A. In this regulation, the following terms have the meanings indicated.
B. Terms Defined.
(1) "Carapace" means the top shell of a turtle.
(2) "The wild" means any land or water in the State, either natural or altered, upon which a snapping turtle can exist in a condition which is not constrained or controlled by humans.
C. Methods of Taking Snapping Turtles.
(1) A person may not catch a snapping turtle from the waters of the State by the use of a hook and line, trot line, bow and arrow, spear, gig or gig iron, or any other device capable of piercing any part of a turtle.
(2) Nontidal Waters. In addition to the gear prohibited in §C(1) of this regulation, a person may not catch a snapping turtle from nontidal waters of the State by the use of a net, seine, fish pot, trap, or other fishing rig.
D. Measuring a Snapping Turtle. The length of a snapping turtle shall be measured:
(1) Along the curvature of the carapace with a flexible tape measure that conforms to the snapping turtle's shell; and
(2) From the nuchal scute, the scute directly behind the turtle's head, to the base of the notch where the two most posterior scutes meet, as described on the harvester's snapping turtle harvest permit card.
E. Season. The only place and time that a person may not catch or attempt to catch snapping turtles is in the tributary waters of Charles County from April 15 to May 31, inclusive.
F. Eggs and Nests. A person may not possess, destroy, or disturb snapping turtle eggs or disturb the nest of a snapping turtle.
G. Commercial Fishery.
(1) General Requirements and Restrictions.
(a) A person may not harvest or possess a snapping turtle for commercial purposes that has a carapace length that is less than 11 inches, measured in accordance with §D of this regulation.
(b) A person may not buy, sell, or offer to buy or sell any snapping turtle harvested from the nontidal waters of the State.
(c) A person catching snapping turtles for commercial purposes shall:
(i) Be licensed to fish for commercial purposes in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-701, Annotated Code of Maryland; and
(ii) Have the Department-issued snapping turtle harvest permit in possession while harvesting or transporting snapping turtles.
(a) Between August 1 and January 31, dates inclusive, tidal fish licensees shall declare their intent to fish for snapping turtles.
(b) A tidal fish licensee who has not declared by January 31, and who has not declared after the January 31 deadline in any of the 3 preceding years, may apply until February 14, or the next business day if February 14 occurs on a weekend, to the Director of Fisheries Service provided the licensee shows good reason why the application should be processed.
(c) An exception to the February 14 deadline will be considered only for an individual who can provide satisfactory documentation of a physical or mental incapacity that prevented that individual from meeting the declaration time period established in this subsection.
(3) Snapping Turtle Harvest Permit.
(a) Snapping turtle harvest permits shall be issued to all licensees who have declared their intent to fish for snapping turtles and have met all reporting requirements as required by Natural Resources Article, §4-206, Annotated Code of Maryland, and this regulation.
(b) Snapping turtle harvest permits may not be transferred.
(4) Reporting. A person permitted by the Department to harvest snapping turtles shall:
(a) Record their catch on the snapping turtle harvest report and on the daily commercial fisheries catch log;
(b) Submit the snapping turtle harvest report as required by the Department and the daily commercial fisheries catch log in accordance with COMAR 08.02.13.06; and
(c) Make available daily information, harvest report cards, and catch logs for immediate inspection on request of a Department representative.
(a) In addition to any other penalty established in COMAR 08.02.13, failure to comply with this regulation may result in the denial of a subsequent permit.
(b) Prior to suspending a permit under this regulation or denying an application for a permit, the Department shall give the licensee notice of its intended action and an opportunity to appear at a hearing conducted in accordance with the contested case procedures set forth in State Government Article, Title 10, Subtitle 2, Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 08.01.04.
(6) Float Requirements for Traps. A trap used to catch snapping turtles shall have a solid foam or hard plastic float inserted inside the trap that will bring a portion of the trap to the surface of the water and provide breathing space for trapped turtles.
H. Noncommercial Taking and Possession; Pets.
(1) A person may not take or possess a snapping turtle from the wild that has a carapace length that is less than 4 inches.
(2) A person may not possess more than one snapping turtle taken from the wild for noncommercial purposes.
(3) A person must be licensed in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-604, Annotated Code of Maryland, to take or possess a snapping turtle from nontidal waters for noncommercial purposes.
(4) A person need not be licensed in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-745, Annotated Code of Maryland, to take or possess a snapping turtle from tidal waters for noncommercial purposes.
I. Release of Captive Snapping Turtles. A person may only release a snapping turtle taken from the wild back to the wild if the person has obtained prior written authorization from the Department.
J. Exceptions. The provisions of §§C, E, and F of this regulation do not apply to a person who:
(1) Is authorized by a scientific collection permit in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-212, Annotated Code of Maryland;
(2) Is authorized by a landowner wildlife damage control permit in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §10-206, Annotated Code of Maryland; or
(3) Is authorized by a commercial wildlife damage control permit in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §10-908, Annotated Code of Maryland.
K. Public Notice.
(1) The Secretary may modify size limits or open, close, or modify a season by publishing notice in a daily newspaper of general circulation at least 48 hours in advance, stating the effective hour and date.
(2) The Secretary shall make a reasonable effort to disseminate public notice through various other media so that an affected person has reasonable opportunity to be informed.