08.02.05.01 and .02, 08.02.11.04, and 08.02.25.01 and .02
The purpose of this action is to clarify and consolidate rules pertaining to recreational fishing gear into one chapter of regulation. In 2011, the General Assembly passed House Bill 111, which required the Department to consult with the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission (TFAC) and Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission (SFAC) to create regulations pertaining to recreational fishing gear and four commercial fishing gears. As required under this law, the Department considered relevant biological, ecological, and socioeconomic factors in creating the proposed action. The Department met with the TFAC and SFAC Gear Workgroup in May 2012 and scoped the proposed regulations in May 2013. The Department will be further discussing the commercial gears with the TFAC before proposing a commercial gear regulation to address fish pots, bank traps, fyke nets and hoop nets.
The action creates a new chapter of regulation that defines fishing gears and restrictions pertaining to each classification of recreational fishing gear. The regulation creates five categories of gear: traps, non-active line fishing gear, active line fishing gear, nets, projectile gear, and hand gear. Gears are listed under each of these categories and restrictions are based on existing restrictions and/or biological, ecological or socioeconomic factors.
The action creates new definitions for the following items: Bank pole, Bow and arrow, Bush-bob, Cast net, Crossbow, Gig, Hand, Handline, Jug, Landing net, Lure, Net, Noodling, Rod, Rod and reel, Snagging, Spear, Spear gun, and Trap. The following is a list of new rules relating to recreational fishing gear:
- May only use the recreational gear allowed in the gear chapter and in the Maryland Code.
- Now allow traps for recreational anglers to catch bait, so long as the trap is in front of the individual's property, within 100 yards of the shore or attached to an un-docked boat. The trap must also be marked with the individual's DNRid number.
- Creates category of non-active line fishing gear. Jugs are now explicitly approved for recreational use, and the allowable use of recreational finfish trotlines has been expanded.
- Seines may now be used by all recreational anglers, not just resident anglers.
- New projectile gear rules:
- Crossbows are now allowed.
- Season on spears/spear guns has been removed
- Added the following species to the explicit "no shoot" list (although they had all been prohibited from being shot in their respective species regulations):
- American lobster
- Snapping turtle
- Species listed as threatened or endangered
- Removed the restriction that gigs may only be used by residents in nontidal waters
- Added "Hand" and "Noodling" as explicitly allowed means of catching fish.