Maryland DNR Looking to Give Reserve Oyster Bottoms to Watermen - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland DNR Looking to Give Reserve Oyster Bottoms to Watermen Full-Time

Posted: Updated:
(Photo:WBOC) (Photo:WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Harvest reserve bottoms for oysters were established in the early 2000s.  Now, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says they have served their purpose.

Harvest reserve bottoms have been in the Chesapeake Bay for close to 15 years now.  Those areas were closed off much of the time, and occasionally opened to watermen when the oysters in those locations grew to four inches or longer.  The DNR is looking to release those areas to the watermen, and get rid of the program.

The department says as it stands right now, those locations are not being seeded by the watermen, who instead are investing their time and money into the bottoms they can dredge all season long.  They say that, combined with the sanctuary programs, has made the reserve bottom program somewhat redundant, so they have introduced legislation to return that bottom to full time use.

There are twelve reserve harvest bottoms in Maryland's portion of the Chesapeake Bay.  They aren't huge, but if the DNR gets their way, the watermen will be able to work those oyster bottoms all season long, and that has watermen happy.

"Any new bottom would be a plus," said Scott Todd, president of the Dorchester Seafood Harvester's Association.  "Once we start working it, it's going to get a spat set, and then it will grow from then on."

"I think it's like anything.  If the tools are there, and this could potentially be a tool to make the public fisheries better or stronger for everyone, then I think they should do it," said Aubrey Vincent at Lindy's Seafood in Woolford.

The reason they are so willing is because the past few strong oyster seasons have brought more watermen into the fishery, and they are crowding the public bottoms.

"Of course it's limited, the number of licenses are supplied.  But, you have a small area with more and more people working it and stressing it, and it really doesn't provide any benefit to, you know bringing the oysters back and making it stronger for everybody," said Vincent.

The regulation is held up in an Annapolis committee at the moment, the DNR says that's due to concerns from river keepers.  They are aiming to put those reserves into the public fishery this season if possible.

"We need some bottom open now," said Todd.  "There's more people that have gotten into this this year, it's getting tighter and tighter all the time."

There is potentially some hope on the horizon.  The oyster sanctuaries, which have now been in place five years, are now in the process of being studied, and there is a chance that they could be reopened, or put into rotational harvest, but that isn't a slam dunk.  A report is now being created to assess how those sanctuaries are doing in comparison to the public bottom.  That report is due out in July. 

If the report indicates that the sanctuaries should be reopened or put into rotational harvest, whether partially or fully, that wouldn't happen immediately.  The DNR says any change to the sanctuaries would first have to go through legislative review and public comment.

There has been some talk in the past of doing rotational harvest by closing off a section of the existing fishery. Todd said that would just serve to make things worse, by squeezing all those watermen into an even smaller box.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • UPDATED: Lewes Man Arrested for Kidnapping and Assault

    Lewes Man Wanted for Alleged Assault, Kidnapping

    07/19/2017 17:17:00 -04:002017-07-19 21:17:00 GMT
    Friday, July 21 2017 12:05 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:05:03 GMT
    Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
  • Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"

    Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"

    Thursday, July 20 2017 9:15 PM EDT2017-07-21 01:15:39 GMT
    Thursday, July 20 2017 9:15 PM EDT2017-07-21 01:15:39 GMT
    Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"
    The town of Ocean City prepares for "College Beach Weekend". The three day event starts today and according to the events organizer, the town is expected to see an influx of about 40,000 college students.More
    The town of Ocean City prepares for "College Beach Weekend". The three day event starts today and according to the events organizer, the town is expected to see an influx of about 40,000 college students.More
  • Delaware State Fair Kicks Off Under Hot Temperatures

    Delaware State Fair Kicks Off Under Hot Temperatures

    Thursday, July 20 2017 8:53 PM EDT2017-07-21 00:53:43 GMT
    Thursday, July 20 2017 8:53 PM EDT2017-07-21 00:53:43 GMT
    HARRINGTON, Del. -- The Delaware State Fair kicked off on Thursday at the fairgrounds near Harrington as brutal temperatures and sunlight bared down on early visitors in the afternoon and early evening.The fair runs through July 29. It features a numberMore
    HARRINGTON, Del. -- The Delaware State Fair kicked off on Thursday at the fairgrounds near Harrington as brutal temperatures and sunlight bared down on early visitors in the afternoon and early evening.The fair runs through July 29. It features a numberMore
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Updated: Pilot Critical After Small Plane Crashes into Kent County Field

    Small Plane Crashes in Kent County Field

    07/19/2017 10:49:00 -04:002017-07-19 14:49:00 GMT
    Wednesday, July 19 2017 3:42 PM EDT2017-07-19 19:42:11 GMT
    Wednesday morning's crash scene in Sandtown. (Photo credit: Delaware State Police)Wednesday morning's crash scene in Sandtown. (Photo credit: Delaware State Police)
    Delaware State Police have released the name of a man critically injured after the crop duster plane he was flying crashed into a field in Kent County on Wednesday morning.More
    Delaware State Police have released the name of a man critically injured after the crop duster plane he was flying crashed into a field in Kent County on Wednesday morning.More
  • UPDATED: Lewes Man Arrested for Kidnapping and Assault

    Lewes Man Wanted for Alleged Assault, Kidnapping

    07/19/2017 17:17:00 -04:002017-07-19 21:17:00 GMT
    Friday, July 21 2017 12:05 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:05:03 GMT
    Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
  • Delaware Woman Arrested for Dorchester County Stabbing

    Delaware Woman Arrested for Dorchester County Stabbing

    07/20/2017 15:30:00 -04:002017-07-20 19:30:00 GMT
    Thursday, July 20 2017 3:30 PM EDT2017-07-20 19:30:50 GMT
    (Photo: MGN)(Photo: MGN)
    A Delaware woman has been arrested in connection with a Dorchester County stabbing, according to Maryland State Police.More
    A Delaware woman has been arrested in connection with a Dorchester County stabbing, according to Maryland State Police.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Cambridge Remembers 1967 Race Riot

    Cambridge Remembers 1967 Race Riot

     It's hard to believe Pine Street in Cambridge was once piled with burnt rock and debris.

    The Cambridge Race Riots of 1967 left 17 buildings destroyed and a community - scarred. Herschel Johnson was in his late twenties at the time and lived down the street.

    More

     It's hard to believe Pine Street in Cambridge was once piled with burnt rock and debris.

    The Cambridge Race Riots of 1967 left 17 buildings destroyed and a community - scarred. Herschel Johnson was in his late twenties at the time and lived down the street.

    More
  • Virginia Town Loses Fire Department

    Virginia Town Loses Fire Department

    The Accomack Board of Supervisors have voted, and with a 9-0 vote, decided to officially end the funding of the Onley Fire Department, meaning their doors are now closed to the public.

    More

    The Accomack Board of Supervisors have voted, and with a 9-0 vote, decided to officially end the funding of the Onley Fire Department, meaning their doors are now closed to the public.

    More
  • Crowds Line Up For Seafood At Tawes Clam Bake

    Crowds Line Up For Seafood At Tawes Clam Bake

    Lines started forming early Wednesday afternoon at the 41st Annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield.  WBOC's Nicole Lauren spoke to some seafood lovers taking in the sun and good food.

    More

    Lines started forming early Wednesday afternoon at the 41st Annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield.  WBOC's Nicole Lauren spoke to some seafood lovers taking in the sun and good food.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices