Oys­ter sea­son gets un­der­way

The Calvert Recorder - - News -

The Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources an­nounced the 2018-2019 pub­lic oys­ter har­vest sea­son opened Oct. 1 and runs through March 31, 2019. Open­ing month is re­served for divers and wa­ter­men us­ing patent and shaft tongs, as well as recre­ational oys­ter­ing.

Dur­ing the sea­son, recre­ational oys­ter har­vest­ing is open to any Mary­land res­i­dent and does not re­quire a li­cense. Each har­vester may take up to one bushel of oys­ters per day as long as they are only for per­sonal use, a press re­lease states. Recre­ational oys­ter har­vest­ing is only per­mit­ted from sun­rise to 3 p.m. week­days and from sun­rise to noon Sat­ur­day and Sun­day.

Com­mer­cial wa­ter­men may work Mon­day through Fri­day from sun­rise to 3 p.m. in Oc­to­ber, and again from Jan­uary through March. In Novem­ber and De­cem­ber oys­ters may be har­vested from sun­rise to sun­set. The daily limit is 15 bushels per per­son, not to ex­ceed 30 bushels per boat for divers and tongers.

The min­i­mum size for all har­vested oys­ters is 3 inches, the re­lease states. The depart­ment rec­om­mends all oys­ter har­vesters check the Com­mer­cial Shell­fish Har­vester Clo­sure Area In­for­ma­tion Por­tal, which en­ables them to ac­cess maps of aqua­cul­ture lease co­or­di­nates and lo­ca­tions.

Oys­ter sea­son for dredg­ing and skip­jacks opens Nov. 1 in des­ig­nated ar­eas of Calvert, Dorch­ester, Som­er­set, St. Mary’s, Tal­bot and Wi­comico coun­ties. For power dredg­ing the limit is 12 bushels per per­son, not to ex­ceed 24 bushels per boat.

Dur­ing the 2017-2018 oys­ter sea­son, 940 li­censed wa­ter­men har­vested 181,329 bushels with a dock­side value of roughly $8.6 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. Fund­ing gen­erat- ed through the state’s li­cense sur­charge and oys­ter tax rev­enue and well as ad­di­tional fund­ing from the Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion helps the depart­ment re­plen­ish oys­ter seed and shell plant­ings an­nu­ally.

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