DNR Denies Oyster Season Extension - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DNR Denies Oyster Season Extension

(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DEAL ISLAND, Md.- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has denied a request to extend oyster season for two weeks.

Senator Richard Colburn, R-Dist. 37, made the request. He said, "watermen lost several days of work this season because of harsh winter weather and sub-freezing water temperatures."

Oyster season ends March 31. Colburn wanted it extended to April 15.

Waterman Nicholas Baker said that would have helped.

"This year was kind of hard with the freeze over. It froze over for about three weeks," Baker said. " That kind of put a damper on us. I think we could use a little more time," he said.

Baker said the freeze put he and others out of work for days.

"Some people don't get paid," Baker said. "Some of the bills, you have to wait until the next time that you go out to get paid."  

In a letter from DNR, the department said an extension is unnecessary. Based on a harvesting report, they said watermen did well this oyster season and only 10 days were interrupted.

In a statement, Colburn said, "I believe the department's figure on only 10 days loss is debatable due to the number of days this winter that loss of work days have been affected."

He said, " I believe these have been conditions unlike any we've seen in years. I believe the department could have at least shown a good faith attempt and extended the season."

Baker said he loses about $400 a day when he does not work, and the captain of the boat loses thousands.

Deal Island resident, Bart Vanness, said the department should have given them more time.

"They haven't been able to get out and make a living. This is their living."

Crabbing season starts April 1.

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