NRP Issues One Citation, 25 Warnings at Start of Oyster Power Dredging Season
11/04/2013 | Posted by kkingTags: Commercial, Osyters, NRP
Wind-whipped waters this morning slowed the start of Maryland's power dredge oyster season, typically the most active segment of the six-month harvest.
Maryland Natural Resources Police officers patrolling the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries cited one waterman for possession of undersized oysters and issued 25 warnings primarily for commercial equipment violations.
Just before 10 a.m., officers boarded a boat at Priest's Point on the western shore of the St. Mary's River, one of seven boats inspected in the area.
Frances Emerick Cullison Jr., 64, of St. Mary's County, received a citation for possession of a harvest containing nine-percent undersized oysters. The pre-payable fine for the offense is $155.
On the upper Eastern Shore, a total of 78 power dredges were observed working oyster bars in Fishing Bay and near Tilghman Island. Officers issued 22 warnings.
A total of 13 boats were checked in Wicomico County and two boats were inspected in Somerset County. No violations or citations were issued.
Enhanced enforcement is one of the goals of Governor O'Malley's 10-point Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan. As part of the overall focus, DNR established a tougher penalty system for commercial fishing violations.
Last month, the Governor announced that a record 1.25 billion spat produced at the University of Maryland Horn Point Lab Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge had been planted, mostly in oyster sanctuaries. These sanctuaries help rebuild the native oyster population and improve water quality.