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 & Statewide​ Clarifications 
BLUE CRAB — Commercial Harvest Times  - OPEN FOR COMMENT
CHANNELED WHELK 
CLAM — Hard and Soft 
CLAM — Harvest in the Chester River
COBIA
COMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS — 2016/2017 
COMMERCIAL LICENSE TARGETS — 2017/2018
COWNOSE RAYS
DIVIDING LINES FOR TIDAL/NONTIDAL WATERS - Barren Creek
FISHERY MANAGEMENT AREAS 
FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLANS - OPEN FO​R C​OMMENT
FISHING IN NONTIDAL WATERS — Changes for 2017
GEAR — Commercial and Recreational
GEAR - Stinger Hooks - OPEN FO​R C​OMMENT
HORSESHOE CRAB
JONAH CRABS - OPEN FO​R C​OMMENT
OUT OF STATE SUPPLIER REGISTRATION
OYSTERS - OPEN FO​R C​OMMENT
POUND NETS
SCUP
SHARKS — Recreational
SHARKS — Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — Commercial
SHARKS — Smoothhound (Smooth Dogfish) — Recreational
SPINY DOGFISH — Commercial Eligibility and Declaration 
STRIPED BASS - Commercial Fishery - OPEN FO​R C​OMMENT
STRIPED BASS - Recreational Fishery - OPEN FO​R C​OMMENT
STRIPED BASS — Commercial Declaration
TROUT - OPEN FO​R C​OMMENT
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 & 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.

  • Click here to view the proposal​
  • Hearing — A public hearing was held regarding the proposal on February 6, 2017, at 5 p.m., at Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Conference Room C-1, Annapolis, MD 21401. No one attended the hearing.
  • Adopted with Nonsubstantive Changes​ - Effective March 27, 2017

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    Thermometer GraphicBLUE CRAB - Commercial Harvest Times COMAR 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 is requested so that crab harvesters may benefit as soon as possible. If the emergency action is approved, harvesters will be able to harvest one hour early on July 3rd, July 4th, September 3rd and September 4th. If it is not approved, they will not benefit from the legislation until May 2018. Regulation is not effective - it is pending AELR Approval.

    • View the Emergency Proposal Emergency Action Submitted to the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee (AELR)

    • View the Proposal (pages 762-763 of the MD Register printed on July 21, 2017)
    • Submit Comments​ to fisheriespubliccomment.dnr@maryland.gov - by 11:59 p.m. August 21, 2017
    • Regulatory Hearing held June 28, 2017 - 2 attendees
    • Regulatory Hearing scheduled for August 2 at 3 p.m. in the C-1 Conference Room of the Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401
    • Additional Information
         View SENATE BILL 59
         View HOUSE BILL 1314​
     ​

     

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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

    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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    ON HOLDCOBIA

    List cobia as in need of conservation.

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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.

  • View the Summary​

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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.

  • View the Summary
  • Submit Comments to fisheriespubliccomment.dnr@maryland.gov - by 11:59 p.m. August 27, 2017

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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 — 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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    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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    Thermometer GraphicPOUND NETS 
    Allows harvesters to share pound nets.




     
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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 
    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 - 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.


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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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    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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