ANNAPOLIS (January 12, 2010) Several southern Maryland watermen have been charged by the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) for oyster harvesting violations. NRP officials say the charges are a result of increased enforcement efforts aimed at protecting Marylands native Chesapeake Bay oyster stock.
On January 5, NRP stopped and inspected the vessel Stephanie Marie on St. Jeromes Creek in Scotland, Md. and it contained small and unculled oysters. Thomas Edward Dean Jr., 36 of Scotland, Md., was charged with possession of 14 percent small and unculled oysters. He is set to appear April 9 in Maryland District Court in St. Marys County.
On January 6, NRP inspected a truck that was transporting oysters in the area of Drayden, Maryland. As a result of the stop, Steven Gary Adams of Drayden, Md. was charged with possessing 13 percent small and unculled oysters. He is set to appear April 9 in Maryland District Court in St. Marys County.
On January 7, NRP stopped a commercial vessel in St. Marys River near Drayden and inspected the oysters on board the vessel. As a result of the inspection, Robert Lee Copsy, 41 of Mechanicsville, Md. was charged with 14% small and unculled oysters. A trial date of April 9, 2010 has been set Maryland District Court in St. Marys County.
These charges come on the heels of Governor Martin OMalleys announced proposal last month for a new management and restoration plan for oysters and the Maryland oyster industry. The proposed plan will increase Marylands network of oyster sanctuaries, expand the leasing opportunities for oyster aquaculture, and maintain 167,720 acres of natural oyster habitat for a more targeted, sustainable, and scientifically-manages public oyster fishery.
A noteworthy part of this program is the launch of fresh enforcement initiatives and enhancements including the installation of a network of radar and camera units to assist the NRP in monitoring sensitive areas that are prone to poaching.
Source: Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP)