08.02.04.15

.15 Oyster Sanctuaries.

A. Oyster Sanctuaries of the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries (September 2010) designates oyster sanctuaries in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries and is hereby incorporated by reference.

B. A person may not harvest:

(1) Wild oysters from a sanctuary established in §A of this regulation; or

(2) Clams from a sanctuary designated in Section I of "Oyster Sanctuaries of the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries (September 2010)" that is incorporated by reference in §A of this regulation.

C. Aquaculture in Sanctuaries.

(1) Except as provided in §C(2) of this regulation, a shellfish lease may not be located within 150 feet of a Yates Bar located in an oyster sanctuary established in §A of this regulation.

(2) Until termination in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-11A-10, Annotated Code of Maryland or surrender in accordance with COMAR 08.02.23.03J, leased areas and all areas within 150 feet of the leased areas existing at the time of the enactment of Ch. 173, Acts of 2009 shall not be considered part of the sanctuaries as established in §A of this regulation.

(3) A leaseholder under Natural Resources Article, §4-11A, Annotated Code of Maryland, or permit registrant under COMAR 08.02.23.04 shall notify the Department as specified on the Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permit 48 hours in advance of using a power dredge in areas described in §A or C(2) of this regulation.

(4) No more than 10 percent of each oyster sanctuary established in §A of this regulation shall be leased for shellfish aquaculture.

(5) St. Mary’s River Oyster Sanctuary.

(a) The Department shall, based on the results of the Maryland Geological Survey’s 2010 sonar survey, post on its website a map of the areas of restorable bottom in the St. Mary’s River Oyster Sanctuary.

(b) A lease may only be issued in the St. Mary’s River Oyster Sanctuary if the results of a biological survey approved by the Department indicate the average oyster density is less than 15 oysters per square meter in:

(i) The restorable bottom portion of the proposed lease area; and

(ii) The remaining bottom in the proposed lease area.

(c) No more than 25 percent of the total restorable bottom in the St. Mary’s River Oyster Sanctuary shall be leased for shellfish aquaculture purposes.