fish license.

Draft Penalty System Change 2013 Handout

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on November 9, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us

Result: Regulation Proposed - see Proposed Regulations Page for more information


Clams Harvest Times

Change harvest times for soft-shell clams. Harvest times will change to:
May 1 September 30 between hour before sunrise and 1 pm
October 1 April 30 between sunrise and sunset

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on May 15, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us.

Result: Regulation Not Proposed - After review of input on this idea, DNR will not be proposing any regulation at this time.


Nontidal 2013 Regulations

A wording change is needed to better describe the Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Area on Bear Creek in Garrett County. The current wording refers to "watershed" and does not accurately describe the area under Put-and-Take management. The plan is to change the wording from "watershed" to "from the corner of Fish Hatchery Road and Rabbit Hollow Road downstream to the confluence with the Youghiogheny River at Friendsville.

The North Jennings Run Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Area is adjacent to the Jennings Run Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Area in Allegany County, but each has a different closure schedule. Inland wants to place both areas under a 2, 3 closure to make enforcement easier for the Natural Resources Police. (Jennings Run is currently a 2, 3, but North Jennings is a 1, 3).

Establish Catoctin Creek (Frederick Co) within the boundaries of Catoctin Creek Park as a Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Area. The recently developed park contains over a mile of Catoctin Creek offering a much needed public stream access in southern Frederick County. Water quality and fishery data suggest that the greatest trout fishing opportunities can be provided cost effectively with delayed harvest regulations. Once again, Frederick County Parks and Recreation have expressed support of this proposal, but we are awaiting final approval.

Change existing total Catch and Release regulation to Limited Harvest on Governors Bridge Natural Area Pond. Several electrofishing surveys have shown that the total catch and release is a bad choice, the pond is overcrowded. This area is managed by MNCPPC and they agree the pond should be Limited Harvest.

Remove Lion's Park Pond in Allegany County and Avalon Pond in Baltimore County from the list of Areas Limited to Fishing by Persons Younger than16 Years Old, Persons 65 Years Old or Older, and Blind Persons, and places them on the list of Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Areas. User restrictions on these areas will be established by the local governing authority. The proposed changes will allow handicapped individuals to fish in these areas, regardless of age or visual impairment. These areas have handicapped facilities that are not being fully utilized.

Add that the hours for fishing trout streams set forth in Natural Resources Article, 4-615, Annotated Code of Maryland, do not apply to fresh water impoundments of 5 acres or more. This was accidently removed when the Fishing in Nontidal Waters chapter was reorganized in 2011.

The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on May 31, 2012. If you would like to submit written comment, please email: fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us.

Result: Regulation Proposed - see Proposed Regulations Page for more information.



You can also follow the story by watching for updates on Twitter or visiting our Facebook page for discussion at www.facebook.com/MDDNRFisheriesService.