08.02.05.08

.08 Eels.

A. Commercial.

(1) Except as permitted under COMAR 08.02.14, a person may not catch, possess, land, or sell eels for commercial purposes which are less than 9 inches total length.

(2) The annual quota for the commercial fishery is set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

B. Noncommercial Limits.

(1) A person may not catch or possess eels for noncommercial purposes which are less than 9 inches total length.

(2) A person may not catch or possess more than 25 eels per day for noncommercial purposes.

C. Closed Season. Except by spear or baited traps or pots, eels may not be taken between September 1 and December 31.

D. Structural Requirements.

(1) Except as provided for in §D(2)of this regulation, an eel pot shall be constructed of wire having a mesh size not less than 1/2 inch when the wire mesh is unstretched.

(2) Prior to January 1, 2017, an eel pot constructed with mesh smaller than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch may be used so long as it has an escape panel installed in an exterior wall of the retention chamber made of 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch mesh measuring at least 4 inches by 4 inches.

E. A person may not set buoyed eel pots in those channels designated as buoy-free channels under COMAR 08.02.03.07H.

F. In addition to those defined in COMAR 08.02.03.07H, a person may not set buoyed eel pots in the following channels:

(1) Severn River: 50 yards channelward of a line from Whitehall Creek Fl. 4 § "2" to R "4", and 50 yards southwest of a line from Whitehall Creek Fl. 4 § "2" to Mill Creek R "2";

(2) South River: 100 yards channelward of a line marked by Fl. R 2.5 § "4", Fl. R 4 § "6", and Fl. R 4 § "8";

(3) Rhode River: 50 yards westerly of a line marked by Fl. R 4 § "2", R "4", and a point 50 yards east of Fl. G 4 § "7";

(4) Sassafras River: 50 yards channelward and following a marked channel line easterly from R "2" Fl. R 4 § to above Rt. 213 bridge to the channel markers at the entrance of Swantown Creek;

(5) Bohemia River: 50 yards channelward and following a marked channel line from R "2" Fl. R 4 § southeasterly to the Rt. 213 bridge;

(6) Northeast River: Within the marked channel following a line northeasterly from R "6" to Fl. G 4 § 15 ft. 5M "17";

(7) Swan Creek: Within the marked channel following a line along the southern shoreline from Plum Point to High Point.

G. A person may not set or fish an eel pot without an appropriate license issued by the Department.

H. General.

(1) The Secretary may establish or modify catch limits, size limits, and seasons for American eel in order to implement the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel, by issuing a public notice on the Departmentís website.

(2) The public notice shall state its effective hour and date and shall be published on the Departmentís website at least 48 hours in advance of the effective hour and date.

(3) The Secretary shall make a reasonable effort to disseminate a public notice issued under this section through various other media so that an affected individual has a reasonable opportunity to be informed.

(4) A violation of the restrictions set by the Secretary in accordance with section is a violation of this regulation.