News from the DNR Office of Communications

Natural Resources Police Charges Watermen with Oyster Harvesting Violations

Annapolis, Md. (January 8, 2010) – Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) has been investigating several Oyster violations as a result of increased enforcement efforts aimed at protecting Maryland’s native Chesapeake Bay oyster stock. The investigations resulted in the following charges:

On January 7, 2010 NRP charged a Dorchester County seafood dealer with possession of undersize oysters. NRP inspected a seafood truck in Wingate Marina and a random sample of the cargo revealed 9 percent undersize oysters. Adrien Leo Hansen, 74, of Cambridge, Md. was charged with possession of undersize oysters. Hansen is the owner of Hansen Seafood and was buying oysters from the commercial waterman. He was fined $155 and is set to appear February 17 in Maryland District Court in Cambridge.

On January 5, 2010, NRP stopped and inspected the vessel “Stephanie Marie” on St. Jerome’s Creek in Scotland, Md. and it contained small and unculled oysters. Thomas Edward Dean Jr., 36 of Scotland, Md., was charged with possession of 14 percent small and unculled oysters. He is set to appear April 9 in Maryland District Court in St. Mary’s County.

On January 6, 2010, NRP inspected a truck that was transporting oysters in the area of Drayden, Maryland. As a result of the stop, Steven Gary Adams of Drayden, Md. was charged with possessing 13 percent small and unculled oysters. He is set to appear April 9 in Maryland District Court in St. Mary’s County.

On January 7, 2009, NRP stopped a commercial vessel in St. Mary’s River near Drayden and inspected the oysters on board the vessel. As a result of the inspection, Robert Lee Copsy, 41 of Mechanicsville, Md. was charged with 14% small and unculled oysters. A trial date of April 9, 2010 has been set Maryland District Court in St. Mary’s County

These charges come on the heels of Governor Martin O’Malley’s announced proposal last month for a new management and restoration plan for oysters and the Maryland oyster industry. The proposed plan will increase Maryland’s network of oyster sanctuaries, expand the leasing opportunities for oyster aquaculture, and maintain 167,720 acres of natural oyster habitat for a more targeted, sustainable, and scientifically-manages public oyster fishery.

A noteworthy part of this program is the launch of fresh enforcement initiatives and enhancements including the installation of a network of radar and camera units to assist the NRP in monitoring sensitive areas that are prone to poaching.

   January 8, 2010

Contact: Sgt. Art Windemuth

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 249 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the NRP provide a variety of services in addition to conservation and boating law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at