08.02.15.07

.07 Commercial Fishery.

A. Chesapeake Bay and its Tidal Tributaries.

(1) Quota. The annual target harvest for the commercial fishery is 42.5 percent of the overall Maryland quota.

(2) Size Limits.

(a) The minimum legal size for the commercial fishery is 18 inches total length.

(b) The maximum legal size for the commercial fishery is 36 inches total length.

(3) Seasons. The commercial seasons for taking striped bass are as follows:

(a) The haul seine, and hook and line seasons are June 1 through November 30;

(b) The pound net season is June 1 through December 31; and

(c) The drift gill net season is December 1 through the last day of February.

(4) The Secretary shall allocate the annual target harvest for the following fisheries:

(a) Chesapeake Bay Common Pool;

(b) Chesapeake Bay Individual Transferrable Quota; and

(c) Atlantic Ocean, its coastal bays and their tidal tributaries.

(5) For the common pool fishery, the Secretary may allocate the number of pounds for each month based on the:

(a) Historical distributions of quota by month; or

(b) Recommendations from the Striped Bass Ad Hoc Advisory Group.

(6) Initial Calculation of Shares in the Fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries.

(a) A tidal fish licensee with a striped bass permit registered in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries as of May 10, 2013 shall receive a share of the striped bass fishery in accordance with this section.

(b) Pound Net and Haul Seine.

(i) The amount of shares to be divided among the pound net and haul seine fisheries is 33 percent of the Chesapeake Bay commercial quota.

(ii) Tidal fish licensees with a striped bass permit registered in the pound net fishery as of May 10, 2013 shall each receive an equal share.

(iii) Tidal fish licensees with a striped bass permit registered in the haul seine fishery as of May 10, 2013 shall each receive a share equal to the amount of one third of the share assigned to a striped bass permit registered in the pound net fishery as of May 10, 2013.

(c) Gill Net and Hook and Line.

(i) The amount of shares to be divided among the gill net and hook and line fisheries is 67 percent of the overall commercial quota.

(ii) Each tidal fish licensee with a striped bass permit registered in either the gill net or hook and line fisheries as of May 10, 2013 shall receive an equal share of 25 percent of the gill net and hook and line quota.

(iii) In addition to the initial baseline share described in §A(6)(c)(ii) of this regulation, each tidal fish licensee with a striped bass permit registered in either the gill net or hook and line fisheries as of May 10, 2013 may receive additional shares of the remaining 75 percent of the gill net and hook and line quota based on the average poundage of the striped bass harvested by the permittee during the period January 1, 2001 through February 29, 2012.

(7) The Secretary may:

(a) Reassign a commercial tidal fish licensee's allocation if the licensee has not registered for the allocation;

(b) Modify the allocation of all commercial tidal fish licensees during the season;

(c) Consider an appeal of the initial calculation of shares in the fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries under §A(6) of this regulation; and

(d) Modify the shares of all commercial tidal fish licensees in an equal manner prior to the beginning of the quota year.

(8) A flag specified by the Department shall be displayed on the vessel at least 3 feet above the surface on which it is mounted and clearly visible to approaching vessels if the individuals on board are engaged in commercial striped bass fishing to denote whether the individuals on board are participating in the common pool or the individual quota fisheries.

B. Atlantic Ocean, its Coastal Bays and Their Tributaries.

(1) Quota. The annual target harvest for the commercial fishery is the quota set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

(2) Minimum Size. The minimum legal size for the commercial fishery is 24 inches.

(3) Season. The commercial season for the taking of striped bass for all gears is October 1 through May 31.

(4) A striped bass caught in the waters of the State shall be landed in the State.

(5) The Department may waive the provisions set forth in §B(4) of this regulation if an individual files with the Department an affidavit signed by the individual which specifies the out-of-State landing location and Maryland check station where fish will be counted and weighed.

(6) The Secretary may modify the number of licensees with individual permits that may catch striped bass on a boat on any day by publishing notice in a daily newspaper of general circulation at least 48 hours in advance of the time of modification, stating the effective hour and date.

(7) Initial Calculation of Shares in the Atlantic Ocean, Its Coastal Bays, and Their Tidal Tributaries.

(a) A tidal fish licensee with a striped bass permit registered in the Atlantic Ocean, its coastal bays, and their tidal tributaries shall receive a share of the striped bass fishery in accordance with this section.

(b) A tidal fish licensee shall receive an equal share for each of their permits registered in the Atlantic Ocean fishery.

(c) A tidal fish licensee may receive a maximum share equal to four permits registered in the Atlantic Ocean fishery.

C. Drift Gill Net Fishery Limitations.

(1) The provisions of this section apply to a commercial tidal fish licensee participating in a striped bass gill net season.

(2) In the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries:

(a) Only attended drift gill nets, as defined in COMAR 08.02.25.01B, with a stretched mesh size of not less than 5 inches or greater than 7 inches are permitted for the taking of striped bass;

(b) The total length of drift gill net aboard a boat may not exceed 3,500 yards and may not be contained in more than ten containers;

(c) The amount of striped bass on board a vessel participating in the Chesapeake Bay common pool fishery may not exceed 2,000 pounds on any day, regardless of the number of licensees with a striped bass permit for gill net on board the vessel; and

(d) A gill net may not be used to harvest fish or possessed aboard a vessel, unless the gill net has:

(i) Each marker, cork, or float marked with the licensee’s commercial tidal fish number; or

(ii) A float line with a marker permanently affixed every 50 feet bearing the licensee’s commercial tidal fish number.

(3) A person may possess and use other legal fishing equipment to catch other fish species while fishing for striped bass with gear as provided in §C(2)(a) of this regulation.

(4) A drift gill net may not be set before 3 a.m. and shall be retrieved and in the boat by 6 p.m.

(5) Except for the last Saturday and Sunday of the month of February, a drift gill net may not be set on Saturday or Sunday.

(6) Flag Marker — Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean.

(a) A drift gill net set in the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean shall be marked, by the licensee, at one end by a square flag measuring at least 144 square inches, supported by a staff sufficient to maintain the flag bottom at least 3 feet above the surface of the water.

(b) The end of a gill net opposite the flag marker shall be marked by either a triangular flag of at least 144 square inches or a floating marker with a volume of at least 460 cubic inches.

(c) Each flag or floating marker shall be marked with the licensee's commercial tidal fish license number.

(7) Flag Marker — Tributaries. A drift gill net set in tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic coastal bays and their tributaries shall be marked by the licensee at each end with a floating marker with a volume of at least 460 cubic inches, each bearing the licensee’s commercial tidal fish license number, or a flag according to §A(8) of this regulation.

(8) Gill Net and Gill Net Reels — Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries. Except during the commercial striped bass gill net season as specified in §A of this regulation or disseminated by public notice in accordance with Regulation .12H of this chapter, an individual may not catch and possess striped bass if a gill net or gill net reel is aboard the vessel.

D. Commercial Hook and Line Fishery Limitations.

(1) Except as provided in §D(5) of this regulation, a total of two crew members may assist a commercial tidal fish licensee registered in the Chesapeake Bay common pool fishery to catch striped bass with hook and line.

(2) Except as provided in §D(5) of this regulation, a maximum of 4 individuals, including crew members, may be present on a vessel which is engaged in commercial hook and line fishing in the Chesapeake Bay common pool fishery.

(3) A person may not catch or attempt to catch striped bass while using commercial hook and line on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

(4) While using commercial hook and line, a person may not catch or attempt to catch striped bass:

(a) In the Chesapeake Bay common pool fishery between 1 hour before sunset and 1 hour before sunrise; or

(b) In the Chesapeake Bay individual transferable quota fishery between sunset and 1 hour before sunrise.

(5) Children 12 years old or younger may be on board a vessel engaged in commercial hook and line fishing in addition to any crew members and licensees as described in §D(1) and (2) of this regulation.

E. Pound Net Fishery Limitations.

(1) A commercial tidal fish licensee may not harvest striped bass from a pound net between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m.

(2) A commercial tidal fish licensee may not harvest striped bass from a pound net on Sunday.

(3) A commercial tidal fish licensee shall comply with all additional requirements in the pound net fishery as described in COMAR 08.02.25.07.

F. General.

(1) A commercial tidal fish licensee may not catch striped bass between 6 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday, except as provided in §§C and E of this regulation.

(2) Atlantic Tolerance.

(a) A commercial tidal fish licensee registered in the Atlantic fishery is not in violation of this chapter if their landings do not exceed their allocation by more than the tolerance described in §F(2)(b) of this regulation.

(b) The tolerance for the Atlantic fishery is the greater of either 50 pounds or 4 percent of the remaining allocation available to the permit holder on the final trip when the allocation is fully harvested.

(3) A commercial tidal fish licensee registered in the Chesapeake Bay individual transferable quota fishery who exceeds their allocation by 50 pounds or less is not in violation of this chapter.

(4) Overage Deductions.

(a) If a commercial tidal fish licensee registered in the Chesapeake Bay individual transferable quota or Atlantic fishery exceeds the licensee’s allocation, that overage may be deducted from the allocation the licensee receives in the next practicable quota year.

(b) If the participants in the Chesapeake Bay common pool fishery exceed the common pool allocation in a quota year, the total overage shall be averaged among the licensees who reported catch in the Chesapeake Bay common pool fishery and deducted from those licensees in the next practicable quota year.

(5) If a commercial tidal fish licensee registered in the Chesapeake Bay individual transferable quota fishery accumulates 10 or more points for offenses specific to the striped bass fishery as described in COMAR 08.02.13.02 and .03, that licensee shall be suspended for one quota year.

(6) A commercial tidal fish licensee may catch striped bass using only the striped bass permit assigned to the licensee.