News from the DNR Office of Communications

Oyster Season Closed, Poaching Continues

Annapolis, Md. – The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged a waterman April 28 with poaching oysters after the March 31 close of the season.

Ben Harrison Marshall, 34 of Newcomb, Md., was charged with taking oysters during closed season and operating a power dredge in an area reserved for hand tongs.

On April 28, an NRP officer observed a commercial work boat power dredging for oysters in the Ted Avon River, near the Bellevue Public Landing in Talbot County. The officer made contact with the vessel operator when it came to shore at the Bellevue Ferry dock.

When Marshall was question by the officer, he stated that he had been perch fishing, although no fish or fishing poles were found on the vessel. Upon inspection, the officer found five and half bushels of oysters hidden in the cabin of the boat. The oysters were covered by clothing in an attempt to conceal them.

Marshall’s charges carry a prepayable fine of $320 for operating a power dredge in an area reserved for handtongs and $125 for taking oysters for commercial purposes during closed season. Marshall is set to appear June 17 in Talbot County District Court.

NRP reminds to Marylanders to report suspicious activity to the statewide Communication Center at 800-628-9944 or 410-260-8888.

   April 30, 2010

Contact: Sgt. A.A. Windemuth
410-260-8003 office | 410-713-8449 cell

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 247 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 (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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 12 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