.17 Public Shellfish Fishery Area.

A. Public Shellfish Fishery Areas of the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries (November 2019) designates public shellfish fishery areas in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries and is hereby incorporated by reference.

B. Declassification.

(1) A person may petition the Department to declassify a portion of a public shellfish fishery area by submitting a lease application as described in COMAR or B and Natural Resources Article, §4-11A-09, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(2) The declassification of a public shellfish fishery area may be approved:

(a) If the results of a biological survey conducted by the Department or a designated agent show that the average density of oysters per square meter is equal to or below the maximum threshold of one oyster that is 1 inch or greater per square meter;

(b) After commercial harvest activity and other quantitative data is considered by the Department;

(c) If the lease application meets the requirements of COMAR; and

(d) If the lease application is approved in accordance with Natural Resources Article, Title 4, Subtitle 11A, Annotated Code of Maryland.