Maryland Proposed Fishing Regulations

This is a summary of regulatory proposals submitted by Fisheries Service. Consult the Maryland Register, Code of Maryland Regulations and Natural Resources Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland for full legal text. If you have questions regarding the proposed regulations, please e- mail them to the Regulatory Staff.

Fisheries Service welcomes public comment on proposed regulations. However, only comments entered during the official public comment period specified under the State Government Article, Title 10, Annotated Code of Maryland become part of the official regulatory record. The official public comment period is 30 days after publication in the Maryland Register. Receiving comments on the proposal provides the Department with invaluable information and perspectives that may be incorporated into content or editorial changes. The Maryland Register notice will provide contact information where all official public comments may be sent.

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View Proposed Fishing Regulations by Year (Currently Showing 2014)

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Striped Bass

Proposed April 28 2014 May 16, 2014 None June 16, 2014 July 21, 2014

COMAR 08.02.15.04 and .07

The purpose of this action is to extend the period in which a striped bass permittee must declare in a striped bass fishery from two to three years before the permit is revoked and to make changes to the Atlantic Ocean striped bass fishery.

Currently, a striped bass permittee must declare each of the permits they hold in a striped bass fishery at least every other year, or the undeclared permit is relinquished to the Department. This regulation would allow an extra idle year so that a permit must only be declared once every three years. The Department is proposing this extension to allow for the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission, in conjunction with the new Striped Bass Workgroup, to provide the Department with guidance as to what the industry would like to see happen with extraneous striped bass permits. Under the old derby-style management system, accumulating multiple permits allowed individuals to harvest more striped bass than individuals with only one striped bass permit. Under the new individual transferrable quota (ITQ) management system, there is no advantage to having multiple striped bass permits as individuals have received shares of the fishery that reflect their past engagement with the fishery. Therefore, those individuals who have accumulated multiple striped bass permits now own permits they no longer need. Many of these individuals did not renew all of their striped bass permits in 2014, as to do so would have been an unnecessary expense. Without this action, those individuals would need to renew all of their permits this year or risk losing them. This action will allow the permits to go undeclared for one more year, saving the individuals that expense while allowing the Department to work with the industry to develop the best plan to move forward.

This action also makes changes to the Atlantic Ocean striped bass fishery. The Atlantic fishery currently operates as a quasi-ITQ, but without all of the business flexibilities of a full ITQ system. This action formalizes the Atlantic as an ITQ system by assigning shares to each permit holder in an equal allocation manner based on the number of permits the permit holder possesses. The action also sets a cap on the amount of quota a person may both permanently hold and temporarily hold. These changes were discussed in a meeting that all of the Atlantic striped bass permit holders were invited to attend on February 7, 2014. The proposal was supported by the majority of permit-holders that attended.

Lastly, this action corrects citations and makes stylistic and grammatical changes to enhance the clarity of the regulation.

The proposed text will be posted after it appears in the Maryland Register

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Crabbing Charters

Proposed April 14, 2014 May 2, 2014 May 13, 2014 June 2, 2014 July 7, 2014

COMAR 08.02.03.15 and 08.02.05.02

In April 2013, the Department began scoping crabbing charter regulations which would clarify permissible activity, provide flexibility for crabbing charters, and create a crabbing charter decal. The original request for regulations came from industry members who wanted business flexibility. After receiving comments through the scoping process, the Department offered an amended regulatory idea for scoping in October 2013. After receiving additional comments, the Department met with the tourism industry, Charterboat Association and the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission to discuss the draft proposal. Based on the feedback from the meetings, the Secretary is proposing new regulations related to crabbing charters.

The proposed action creates a crabbing charter decal. There is not a fee for the decal at this time. The decal is only available to individuals holding a fishing guide, master fishing guide license or operating vessels for a master fishing guide. The decal would cover the crabbing license requirement for any customers on board. Individuals with the appropriate guide license and a crabbing charter decal will be permitted to take paying customers on crabbing charters. The decal allows for the recreational catch limit on board (maximum of 2 bushels of male hard crabs and 2 dozen soft crabs or male peeler crabs).

A guide operating with a crabbing charter decal may only use the gear specified for an individual with a recreational crabbing license and must follow the limits associated with recreational gear (i.e. trotline lengths, number of collapsible crab traps and net rings, etc.). The gear may only be used during recreational times. The charter trip may not be taken on the recreational day off (Wednesday). Crabbing charter decal holders will be required to report to the Department. A crabbing charter is required to follow all other recreational rules including the female crab prohibition.

The proposed action clarifies that individuals possessing a commercial crabbing authorization and either a fishing guide license, master fishing guide license, or operating vessels for a master fishing guide are able to take out customers/charter during their normal commercial trip. Commercial harvest time periods, gear, and catch limits apply. Customers are able to purchase the commercially harvested crabs from the captain after the harvest was landed if the captain has a seafood dealer license. These trips would be reported under normal commercial harvest records.

Individuals showing how the commercial fisheries of Maryland operate by providing educational or demonstration tours who do not meet the requirements under this proposed action or other regulations will still be required to obtain a Collection/Education Permit in order to provide gear demonstrations. Those permits are required by Natural Resources Article, §4-212, Annotated Code of Maryland. Appropriate State and federal licenses are required if the individual receives compensation from the passengers for the trip. All animals caught under a Collection/Education permit will be returned to the water immediately following a demonstration. No commercial harvest is permitted during a trip using a Collection/Education Permit.

The proposed action also modifies language to make it clear that commercial licensees are prohibited from taking paying customers during a commercial finfish hook and line trip.

The proposed text will be posted after it appears in the Maryland Register

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Atlantic Menhaden

Permanent March 31, 2014 April 18, 2014 None May 19, 2014 June 23, 2014

COMAR 08.02.05.07

The purpose of this action is to provide for increased flexibilities for the harvest of Atlantic menhaden from pound nets.  This action will allow the holder of an Atlantic menhaden bycatch allowance landing permit to use an “operator”.  The only person a permittee may use as their operator is the individual the permittee has named as the authorized user of their license. An authorized user must be in possession of the licensee’s license and permit, and must be on the vessel named on the license. The purpose of this change is to allow the operator to harvest Atlantic menhaden when the permittee is unable to do so, thereby increasing business flexibility.

The proposed text will be posted after it appears in the Maryland Register

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Gear – Fishing Rod Limit

Emergency     None   March 20, 2014

COMAR 08.02.25.02

The purpose of the regulation is to remove the three fishing rod limit per person that was established for tidal waters nearly 7 months ago. This decision is based upon new information that suggests the limit of three rods in tidal waters may have a negative socio-economic impact on tackle shops and sports fishermen, and because the primary objective of the regulation was to address a statewide inconsistency in rod limits rather than conservation.

Unfortunately, the Department did not receive input about the socio-economic impacts of the three rod limit during the extensive public engagement process that spanned two years. The process included requests for input by the SFAC, establishment and meeting of a SFAC and Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission fishing gear workgroup, three public scoping meetings, announcements made on our webpage, email subscribers list, Facebook and Twitter, and a regulatory public comment period. No comments in opposition to this three fishing rod limit per person regulation were provided until recently.

Advancing an emergency regulation to remove the three fishing rod limit in tidal waters will provide the Department an opportunity to have further discussions with the SFAC, fishing tackle shop businesses, sports fishermen and other interested parties over the next few months. Based upon this information, a permanent regulation would then be submitted based upon our review of the additional input we obtain from our public participation process with an adoption date prior to the emergency regulation expiring.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Spotted Seatrout

Proposed December 16, 2013 February 7, 2014 None March 10, 2014 April 14, 2014

COMAR 08.02.05.13

The purpose of this action is to make changes to the spotted sea trout fishery. These regulations will reduce the recreational creel limit from ten fish to four fish, will increase the commercial size limit from 12-inches to 14-inches, and will institute a 150 pound commercial catch limit per day or trip, whichever is longer.

During the 2013 Spotted Seatrout FMP review process, the Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission (SFAC) requested MD DNR Fisheries Service to consider implementing a more conservative management strategy to support coastal conservation efforts and sustainable growth in Maryland's recreational and commercial Spotted Seatrout fisheries.

The purpose of increasing the commercial minimum size limit from 12-inches to 14-inches is that a 14-inch minimum size limit will allow a greater portion of fish an opportunity to spawn before they are harvested. If implemented, Maryland would have consistent size limits between its recreational and commercial fisheries as well as with Virginia which would facilitate enforcement and reduce confusion among fishermen. Maryland's Spotted Seatrout fishery is primarily in the lower Bay area, and fishermen often fish in both MD and VA waters during one trip.

Reducing the recreational daily creel limit from 10 to 4 fish is a harvest control measure to support conservation efforts by better ensuring that the expansion of this fishery occurs at a level that the resource can sustain and achieve a recreational fisheries preference expressed to MD DNR Fisheries Service by the SFAC.

Establishing a commercial daily individual daily or trip landing limit of 150 pounds is a harvest control measure to support conservation efforts by better ensuring that the expansion of this fishery occurs at a level that the resource can sustain and minimize discard mortality. If established, the MD DNR would review regularly with the objective of increasing and decreasing daily landing limit along with changes in abundance.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Bait Harvester

Proposed January 6, 2014 February 7, 2014 None March 10, 2014 April 14, 2014

COMAR 08.02.20.01 and .02

The purpose of this action is to add mole crabs and grass shrimp to the list of species that an individual may harvest for bait. The purpose of this chapter is to implement Natural Resources Article, §4-702, Annotated Code of Maryland. By adding these species to the list, an individual may purchase a permit to harvest them instead of having to wait for a commercial fishing license to become available. The proposed action establishes catch limits for mole crabs and grass shrimp and clarifies the bait harvester permit requirements, reporting requirements and penalties for not complying with the permit.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Shell Recycling Tax Credit

Emergency and Proposed

Emergency - December 16, 2013

Proposed - January 6, 2014
January 24, 2014 None February 24, 2014

Emergency - Effective January 13, 2014

 Proposed - March 31, 2014

COMAR 08.02.26.01, .02, .03, .04, .05, .06

The purpose of this action is to promulgate regulations to implement House Bill 184 (2013), which established the creation of an oyster shell recycling credit. This action establishes eligibility criteria and provides for the certification of businesses, landfills, and nonprofit organizations to verify the amount of oyster shells recycled by each individual or corporation. For each bushel of oyster shell that is recycled, the shell recycler will receive a nonrefundable tax credit against the State income tax equal to $1.00, not to exceed $750 per tax return.

The intent of establishing a tax credit for recycling oyster shells is to provide a greater incentive for people and corporations to recycle their shells and increase the amount of shell available for replanting purposes. Recycled oyster shells are used as setting material for new spat (baby oysters) to be planted back into the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays. Each recycled shell can become home to 10 new oysters as new oysters prefer to attach and grow onto other oyster shells. A healthy oyster reef filters the Chesapeake Bay's waters and provides habitat for an underwater community that furnishes life support for blue crabs and fish. This action aims to incentivize recycling oyster shells by individuals and businesses in order to increase the availability of oyster shell for restoration purposes.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Penalties

Proposed

January 6, 2014

January 24, 2014 None February 24, 2014

March 31, 2014


COMAR 08.02.13.02, .03, .05, .07, .08

The purpose of this action is to make changes to the Department's penalty system for violations committed by commercial, recreational, and charter boat licensees. For the commercial system, this action adds language that will allow the Department to take mitigating circumstances into account when deciding on a penalty, decreases the penalty for failure to seal a haul seine, and adds penalties for menhaden violations, shark fin-to-carcass ratios, transportation of nuisance or prohibited species, possession of 10 or more nuisance or prohibited species, removes an unclear provision regarding pound net stakes, and corrects previous errors with the penalties regarding oystering in oyster sanctuaries and a reference to terrapin rather than snapping turtles. For the recreational and charter systems, this action adds penalties for violations of tagging and reporting requirements for sharks, transportation of nuisance or prohibited species, and possession of 10 or more nuisance or prohibited species. The proposed changes were made after consultation with the Joint Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission/Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission Penalty Workgroup.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Menhaden

Proposed December 9, 2013 December 27, 2013 None January 27, 2014 March 3, 2014

COMAR 08.02.05.13

The purpose of this action is to amend reporting requirements for the Atlantic menhaden in order to better manage the statewide quota as set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). ASMFC sets Maryland's quota for Atlantic menhaden and any amount Maryland harvests over the quota during the open fishery will be deducted from a future year. Current reporting requirements result in the Department receiving harvest data from menhaden harvesters anywhere from one to three months after the fish have been harvested. The lag in access to the data means that the Department must manage the Atlantic menhaden fishery very conservatively to ensure the quota is not exceeded. The new reporting requirement, which will have commercial licensees that harvest menhaden from pound nets reporting daily instead of monthly, will allow the Department to ensure that the full quota is harvested before the fishery is closed. The reasoning for only including pound netters in the daily reporting requirement is twofold. First, Department staff will have to train the pound netters on how to use the reporting system. Pound netters make up a very small portion of all commercial licensees, so training the pound netters by the time these regulations are effective is a much more attainable goal than training all commercial licensees. Second, while it would be ideal to have all harvesters reporting in this way, pound nets take roughly 90% of the menhaden caught in Maryland. By having that portion of the fishery reporting daily, the Department will have the data needed to maximize harvest with relation to the quota set by ASMFC.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Snapping Turtle

Proposed

December 23, 2013

January 10, 2014 None February 10, 2014

March 17, 2014


COMAR 08.02.06.01

The purpose of this action is to implement changes to the snapping turtle fishery. The action establishes a declaration period for the commercial snapping turtle permit. Having a set declaration period will reduce the staff time needed to manage the fishery because licensees may currently enter the fishery at any point in the year. In addition, the action will clarify recreational licensing requirements. Previously there has been confusion as to whether a recreational fisherman needed a license to take a snapping turtle. This action makes clear that a fishing license is required to take a snapping turtle in nontidal waters, but is not required in tidal waters. The reason for the difference in license requirements is that the enabling law for the tidal recreational fishing license, Natural Resource Article, §4-745, Annotated Code of Maryland, applies only to "finfish". As snapping turtles are not finfish, a tidal recreational fishing license is not required for recreational harvest. Conversely, the enabling law for the nontidal recreational fishing license, Natural Resources Article, §4-604, Annotated Code of Maryland, applies to "fish." Snapping turtles fall into the category of "fish", so a nontidal recreational fishing license is required for recreational harvest. Last, the regulation clarifies that commercial snapping turtle permits are valid for the listed month and provides a permittee the ability to request a hearing if a permit is denied or suspended.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Eel

Proposed December 9, 2013 December 27, 2013 None January 27, 2014 March 3, 2014

COMAR 08.02.05.08

The purpose of this action is to implement Addendum III to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Fishery Management Plan for American Eel, which was approved August 2013. Addendum III was approved with the goal of reducing mortality and increasing conservation of American eel stocks across all life stages, in response to the 2012 Benchmark Stock Assessment which found that the American eel population in U.S. waters is at or near historically low levels. The action raises the minimum size for eels from 6" to 9" for both commercial and recreational user groups. The action also removes the tolerance of 25 undersized eels for commercial harvesters and closes the season to eels for all gears but spears and baited pots and traps from September 1 to December 31. Finally, the action removes the allowance for eel pots with mesh smaller than ½" beginning January 1, 2017, as required by ASMFC.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Oysters – Shell Pricing

Emergency and Proposed December 9, 2013 December 27, 2013 None January 27, 2014

Emergency - Effective - January 2, 2014  Proposed - March 3, 2014


COMAR 08.02.04.11

The purpose of this action is to increase the price paid for oyster shells from $0.50 per bushel to $2.00 per bushel. The Department is required by regulation to annually asses the market price for shell, and to set the price paid to shucking houses based upon this assessment.

The Department paid $0.25 per bushel of shell for many years, and was able to buy nearly all shell produced from Maryland's shucking houses. In 2010, in recognition that the new lease law and growth in shellfish aquaculture would increase shell demand, the shell price was doubled to $0.50 per bushel. During the 2012/2013 oyster season, the Department was unable to purchase oyster shells at this price. Personal communications with officials in Virginia, Maryland shucking house owners, and leaseholders revealed that the price being paid to shucking houses by other parties ranged from $2.00 to $2.50 per bushel, making it unlikely that Maryland would have an opportunity to purchase shell at the currently approved price. Maryland must increase the price paid for shucking house shell in order to have access to this resource.

There is a substantial need for and shortage of oyster shell to support Maryland's oyster sanctuary restoration program, oyster hatchery production, aquaculture industry and public oyster fishery. Oyster shell needs are specific to the type of oyster shell. The needs for these activities are for 'fresh shell' (shucking house shell) rather than 'bottom hardening shell' (fossil oyster shell and alternative shell material such as clam shell and conch shell). Fresh shell is preferred for hatchery spat setting operations because it results in better spat sets than other shell materials. Bottom hardening shell is planted on an oyster bar or lease to enhance natural spat set by increasing the amount of hard bottom habitat, and/or to support hatchery seed plantings. Research has shown that the survival of hatchery seed oysters is positively correlated with the condition of the hard bottom substrate on which they are planted. While oyster larvae will set on almost any hard clean substrate, what works best in setting operations is a substrate that has a high surface to volume ratio and is not overly heavy. It should also be within some practical size range and not too brittle. Shucking house shell has all of these characteristics while other materials lack one or more of them.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Shark

Proposed December 9, 2013 December 27, 2013 None January 27, 2014

March 3, 2014


COMAR 08.02.12.03 and 08.02.22.02, .03 and .04

The purpose of this action is to update shark regulations. Since most sharks have slow growth rates, attain maturity at a late age, have long reproductive cycles, and low fecundity, they cannot withstand intense exploitation. These provisions are designed to ensure the conservation of shark resources by complying with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (HMS) and Addendum II to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks (ISFMP).

The proposed action updates the orders of shark to reflect all groups of sharks. Sharks were listed as in need of conservation in 1994. Groupings and orders have changed over time so the update is necessary. Species in the management unit were originally chosen for one or both of the following reasons: 1) they are frequently caught by the commercial and/or recreational fisherman; 2) their low fertility and/or slow growth make them particularly vulnerable to indiscriminate killing. The Department believes that all shark species are particularly vulnerable and, therefore, includes all species of sharks in their designation in need of conservation.

The proposed action updates the common name for smooth dogfish to smoothhound. Amendment 3 to the HMS consolidated sharks plan classified smooth dogfish as part of the 'smoothhound complex' which includes two species: smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis) and Florida smoothhound (Mustelis norrisi). NMFS has indicated that it chose the name smoothhound complex to minimize any confusion with spiny dogfish regulations. It notes that both smooth dogfish and Florida smoothhound are likely the same species and are the only members of the smoothhound family (Triakidae) found on the Atlantic coast.

For the recreational fishery, the proposed action updates the federal size and season restrictions. Amendment 5a to the HMS consolidated sharks plan changes the recreational minimum size for all hammerhead sharks to 78" (from 54") and the minimum size of finetooth and blacknose sharks to 54" (from no minimum).

For the commercial fishery, the proposed action updates the groupings of sharks to reflect the new federal groups. The action replaces the specific creel limits with a general statement that an individual may not have more than the federal permit allows. An individual is required to obtain a federal shark permit prior to harvesting sharks. All limits are determined by federal regulation. The action also adds the ability to remove dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins of smoothhound sharks outlined in the Shark Conservation Act (SCA) and ASMFC's Addendum II to the ISFMP for coastal sharks. The SCA of 2010 requires that coastal sharks are landed with fins and tail attached with an exemption for smoothhound sharks as long as the total weight of smoothhound shark fins landed or found on board a vessel does not exceed 12% of the total weight of smoothhound shark carcasses landed or found on board. The proposed action allows 8% fin to carcass ratio for the combined fin sets of the dorsal and pectoral fins, and 4% for caudal fins. The ratios are based on discussions with Maryland shark dealers and results of the 2013 North Carolina fin to carcass ratio study. This would allow for 12% if all three fin sets are separated from the smoothhound sharks. Fin set specifications match the intent of the SCA, reduce the likelihood of illegal finning becoming an issue, reduce concerns about finning activity, and provide consistency with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Addendum II to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks. It also addresses the fact that local dealers do not keep the same set of fins and, therefore, will not allow for exploitation that could occur under a more general 12% ratio.

Click here to view proposed text.

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Spiny Dogfish

Proposed November 8, 2013 December 2, 2013 None January 2, 2014 February 2014

COMAR 08.02.05.24

The purpose of this action is to implement a limited entry spiny dogfish permit. Spiny dogfish were determined to be in need of conservation in 2001. Sound conservation and management measures prevent overfishing and achieve the optimum yield from each fishery. Adopting regulations relating to the taking, possession, transportation, sale or offer for sale, size limits and other regulations is necessary to conserve the fish in alignment with coastal criteria and recommendations.

In 2011, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries commission passed Addendum III to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Spiny Dogfish, dissolving the Southern Region (NY – VA) allocation established in Addendum II and setting state shares for New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. As a result of Addendum III, Maryland currently receives 5.92% of the coastal commercial Spiny Dogfish quota. As a result of these limitations on Maryland's harvest, the industry requested changes in commercial Spiny Dogfish management.

The proposed regulations are closely based on recommendations from the Spiny Dogfish Industry Workgroup, which met monthly from November 2012 – March 2013. The goals of the workgroup were to protect local, active fishermen and provide for a fishery from November through April each year, when spiny dogfish are present off Maryland. Specifically, the proposed action includes: a control date with qualifications to be part of the fishery; a declaration period for a licensee to declare their intent to fish; creation of a spiny dogfish landing permit to harvest more that 1000 pounds per vessel per day; use it or lose it provisions for the permit; transfer requirements; an allowance for operators to harvest a permittee's fish as long as the operator is in possession of the permittee's permit; catch limits; reporting requirements; and a penalty process.

Click here to view proposed text

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Proposal Subject Emergency or Permanent Sent for Publication Date MD Register Issue Date Hearing Date Public Comment Deadline Scheduled Effective Date

Crabs

Proposed September 30, 2013 October 18, 2013 November 5, 2013 November 18, 2013 January 1, 2014

COMAR 08.02.03.03, .06, .07, .09, .10, .11, and .14

The proposed action amends Chesapeake Bay recreational crab regulations to improve the sustainability of blue crab and Diamondback terrapin (Maryland State reptile) resources. The proposed action is specific to Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, and does not apply to Maryland coastal bays.

Currently, the Maryland recreational crab harvest is estimated using a phone survey that calls a random group of individuals among Maryland's population to ask if they went recreationally crabbing. This survey technique requires a high and costly amount of phone calls to obtain accurate and precise harvest estimates. The current recreational license structure makes it difficult and expensive to gather harvest data that is needed for blue crab management because of license exemptions. The proposed action reduces the number of exemptions by requiring individuals that set crab pots from private shoreline property to obtain a free registration and decreases harvest impacts of unlicensed crabbers. The proposed action maintains license exemptions for individuals who want to handline or dipnet for crabs, but now requires a license for the use of collapsible traps, net rings or a seine.

The proposed action requires individuals that set crab pots from private shoreline property to obtain a free registration. Requiring a free registration for waterfront property owners will provide an improved sampling platform for determining the harvest of crabs from this sector of Maryland's recreational crabbers. Registering waterfront crab pots would also be of substantial benefit to the conservation of Diamondback terrapin by improving education on the importance of the required turtle saver devices and other regulations. The proposed action clarifies that guests may use a crab pot registered to a private shoreline property. The proposed action also clarifies where crab pots may be used recreationally by removing a prohibition for setting crab pots in some tributaries because some tributaries were inadvertently excluded due to float free channels.

The proposed action also standardizes the catch limit for an unlicensed recreational crabber whether crabbing from a boat or the shore. The objective of this action is to simplify recreational crabbing rules by making them more intuitive and consistent. This will facilitate public understanding and enforcement.

The proposed action clarifies the complimentary crabbing license. The action does not change the boat license or what is currently allowed, it clarifies the limits. An individual receives a complimentary crabbing license when they purchase a recreational crabbing boat license or a Chesapeake Bay sport fishing boat license. The rules have been confusing as to what is allowed under each license. The proposed action clarifies the rules and removes references to the Chesapeake Bay sport fishing boat license. The complimentary crabbing license issued to an individual with the Chesapeake Bay sport fishing boat license allows the individual to recreationally crab, it does not license the boat for crabbing activities. The complimentary crabbing license issued to an individual with the recreational crabbing boat license allows the individual to recreationally crab; it does not allow the individual an extra limit of crabs or gear while aboard the boat with the decal.

Finally, the proposed action clarifies setting and marking gear, commercial harvest with recreational gear, and regulation citations. The action clarifies that gear may not be set within 100 feet of another person's set gear. The current regulation is inconsistent and causes problems with enforcement. It clarifies that a commercial crabber may harvest crabs using recreational gear following the recreational limits.

A Hearing will be held to discuss the changes at 6 pm on 11/5/13 in the C-1 conference room of the Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401.

Click here to view proposed text

Public comments may be submitted via fax, 410-260-8310 or email comments to the Regulatory Staff.
Ramps & Maps

Not sure where Tidal and Non-Tidal regulations apply? Want to locate a Striped Bass Spawning area Map? Check here for a description of all the ramps and maps.