Commercial Fisheries Supplement to Potomac River Fisheries Commission Book of Regulations December 24, 2023

 

This supplement should be inserted inside the back cover of the April 9, 2023 edition of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission Regulations and should be consulted before referring to any law to determine whether there are updates or changes.


ORDERS

CLAM

Order 2003-12: Closed Areas to Soft Shell Clamming

CRAB

Order 2008-09: Commercial Crab Fishery Pot Limits

Order 2022-11: Commercial Crab Fishery Time Limits

Order 2023-19: Limited Entry Crab Pot Fishery

FISH

Order 2010-06: Possession of Snakeheads

Order 2013-01: American Shad By-Catch Provision

Order 2014-05: Seasonal Closure for American Eels

Order 2023-08: Commercial Hook and Line and Gill Net Limited Entry

Order 2023-11: 2023-2024 Gill Net Season and Restrictions & Commercial Striped Bass Catch and Size Limit

Order 2023-12: Hook & Line Random Drawing Registration Fee

Order 2024-01: 2024 Recreational and Charter Fisheries Striped Bass Season

Order 2024-02: 2024 Commercial Striped Bass Catch limits and Restrictions

Order 2024-03: 2024 Recreational & Charter Fishing Season & Size Limits

Order 2024-04: 2023 Commercial Fishing Season

Order 2024-05: Commercial Gear Striped Bass Seasons

Order 2024-06: Commercial Atlantic Menhaden Catch Limits & Restrictions

OYSTER

Order 2012-09: Oyster License Surcharge Fees

Order 2016-08: Oyster Management Reserve Area Closed (Cobb Island Bar)

Order 2018-10: Special Management Area Established (Knotts Hollow Bar)

Order 2018-18: Molluscan Shellfish Compliance with NSSP Model Ordinance Requirements

Order 2019-10: Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Bar Established (Bluff Point Bar)

Order 2020-12: Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Bar (Green Hill Bar/Old Farm Bar)

Order 2022-18: Rotational Natural Oyster Bar - Gum Bar

Order 2023-13: 2023-2024 Jones Shore Bar Oyster Season, Areas, Dates, Days & Time Limits

Order 2023-14: 2023-2024 Oyster Season Dates, Days, and Time Limits

Order 2023-15: Riverwide Daily Oyster Bushel Limits

Order 2023-16: Rotational Natural Oyster Bar - Lower Cedar Point

Order 2023-17: OMR License Planting Surcharge Fee

Order 2023-18: OMR Limited Entry


POLICY

Haul Seine / Crab Pot Areas

Commercial Striped Bass Hook & Line Tag Exchange Program

Guidelines on Emergency Use of Another Vessel for Crabbing

CLAMMING

ORDER #2003-12
CLOSED AREAS TO SOFT SHELL CLAMMING

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the seafood resources and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Sections 8 (a) and 7 (a)(1):


HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS:  the following described areas are closed to all soft shell clam harvest by any means at any time:


Closed Area — Upstream Limit

All waters of the Potomac River lying upstream of a line drawn from the U.S. Coast Guard Neale Sound entrance light number “2” (Potomac River entrance to Neale Sound, MD) and the mouth of Popes Creek, VA.


Closed Area “A”

Eastern boundary - is the jurisdictional line of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is identified by sighting jurisdictional spar buoy “A” over the tip of Point Lookout.

Western boundary - is a line identified by sighting PRFC seed area marker “B” over Smith Creek Approach Light #2.


Closed Area “B”

Eastern boundary - is a line identified by sighting St. Mary’s River Junction Lighted Buoy over PRFC marker “PRIB”.

Western boundary - is a line extending due north from St. Mary’s River Junction lighted Buoy.

Northern boundary - is a jurisdictional line of the PRFC and Maryland DNR at the mouth of St. Mary’s River, which is identified by sighting spar buoy M2C over PRFC marker “PRM2A”.


Closed Area “C”

Eastern boundary - is a line extending due south of Deep Point, St. George’s Island.

Western boundary - is a line identified by sighting St. George’s Creek West Channel Light #1 over the center span of the St. George’s Island Bridge.


Closed Area “D”

Eastern boundary - is a line extending due south of the mouth of Flood Creek. 

Western Boundary - is identified by sighting St. Clement’s Island Lighted Beacon #3 over St. Patrick Creek Approach Light #2.

Northern boundary - is the jurisdictional line of the PRFC and Maryland DNR at the mouth of Breton Bay as marked with PRFC markers “PRM3A, 3B and 3C: and spar buoys “3D” and “3E.”


Closed Area “E”

Eastern boundary - is a line identified by sighting the U.S. Coast Guard Potomac River channel buoy number “N-14” over a fixed marker on the southwest tip of St. Clement’s Island, Md., and the jurisdictional line of the PRFC and Maryland DNR across Dukeharts Channel as marked with PRFC markers “PRM4B and 4C.”

Western boundary - is a line identified by sighting St. Catherine Sound South Channel Light #1L over PRFC marker “PRM5A.”


Closed Area “F”

Western boundary - is a line identified by sighting spar buoy “V6D”, located on the Maryland-Virginia line at Nomini Bay, over the southern tip of Hollis Island.

Eastern boundary - is a line identified by sighting PRFC marker “PRV4B” over the north end of the tavern at Coles Point.


Closed Area “G”

Western boundary - is a line perpendicular to the shore five hundred (500) yards west of the entrance jetty to Bonums Creek.

Eastern boundary - is a line perpendicular to the shore fifteen hundred (1500) yards east of the entrance jetty to Bonums Creek.


Closed Area “H”

Western boundary - is a line extending due east from Sandy Point Neck, which is identified by sighting the easternmost white boat house over a red gambrel roofed barn.

Eastern boundary - is a line extending Northeasterly form the western entrance to Cod Creek to U.S. Coast Guard buoy “#N-48-B.”


Closed Area “I”

Western boundary - is a line perpendicular to the shore from the entrance to Hack Creek to U.S. Coast Guard buoy “#N-45B.”

Eastern boundary - is a line perpendicular to the shore approximately four thousand (4000) yards below the western boundary opposite a white house.


Closed Area “J”

Eastern boundary - is a line identified by sighting the U.S. Coast Guard Potomac/Wicomico River Junction buoy (red/black num buoy) over the U.S. Coast Guard Wicomico River red daybeacon “#2W” (Mouth of the River Bar).

Western boundary - is a line identified by sighting the tip of Cobb Point (Cobb Island) over the U.S. Coast Guard Wicomico River flashing green light “#3W” (Shipping Point).

Northern boundary - is the jurisdictional line of the PRFC and Maryland DNR at the Mouth of the Wicomico River as marked with PRFC marker “PRM6A,” Cobb Bar Light, and “PRM6B.”


Closed Area “K”

All of the waters of Piney Point Hollow beginning at a point, defined by Lat. 38° 08.148’ N and Long. 76° 30.217’ W. and marked with a buoy;

Thence, running NW’trly approximately 306° true to a point, defined by Lat. 38° 08.343’ N. and Long. 76° 30.557’ W. and marked with a buoy;

Thence, running NE’trly approximately 41° true to a point at or near the mean low water line of the shore, defined by Lat. 38° 08.428’ N. and Long. 76° 30.463’ W.; 

Thence, running SE’trly approximately 110° true to a point at or near the mean low water line of the shore, defined by Lat. 38° 08.340’ N. and Long. 76° 30.153’ W.;

Thence, running SW’trly approximately 194° true to the point of beginning.


Conditionally Closed Area - The area south and/or east of the Upstream Limit and north and/or west of the Charles - St. Mary’s County line is closed for clamming April 1 through October 31 each year.


Notice:  ALL Closed areas extend from the mean low water line off shore to the Channel, unless otherwise noted.


BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED:  that this Order #2003-12 shall become effective October 6, 2003 and will remain in effect until further notice.


O R D E R #2008-07
COMMERCIAL CRAB FISHERY TIME LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the blue crab population, having considered the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the crab resources, and provisions of Regulation I, Section 7(a) and Regulation VII, Section 5(b). 


HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS:  it shall be unlawful for any person to take or catch crabs between sunset and one (1) hour before sunrise, or to land or unload crabs earlier than sunrise or later than sunset.



AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED:  this Order #2008-07 shall become effective July 1, 2008 and remain in effect until such time as the Commission has taken further action.

O R D E R #2008-09
COMMERCIAL CRAB FISHERY POT LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the crab population, having considered the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the crab resources, and provisions of Regulation I, Section 7(a) and Regulation I, Section 2(d)(3). 


HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS:  those persons holding a 285, 380, or 475 pot license are limited to that number from the effective date of this Order and each year thereafter. 



AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED:  this Order #2008-09 shall become effective July 1, 2008 and remain in effect until such time as the Commission has taken further action.

ORDER #2022-11
(replaces 2008-07)
Commercial Crab Fishery Time Limits

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the blue crab population, having considered the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the crab resources, and provisions of Regulation I, Section 7(a) and Regulation VII, Section 5(b).

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: it shall be unlawful for any person to take or catch crabs between sunset and two (2) hours before sunrise during the months of June, July and August, or to land or unload crabs earlier than sunrise or later than sunset.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2022-11 shall become effective August 7, 2022 and remain in effect until such time as the Commission has taken further action.

ORDER #2010–06
POSSESSION OF SNAKEHEADS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having considered the
protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the indigenous seafood
resources, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Section 7(a) (1) and
Section 8 (a), HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS:

a) It shall be unlawful to release, to return, or otherwise discard any living
snakehead or member of the Channidae family to the Potomac River.

b) It shall be lawful to possess a live snakehead fish (of the family Channidae)
only so long as necessary to kill the fish as specified in paragraph (c).

c) A person may possess a dead snakehead fish only with (i) the head removed,
or (ii) the fish is gutted, or (iii) both gill arches of the fish removed and the
person notifies, as soon as practicable, one of the following agencies:

i) Maryland Department of Natural Resources 410-260-8287,
ii) Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries 800-770-4951,
iii) DC Fisheries and Wildlife Division 202-535-2260, or
iv) US Fish and Wildlife Service 703-358-1932.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order 2010-06
shall become effective June 20, 2010 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2013-01
(replaces #2012-05)
AMERICAN SHAD BY-CATCH PROVISION

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having considered the
protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the American shad resources;
and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Section 7(a) (2); and Reg. III, Sec.
11(c)(2); HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS:

a) That the tolerance specified in Regulation III, Section 11 (c) (2) for gill nets
and pound nets shall be 2% by volume of the total catch in possession, not
to exceed two (2) standard bushels per day per licensee, of American or
hickory shad shall be allowed.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order 2013-01
shall become effective January 1, 2013, and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2014-05
SEASONAL CLOSURE FOR AMERICAN EELS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it
necessary to comply with certain provisions of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission (ASMFC) Addendum III to the Fishery Management Plan for
American Eel and the provisions of Regulation I, Section 7(a)(2):

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: it shall be unlawful for any person to
take, catch and keep any American eels from fyke net(s) and/or pound net(s) in the
Potomac River during the closed season, from September 1 through December 31.

AND, IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2014-05
shall become effective January 1, 2014, and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2023-02 "Revised"
(replaces #2023-02)
2023 COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS CATCH LIMITS AND RESTRICTIONS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the striped bass (rockfish) population to impose restrictions on fishing for striped bass, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation III, Sections 10 and 13(b); HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the catch limits for striped bass (rockfish) provided for in Regulation III, Section 10, Sub-sections (a) and (b) shall be 572,861 pounds and divided by gear type as follows:

1) Commercial Hook and Line: 81,959 pounds (12,530 ID tags) total for all licensees, plus any available gill net allocation as may be allowed under Regulation III, Sec. 13(d).
2) Pound Net: 127,748 pounds (23,000 ID tags) total for all licensees. Each pound net licensee must have at least one net set and fishing before receiving his share of the total, and such share will be proportional to the total number of pound net licenses issued and the number held by the licensee. Two or more licensees may, and are encouraged to jointly fish lawfully licensed, verified, and set nets belonging to one or more of the individuals.
3) Miscellaneous Commercial Gear: 13,749 pounds (2,300 ID tags) total for all licensees. This gear type includes and is limited to fyke net and haul seine licenses only. The yearly total number of ID tags shall be divided 60% haul seine, 40% fyke net and further divided equally among fishermen who have held the specific license type and who have fished such gear and reported catch of other species during each of the last 3 license years.

i.Each haul seine licensee must have his/her haul seine measured and sealed by PRFC or law enforcement prior to qualifying to receive striped bass tags. Only one (1) seal per net will be allowed.
ii. Each fyke net licensee must have at least one net set and fishing before receiving his share of the total.
iii. Unlawful to harvest striped bass from any haul seine or fyke net that has not been certified/inspected.

4) Gill Net: Published Separately

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that striped bass identification tags may be used only on fish harvested with the gear type for which the striped bass identification tags were issued.

AND, IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2023-02 shall become effective January 1, 2023 shall supersede and repeal Order #2022-02 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2022-17
(replaces #2021-13)
2022-2023 GILL NET SEASON AND RESTRICTIONS & COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS CATCH AND SIZE LIMIT

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the striped bass (rockfish) population, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8 and Regulation III, Sections 9(a), (b) and 10(a): HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the gill net fishery shall be allowed under the following conditions and limitations:

  1. Season -The gill net season shall be from November 7, 2022 through March 25, 2023.
  2. Permitted Nets - Each licensee, shall be permitted to set and fish a single properly identified net, in the number of his licensed locations (stands) as follows
    1. November 7th through February 28th – all stands, and;
    2. from March 1st through March 15th – 4 stands, and;
    3. March 16th through March 25th – 3 stands.
  3. Other Conditions – Once renewed no change of the ownership of any gill net licenses will be allowed during the remainder of the open gill net season. Two or more licensees may, and are encouraged to jointly fish lawfully licensed and set nets belonging to one or more of the individuals.
  4. Quota – The gill net striped bass quota shall be 349,405 pounds total for all licensees, less any taken with a hook and line as may be allowed under Regulation III, Sec. 13(d). Each individual's striped bass quota will be proportional to the number of gill net licenses held by that individual and will be represented by a number of striped bass identification tags issued to that individual.
  5. Striped Bass Size Limit
  • November 7, 2022 through February 14, 2023 18” Min.
  • February 15, 2023 through March 25, 2023 18” Min. / 36” Max.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2022-17
shall become effective November 1, 2022, shall supersede and repeal Order 202113 and remain in effect for the 2022-2023 season or until such time the Commission has taken further action.

ORDER #2023-08
(replaces #2018-19)
COMMERCIAL HOOK AND LINE AND GILL NET LIMITED ENTRY

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the striped bass (rockfish) population to impose restrictions on fishing for striped bass and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Sections 2(i)(1) and 2(l)(2):

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the maximum number of commercial hook and line licenses shall be one hundred and eighty-two (182), and the maximum number of gill net stands shall be seven hundred and thirty-three (733).

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: no more than five (5) Commercial Hook & Lines Licenses may be issued to or renewed by any natural person in any given year.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: the provisions of Regulation III, Sec. 13(d) entitled “Individual Striped Bass Allocation Transfer from Gill Net to Commercial Hook and Line” shall be allowed provided the sum total of gill nets and commercial hook and line licenses do not exceed nine hundred and fifteen (915).

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2023-08 will become effective, March 19, 2023, shall supersede and repeal Order #2018-19, and remain in effect until further notice

ORDER #2023-11
(replaces #2022-17)
2023-2024 GILL NET SEASON AND RESTRICTIONS & COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS CATCH AND SIZE LIMIT

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the striped bass (rockfish) population, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8 and Regulation III, Sections 9(a), (b) and 10(a): HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the gill net fishery shall be allowed under the following conditions and limitations:

a) Season - The gill net season shall be from November 6, 2023 through March 25, 2024.

b) Permitted Nets - Each licensee, shall be permitted to set and fish a single properly identified net, in the number of his licensed locations (stands) as follows

i) November 6th through February 28th – all stands, and;
ii) from March 1st through March 15th – 4 stands, and;
iii) March 16th through March 25th – 3 stands.

c) Other Conditions – Once renewed no change of the ownership of any gill net licenses will be allowed during the remainder of the open gill net season. Two or more licensees may, and are encouraged to jointly fish lawfully licensed and set nets belonging to one or more of the individuals.

d) Quota – The gill net striped bass quota shall be 349,405 pounds total for all licensees, less any taken with a hook and line as may be allowed under Regulation III, Sec. 13(d). Each individual's striped bass quota will be proportional to the number of gill net licenses held by that individual and will be represented by a number of striped bass identification tags issued to that individual.

e) Striped Bass Size Limit

November 6, 2023 through February 14, 2024 18” Min.
February 15, 2024 through March 25, 2024 18” Min. / 36” Max.


AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2023-11 shall become effective November 1, 2023, shall supersede and repeal Order 2022-17 and remain in effect for the 2023-2024 season or until such time the Commission has taken further action.

ORDER #2023-12
HOOK & LINE RANDOM DRAWING REGISTRATION FEE

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having identified one (1) Hook and Line License that was not renewed and became available for a random drawing, will conduct a random drawing for one Hook & Line License during the next commercial license renewal period, starting on November 1, 2023, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Section 1(d)(1),

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS:

  1. The non-refundable registration fee for the 2023/2024 Hook & Line random drawing shall be set at $100;
  2. Persons desiring to obtain a limited entry fishing license, by random drawing, shall register with the Commission between November 1st and the last business day of January that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday;
  3. The registration shall include the person’s name and address and the nonrefundable fee of $100;
  4. No person may register more than once per year per fishery and the registration shall be for this year’s random drawing only;
  5. Notice of being selected will be mailed to the person selected at the address shown on the registration form;

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that this Order #2023-12 shall become effective November 1, 2023 and remain in effect until January 31, 2024.

ORDER #2024-01
2024 RECREATIONAL AND CHARTER FISHERIES STRIPED BASS SEASON

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the Striped Bass (rockfish) population to impose restrictions on fishing for Striped Bass, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Sections 7(a) and 8(a), Regulation III, Sections 9, 10 and 11;

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the following restrictions shall apply to the recreational and charter striped bass fishery:

When fishing for striped bass during the closed season (January 1 thru April 30, 2024), non-offset (inline) Circle Hooks* are required to be used when using cut or whole natural bait.

Spring Season:

Open Dates: May 1 through May 15, 2024
Open Area: Downstream of Harry W. Nice Bridge (Rt. 301)
Creel Limit: One (1) fish per person per day (including charter capt.)
Minimum Size Limit: Thirty-five (35) inches TL
No High-Grading: Unlawful to return fish to the water after it is placed into a cooler or
storage area.
Bait Restrictions:

No live eel. Non-offset (inline) Circle Hooks* are required to be
used when fishing for striped bass using cut or whole natural bait.

No more than two (2) hooks or sets of hooks for each rod or line may
be used. Artificial lures or plugs with multiple hooks are considered
one set of hooks.

Summer/Fall Season:

Open Dates: May 16 thru July 6, 2024 and Aug. 21 thru Dec. 31, 2024
Closed Dates: July 7 thru August 20, 2024 (No Direct Targeting)
Open Area: Downstream of Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-95)
Creel Limit: Two (2) fish per person per day
Size Limit: Minimum Twenty (20) inches TL and Maximum Thirty-one (31)
inches TL
Bait Restrictions: Non-offset (inline) Circle Hooks* are required to be used when
fishing for striped bass using cut or whole natural bait.
No more than
two (2) hooks or sets of hooks for each rod or line may be used. Artificial
lures or plugs with multiple hooks are considered one set of hooks.

* A Circle Hook is defined as a non-offset or inline hook where the point is pointed perpendicularly back towards the shank. The term “non-offset” or “inline” means the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank (e.g. when the hook is laying on a flat surface, the entire hook and barb also lay flat).

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2024-01 shall become effective January 1, 2024 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2024-02
(replaces #2023-02 "Revised")
2024 COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS CATCH LIMITS AND RESTRICTIONS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the striped bass (rockfish) population to impose restrictions on fishing for striped bass, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation III, Sections 10 and 13(b); HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the catch limits for striped bass (rockfish) provided for in Regulation III, Section 10, Sub-sections (a) and (b) shall be 572,861 pounds and divided by gear type as follows:

1) Commercial Hook and Line: 81,959 pounds (16,725 ID tags) total for all licensees, plus any available gill net allocation as may be allowed under Regulation III, Sec. 13(d).

2) Pound Net: 127,748 pounds (26,610 ID tags) total for all licensees. Each pound net licensee must have at least one net set and fishing before receiving his share of the total, and such share will be proportional to the total number of pound net licenses issued and the number held by the licensee. Two or more licensees may, and are encouraged to jointly fish lawfully licensed, verified, and set nets belonging to one or more of the individuals.

3) Miscellaneous Commercial Gear: 13,749 pounds (2,540 ID tags) total for all licensees. This gear type includes and is limited to fyke net and haul seine licenses only. The yearly total number of ID tags shall be divided 60% haul seine, 40% fyke net and further divided equally among fishermen who have held the specific license type and who have fished such gear and reported catch of other species during each of the last 3 license years.

  1. Each haul seine licensee must have his/her haul seine measured and sealed by PRFC or law enforcement prior to qualifying to receive striped bass tags. Only one (1) seal per net will be allowed.
  2. Each fyke net licensee must have at least one net set and fishing before receiving his share of the total.
  3. Unlawful to harvest striped bass from any haul seine or fyke net that has not been certified/inspected.

4) Gill Net: Published Separately

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that striped bass identification tags may be used only on fish harvested with the gear type for which the striped bass identification tags were issued.

ORDER #2024-03
(replaces #2023-03)
2024 RECREATIONAL and CHARTER FISHING SEASON, SIZE AND CATCH LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary to comply with certain provisions of the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (ACFCMA) and the provisions of Regulation III, Sections 9, 10 and 11; HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: recreational and charter seasons, size limits, and catch limits provided for in Regulation III, Section 9, 10, and 11 shall be for the species named therein as follows:

Species Season Size Limit Catch Limit
American Eel Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 9" min. 25 per person
Atlantic Croaker Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 9" min. 25 per person
Black Bass (Large or Small Mouth) Mar. 1 – June 15 15" min. 5 per person
  All other times 12" min. 5 per person
Black Drum Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 16" min. 1 per person
Black Sea Bass (1) TBA TBA TBA
      Tail filament is not incl. in total length of the fish
Bluefish Recreational TBA TBA TBA
     Charter “For Hire” TBA TBA TBA
Catfish: Bullhead Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 6" min. No limit
Catfish: Blue Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit No limit
Cobia (3) TBA TBA TBA
Crappie Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit 10 per person
Pike or Chain Pickerel Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. No limit
Red Drum Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 18" min. – 25" max. 5 per person
River Herring ................................................ C L O S E D .................................
Shad (American or Hickory) ................................................ C L O S E D .................................
Snakehead (2) Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit No limit
Spanish Mackerel Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. 15 per person
Spot Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit 50 per person
Spotted Sea Trout Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. 10 per person
Striped Bass .............................. P U B L I S H E D S E P A R A T E L Y .....
Sturgeon (Atlantic or Shortnose) ................................................ C L O S E D .................................
Summer Flounder TBA TBA TBA
Tautog Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. No limit
Weakfish Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 12" min. 1 per person
Yellow Perch Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 9" min. 10 per person

(1) – Black Sea Bass – The tail filament is not to be included in the total length of the fish.

(2) – Snakehead – It shall be unlawful to possess a live snakehead fish (of the family Channidae) only so long as necessary to kill the fish as specified in Order 2010-06.

(3) – Cobia – Only one fish per vessel per day may be greater than 50 inches in total length. Gaffing is now allowed to land a cobia while fishing recreationally.

AND, IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2024-03 shall become effective January 1, 2024 shall supersede and repeal Order #2022-03 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2024-04
(replaces #2023-04)
2024 COMMERCIAL FISHING SEASON, SIZE AND CATCH LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary to comply with certain provisions of the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (ACFCMA) and the provisions of Regulation III, Sections 9, 10 and 11; HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that commercial seasons, size limits, and catch limits provided for in Regulation III, Section 9, 10, and 11 shall be for the species named therein as follows:

Species Season Size Limit Catch Limit
American Eel Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 9" min. No limit
Atlantic Croaker Jan. 1 - Sept. 30 No limit No limit
Black Bass (Large or Small Mouth) .............................................. C L O S E D ...................................
Black Drum Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 16" min. 1 per person
Black Sea Bass *(1) TBA TBA TBA
Bluefish * TBA TBA TBA
Catfish: Bullhead Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit No limit
Catfish: Channel Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit No limit
Catfish: White Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit No limit
Catfish: Blue Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit No limit
Cobia * TBA TBA TBA
Pike or Chain Pickerel Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. No limit
Red Drum Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 18" min. – 25" max. 5 fish
River Herring ................................................ C L O S E D .................................
Shad (American or Hickory) ................................................ C L O S E D (See Order #2013-01 for By-Catch Provisions) .
Snakehead (2) Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit (2) No limit
Spanish Mackerel* Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. No limit
Spot Jan. 1 - Oct. 28 No limit No limit
Spotted Sea Trout Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. No limit
Striped Bass .............................. P U B L I S H E D S E P A R A T E L Y .....
Sturgeon (Atlantic or Shortnose) ................................................ C L O S E D .................................
Summer Flounder ** TBA TBA TBA
Tautog Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 14" min. No limit
Weakfish *** July 28 - Dec.31 16" min. No limit
Yellow Perch Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 9" min. No limit

(1) – Black Sea Bass – The tail filament is not to be included in the total length of the fish.

(2) – Snakehead – It shall be unlawful to possess a live snakehead fish, (of the family Channidae) only so long as necessary to kill the fish as specified in Order 2010-06.

*BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: the commercial fisheries for black sea bass, bluefish, cobia, and/or Spanish mackerel, have daily catch limits (landing limits) imposed subject to ASMFC notification and may be closed immediately by Order of the Commission upon notification by both Maryland and Virginia that the ASMFC/MAFMC established commercial harvest quota for such species has been landed and the state waters are closed for the harvest of such species.

**BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that when the PRFC summer flounder quota, based on the ASMFC quota as established by the MD/VA/PRFC In State Commercial Summer Flounder Landings Memorandum of Understanding, is reached the fishery shall be closed. Providing that daily landing limits may be imposed when 80% of the quota is projected to be landed.

***BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that subject to the provisions of the ASMFC Weakfish Management Plan pound netters are permitted to possess no more than 50 lbs. (1 bushel) of legal-size weakfish from February 15th through July 27th. The allowance must be less than or equal to the poundage of other lawfully harvested species.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2024-04 shall become effective, January 1, 2024 shall supersede and repeal Order #2023-04 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2024-05
(replaces #2023-05)
COMMERCIAL GEAR STRIPED BASS SEASONS & SIZE LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the striped bass (rockfish) population to impose restrictions on fishing for striped bass, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation III, Sections 9(a) and 11(a); HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the Potomac River striped bass (rockfish) seasons and size limits shall be for each gear type or segment listed below as follows:

Gear Season Size Limit
1) Commercial Hook and Line: January 1 through February 14
February 15 through March 25
June 1 through December 31
18” min. / no max.
18” min. / 36” max.
18” min. / no max.
2) Pound Net: February 15 through March 25
June 1 through December 15
18” min. / 36” max.
18” min. / no max.
3) Miscellaneous Commercial Gear: (Includes Haul Seine and Fyke Net Only) February 15 through March 25
June 1 through December 15
18” min. / 36” max.
18” min. / no max.
4) Gill Net: SEE THE CURRENT GILL NET SEASON AND RESTRICTIONS ORDER

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: except for the gear types or segments listed herein and within the specified dates, it shall be unlawful to take, catch, and remove any striped bass from the Potomac River during any other times of the year or by any other means.


AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2024-05 shall become effective January 1, 2024 shall supersede and repeal Order #2023-05 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2024-06
(replaces #2023-06)
COMMERCIAL ATLANTIC MENHADEN CATCH LIMITS AND RESTRICTIONS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary to comply with certain provisions of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Amendments 2 and 3, and Addendum I to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (IFMP) for Atlantic Menhaden and the provisions of Regulation I, Section 7(a)(2):

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the catch limit for Atlantic menhaden provided for in Regulation III, Section 10(a) shall be 5,541,196 pounds. A weekly menhaden harvest call-in program will be imposed when 70 percent of the catch limit is projected to be landed. When the PRFC Atlantic menhaden catch limit is reached, all commercial fisheries shall be closed to all gear types.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: When the commercial fisheries for Atlantic menhaden are closed, subject to the provisions of the ASMFC Amendment 2 and Addendum I to the IFMP for Atlantic Menhaden, PRFC commercial fishermen using stationary multi-species gear are permitted to possess and/or land no more than 6,000 pounds of Atlantic menhaden for a single vessel per day, which must be harvested by the licensee from his licensed net(s). In this case, stationary multi-species gears are defined as pound nets, anchored/staked gill nets, and fyke nets. Exception – a single vessel may land/possess no more than 12,000 pounds of Atlantic menhaden per day when there are two PRFC pound net licensees physically on board who each have at least one of their pound nets set and fishing and prior to the fishery being closed and the by-catch provisions being implemented, no more than 6,000 pounds of Atlantic menhaden are harvested from either of the licensees’ nets.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2024-06 shall become effective January 1, 2024 shall supersede and repeal Order #2023-06 and remain in effect until December 31, 2024.

ORDER #2012-09
(replaces #2011-09)
OYSTER LICENSE SURCHARGE FEES

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having considered the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resource and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Sections 2(f) and 7(a).

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: establishment of a $300.00 per person oyster license surcharge fee.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that oyster license surcharge fees collected will be used to purchase natural seed for planting.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2012-09 shall become effective September 30, 2012 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2016-08
OYSTER MANAGEMENT RESERVE AREA CLOSED

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having given consideration to the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resource and having found it desirable to expand oyster seed planting for the Oyster Management Reserve Program to Cobb Island Bar, which is designated as an Oyster Management Reserve Area and subject to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8(a), Regulation VIII, Section 6(a) and 6(b): HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that Cobb Island Bar (360 acres) is closed to oyster harvest for any person to take, catch or attempt to take or catch oysters by any means at any time.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or attempt to take or catch oysters by any means at any time on Cobb Island Bar unless the person is an eligible participant, crew, or helper in the Oyster Management Reserve Program and this area has been announced as being open and ready for harvest by the Commission.

AND, IT IS FURTHERED DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2016-08 shall become effective September 1, 2016 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2018-10
SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA ESTABLISHED

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having given consideration to the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resource and having found it desirable to establish a Special Management Area for the purpose of rehabilitating the oyster fishery in the middle-river area of the Potomac River, and subject to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8(a), HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that Knotts Hollow Bar (100 acres) is designated as a Special Management Area. Knotts Hollow Bar is enclosed within the following described boundaries: “Beginning at a point Beginning at a point at or near Lat. 38° 13.430' N., Long. 76° 41.012' W., then running 355° (True) to a point at or near Lat. 38° 13.642' N., Long. 76° 41.035' W., then running 79° (True) to a point at or near Lat. 38° 13.795' N., Long. 76° 40.043' W., then running 122° (True) to a point at or near Lat. 38° 13.688' N., Long. 76° 39.828' W., then running 181° (True) to a point at or near Lat. 38° 13.455' N., Long. 76° 39.832' W., then running 268° (True) to the point of beginning.”

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or attempt to take or catch oysters by any means at any time on Knotts Hollow Bar, the boundaries as described above, unless the Commission so chooses to open the area (Reg. I, Sec. 8(a)).

AND, IT IS FURTHERED DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2018-10 shall become effective March 12, 2018 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2018-18
(replaces 2014-09)
MOLLUSCAN SHELLFISH COMPLIANCE WITH NSSP MODEL ORDINANCE REQUIREMENTS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, for the purpose of protecting the health of the public that consumes shellfish harvested from the Potomac River, finds it necessary to comply with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Guide for the Control of Molluscan Shellfish, (by the most current version):

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: By reference to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 10.15.07.01, and in addition

A shellfish harvester shall:

(1) Harvest in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance that is incorporated by reference in COMAR 10.15.07.01A and
(2) From May 1 through September 30:

a) Protect harvested oysters from direct sun by providing shade over the area where the harvested oysters are stored;
b) Maintain air flow to the area where the harvested oysters are stored;
c) Document the harvest start time, which is the time the first oysters are removed from the water, on a harvest trip record or harvest tag; and
d) Provide the harvest time record as set forth in §A(1)(d) of this regulation to a dealer on delivery.

(3) Shellfish harvesters shall conform to the curfew restrictions of the State where their harvested shellfish are landed. The curfew restrictions are as follows:

a) From May 1 through May 31, a shellfish harvester shall deliver harvested oysters to a dealer by

(i) Sunset on the day of harvest in Maryland
(ii) 11:00 a.m. on the day of harvest in Virginia

b) From June 1 through June 30, a shellfish harvester shall deliver harvested oysters to a dealer by

(i) 11:30 a.m. on the day of harvest in Maryland
(ii) 10:00 a.m. on the day of harvest in Virginia

c) From July 1 through July 31, a shellfish harvester shall deliver harvested oysters to a dealer by:

(i) 10:30 a.m. on the day of harvest in Maryland
(ii) 10:00 a.m. on the day of harvest in Virginia

d) From August 1 through August 31, a shellfish harvester shall deliver harvested oysters to a dealer by:

(i) 10:30 a.m. on the day of harvest in Maryland
(ii) 10:00 a.m. on the day of harvest in Virginia

e) From September 1 through September 30, a shellfish harvester shall deliver harvested oysters to a dealer by:

(i) 12:30 p.m. on the day of harvest in Maryland
(ii) 12:00 p.m. on the day of harvest in Virginia

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2018-18 shall become effective October 22, 2018 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2019-10
(replaces 2015-10)
ROTATIONAL NATURAL OYSTER HARVEST BAR ESTABLISHED – BLUFF POINT BAR

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having given consideration to the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resource and having found it desirable to establish a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program for the purpose of rehabilitating the oyster fishery in the middleriver area of the Potomac River, and subject to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8(a),

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that Bluff Point Bar (50 acres) is designated as a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program area. Bluff Point Bar is enclosed within the following described boundaries: “Beginning at a point off Bluff Point, Virginia (38˚16.49 North Latitude, 76˚58.32 West Longitude); thence southwesterly to a point (38˚16.35 North Latitude, 76˚58.52 West Longitude); thence northwesterly to a point (38˚16.53 North Latitude, 76˚58.93 West Longitude); thence northeasterly to a point (38˚16.64 North Latitude, 76˚58.82 West Longitude); thence southeasterly to the point of beginning.”

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or attempt to take or catch oysters by any means at any time on Bluff Point Bar, the boundaries as described above, for four years as the rotational program’s design is followed.

AND, IT IS FURTHERED DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2019-10 shall become effective July 1, 2019 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2023-17
(replaces Order #2019-15)
OMR LICENSE PLANTING SURCHARGE FEE

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having developed the Revitalization Oyster Plan for the Potomac River and implemented the Oyster Management Reserve Program (OMR), has determined that the OMR Program needs to have more flexibility with their financial resources as the program is developing, to meet their annual goal of planting spat on shell. Responding to the recommendation of the participants of the OMR Program, the Commission shall establish an OMR License Planting Surcharge Fee pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Sections 7(a) and Regulation VIII, Section 4(e).

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: establishment of a $0.00 per person per year OMR License Planting Surcharge Fee. Any person desiring to purchase any OMR License (excluding helper) shall first pay the OMR License Planting Surcharge Fee.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that OMR License Planting Surcharge Fees collected will be used to plant spat on shell in the OMR Program.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2023-17 shall become effective September 24, 2023 shall supersede and repeal Order #2019- 15 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2023-18
OMR LIMITED ENTRY

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having developed the Revitalization Oyster Plan for the Potomac River and implemented the Oyster Management Reserve Program (OMR), has determined that the OMR Program, in its final year, needs to limit the number of licenses allowable. Responding to the recommendation of the participants of the OMR Program, the Commission shall establish a maximum number of OMR participant licenses allowable in the Potomac River for any license year pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Sections 7(a) and Regulation VIII, Section 8.

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: the maximum number of OMR participant licenses allowable in the Potomac River for any license year is 16.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that any OMR participant licenses not renewed on or before March 31st of each year shall not be made available for a public random drawing as provided for in Regulation I, Section 1(d).

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2023-18 shall become effective September 24, 2023 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2023-19 "Revised"
(replaces #2023-19)
LIMITED ENTRY CRAB POT FISHERY

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having acted to declare
the crab pot fishery a limited entry fishery and pursuant to its authority under
Regulation I, Section 2 (d)(1), HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that the
maximum number of crab pot licenses allowable in the Potomac River for any
license year shall not exceed the number of licenses issued the previous license
year.


BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that persons eligible for the
above established limited entry licenses shall be the Potomac River crab pot
licensees from the previous year, including those persons eligible under Regulation
I, Section 1(e) (Death of Licensee or Surrender of License).

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that any crab pot license not
renewed on or before January 31st of each year shall only be renewable under the
provisions of Regulation I, Section 1(c)(iii).

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that un-renewed crab pot
licenses shall not be made available for a public random drawing as provided for in
Regulation I, Section 1(d), unless and until the number of licenses issued is less
than 401.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: that this Order #2023-
19 “Revised” shall become effective December 24, 2023, supersedes and repeals
Order #2023-19, and will remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2020-12
(replaces Order #2016-09)
ROTATIONAL NATURAL OYSTER HARVEST BAR - GREEN HILL/OLD FARM BAR

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having given consideration to the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resource and having found it desirable to establish a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program for the purpose of rehabilitating the oyster fishery in the middleriver area of the Potomac River, and subject to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8(a): HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that Green Hill Bar/Old Farm Bar (149 acres) is designated as a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program area.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or attempt to take or catch oysters by any means at any time on Green Hill Bar/Old Farm Bar until October 1, 2020.

AND, IT IS FURTHERED DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2020-12 shall become effective September 28, 2020 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2023-13
(Replaces Order #2022-13)
2023-2024 JONES SHORE BAR OYSTER SEASON, AREAS, DATES, DAYS, AND TIME LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having considered the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resources on the Jones Shore Bar and pursuant to its authority under Regulation II, Section 2(b) and Regulation I, Section 7(a)

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: The 2023-2024 oyster season, areas, dates, days open and time limits shall be as follows:

Gear Season Days Hours
Hand Tonging Oct. 2, 2023 thru Mar. 31, 2024 Monday thur Friday Sunrise to 3:00 p.m.

Area open to Hand Tonging - That portion of the Potomac River commonly known as Jones Shore and enclosed within the following described boundaries: Beginning at a point on shore above Hall Pond, MD (38˚03.490’ N, 76˚21.566’ W); thence southwesterly to a point (38˚03.134’ N, 76˚22.044’ W), which is the intersection of an established fish trap area as delineated on NOAA chart #122233; thence northwesterly along the fish trap area line to a point (38˚03.738’ N, 76˚23.228’ W); thence northwesterly along the fish trap area line to a point (38˚03.892’ N, 76˚23.530’ W); thence northwesterly along the fish trap area line to a point (38˚04.323’ N, 76˚24.132’ W); thence northwesterly along the fish trap area line to a point (38˚04.816’ N, 76˚25.192’ W); thence northeasterly to a point (38˚05.599’ N, 76˚24.143’ W); thence easterly to a point (38˚05.594’ N, 76˚23.374’ W) along the shoreline south of Calvert Bay, MD; thence southeasterly to Gray Point, MD at the mouth of Rowley Bay (38˚05.536’ N, 76˚23.245’ W); thence southeasterly along the shore following the jurisdictional boundary of the Commission to the point of beginning.

Gear Season Days Hours
Hand Scraping

Nov. 1, 2023 thru Feb. 28, 2024
Mar. 1 thru Mar. 31, 2024

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Monday thru Friday

Sunrise to 3:00 p.m.
Sunrise to 3:00 p.m.

Area open to Hand Scraping - That portion of the Potomac River commonly known as Jones Shore (Area 2) and enclosed within the following described boundaries: Beginning at a point on shore above Hall Pond, MD (38˚03.490’ N, 76˚21.566’ W); thence southwesterly to a point (38˚03.134’ N, 76˚22.044’ W), which is the intersection of an established fish trap area as delineated on NOAA chart #122233; thence northwesterly along the fish trap area line to a point (38˚03.738’ N, 76˚23.228’ W); thence northeasterly to a point (38˚04.669’ N, 76˚22.237’ W) at the south side of the pier at Camp Brown St. Mary’s County, MD; thence southwesterly along the shore following the jurisdictional boundary of the Commission to the point of beginning. (See map below)

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: Possession of a hand scrape shall be permitted during the aforesaid times and from one hour before and for two hours after such times. The use or possession of any hand scrape at any other time is unlawful.

AND, IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2023- 13 shall become effective October 1, 2023 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2023-14
(replaces Order #2022-14)
2023-2024 OYSTER SEASON DATES, DAYS, AND TIME LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having considered the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resources and pursuant to its authority under Regulation II, Section 2(b) and Regulation I, Section 7(a)(1),

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: The 2023-2024 oyster season dates, days and time limits shall be as follows:

Gear Season Days Hours

Hand Tonging
Hand Scraping

Oct. 2, 2023 thru Mar. 29, 2024
Nov. 1, 2023 thru Mar. 29, 2024

Monday thru Friday
Monday thru Friday

Sunrise to 3:00 p.m.
Sunrise to 3:00 p.m.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: Possession of a hand scrape shall be permitted during the aforesaid times and from one hour before and for two hours after such times. The use or possession of any hand scrape at any other time is unlawful.

AND, IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2023- 14 shall become effective October 1, 2023 and remain in effect through March 31, 2024.

ORDER #2023-15
(replaces Order #2022-15)
RIVERWIDE DAILY OYSTER BUSHEL LIMITS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it necessary for the preservation of the oyster population, having considered the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resources, and pursuant to its authority under Regulation I, Section 7(a).

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: for the 2023-2024 commercial oyster season, from October 2, 2023 through March 29, 2024, there will be a riverwide daily bushel limit of eight (8) bushels per licensee, sixteen (16) bushels per vessel regardless of the number of licensees on board. This Order applies to licensees holding hand scrape and/or hand tong licenses.

AND IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: this Order #2023-15 shall become effective October 1, 2023, and remain in effect through March 31, 2024.

ORDER #2023-16 "Revised"
(replaces #2022-16)
ROTATIONAL NATURAL OYSTER HARVEST BAR – LOWER CEDAR POINT

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having given consideration to the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resource and having found it desirable to establish a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program for the purpose of rehabilitating the oyster fishery in the middleriver area of the Potomac River, and subject to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8(a):

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that Lower Cedar Point Bar (150 acres) and Addition (574 acres) are designated as a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program area. Lower Cedar Point and Addition are located in the Potomac River on the Maryland side from Lower Cedar Point downstream to Cuckold Creek (includes Waverly).

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: That the 2020 Lower Cedar Point Bar planting site is open to oyster harvest from January 1, 2024 through March 29, 2024. The 2020 Lower Cedar Point Bar planting site is enclosed within the following described boundaries: “All the waters of Potomac River enclosed by a line beginning at a point defined by Lat. 38°20.185' N, Long. 76°58.678' W, then running 123° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°20.195' N, Long. 76°58.503’ W, then running 205° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°20.120' N, Long. 76°58.759' W, then running 303° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°19.990' N, Long. 76°58.591' W.”

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: That except as provided herein for the 2020 Lower Cedar Point Bar planting site Lower Cedar Point Bar (150 acres) is closed to oyster harvest and it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or attempt to take or catch oysters by any means at any time on Lower Cedar Point Bar unless the Commission so chooses to open the area (Reg. I, Sec. 8(a)). Lower Cedar Point Bar is enclosed within the following described boundaries: “All the waters of Potomac River enclosed by a line beginning at a point defined by Lat. 38°19.712' N, Long. 76°58.971' W, then running 335° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°19.888' N, Long. 76°59.077' W, then running 18° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°20.331' N, Long. 76°58.889' W, then running 90° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°20.330' N, Long. 76°58.514' W, then running 91° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°20.328' N, Long. 76°58.416' W, then running 195° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°19.780' N, Long. 76°58.600' W, then running 259° True to a point defined by Lat. 38°19.765' N, Long. 76°58.704' W, then running 256° True to the point of beginning.”

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: Lower Cedar Point Addition (574 acres) is open to oyster harvest during the oyster season.

BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2023-16 shall supersede and repeal Order #2022-16 "Revised" become effective September 24, 2023 and remain in effect until further notice.

ORDER #2022-18
(replaces Order #2020-14) ROTATIONAL NATURAL OYSTER HARVEST BAR – GUM BAR

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having given consideration to the protection, promotion, growth and conservation of the oyster resource and having found it desirable to establish a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program for the purpose of rehabilitating the oyster fishery in the middleriver area of the Potomac River, and subject to its authority under Regulation I, Section 8(a):

HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS: that Gum Bar (650 acres) is designated as a Rotational Natural Oyster Harvest Program area. BE IT FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED: That it shall be unlawful for any person to take, catch or attempt to take or catch oysters by any means at any time on Gum Bar until October 1, 2022.

AND, IT IS FURTHERED DECLARED AND ORDERED: That this Order #2022-18 shall become effective September 18, 2022 and remain in effect until further notice.

POLICY
HAUL SEINE / CRAB POT AREAS

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it desirable to develop guidelines to foster cooperation between the haul seine fishery and the crab pot fishery regarding the use of the same areas; and wishing this to be a voluntary system, HEREBY ESTABLISHES THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES:

FOR HAUL SEINE LICENSEE:

a) A haul seine licensee, wishing to haul a particular area where crab pots are set, is to buoy the area with at least four (4) buoys that project at least 4 ft. above the water’s surface and have the licensee’s name and telephone number in legible letters and numbers.
b) Prior to placing the buoys, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MdDNR) (800-419-0743) or the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) (800-541-4646), depending on which shore is to be marked, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (800-266-3904), must be notified of the specific area where the haul is to be made and the intended date and time.
c) Buoys must be placed 3 days prior to the intended haul and must be removed as soon as the haul is complete, but not later than 7 days of being set and,

FOR CRAB POT LICENSEE:

d) Once the area is buoyed, no additional crab pots are be set within the confined area.
e) Any crab pots set within the confined area should be moved outside of that area.
f) Crab pots can be replaced after the haul is complete and the buoys are removed, or 7 days after the buoys are set, whichever comes first.

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION will furnish a copy of these guidelines to all PRFC haul seine and crab pot licensees. And, further the Commission will monitor and evaluate this voluntary system during 2007.

This Policy was adopted by the POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION at a regular public meeting held February 16, 2007 in Colonial Beach, VA.

POLICY
COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS HOOK & LINE TAG EXCHANGE PROGRAM

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC), having found it desirable to develop guidelines to allow participants in the commercial Striped Bass hook & line fishery to transfer tags to other eligible participants in the fishery, wishing this to be a voluntary, opt in process, HEREBY ESTABLISHES THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES:

WHO IS ELIGIBLE:

a) Any PRFC commercially licensed hook & line fisherman who has not had a striped bass hook & line conviction in the past year, is not currently on probation, and who has not had a striped bass hook & line tag audit penalty in the past year.
b) Any PRFC licensed hook & line fisherman who has unused tags may transfer his tags.
c) Any eligible PRFC licensed hook & line fisherman (transferee) who has used ALL of his/her tags for the current fishing season may receive tags from any eligible PRFC licensed hook & line fisherman (transferor) who has unused tags for that season.
d) Exception - During the license renewal time (December 1 through last business day in January) any eligible PRFC licensed hook & line fisherman (transferee) may receive a complete set of tags (without any tags required to be used) from any eligible PRFC licensed hook & line fisherman (transferor) who has not renewed his PRFC Hook & Line License for that season. Both PRFC licensed fishermen are required to come in person at the same time to the PRFC Office in Colonial Beach, VA to renew their Hook & Line License and complete this striped bass tag exchange. Both fishermen will be required to have their catch records up to date.

HOW TRANSFERS ARE DONE:

a) In order to participate in the PRFC Commercial Striped Bass Hook & Line Tag Exchange Program, prospective participants must opt in by agreeing to allow PRFC to provide some or all of their personal contact information (name, phone number, address, and/or email) to other opt in participants.
b) Transferees must use all of their tags (tag out) before they can receive any tags through a transfer, except during the license renewal time when a transfer can occur without any tags required to be used.
c) Both parties must come in person at the same time to the PRFC office, or alternatively, a notarized letter giving permission from the transferor to the transferee must be brought in at the time of the transaction. Proxies for either party will not be allowed. Both parties will be required to have their catch records up to date.
d) Each individual transfer of tags between two H&L licensees will be considered a transaction, and will be subject to a $25 administration fee.

EACH TRANSFER TRANSACTION CONSISTS OF TWO PARTS:

a) The H&L licensee (transferor) transferring tags will first conduct a transaction to return a specified quantity of tags to PRFC, and designate a recipient of the transfer (transferee). The transferor must bring his/her tags to the PRFC office.
b) The designated H&L transferee will conduct a transaction at the PRFC office to be reissued the specified quantity of tags being transferred, and pay an Administrative fee of $25 (flat rate regardless of the number of tags transferred).

Tags are then officially assigned to the H&L transferee, and they become his/her responsibility.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS:

a) The number of tag transactions that any qualified H&L participant may conduct through the course of the season is unlimited.
b) A minimum of ten (10) tags must be transferred. All transfer of tags must be in consecutive order.

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION will furnish a copy of these guidelines to all PRFC commercial Striped Bass hook & line licensees, and further the Commission will monitor and evaluate this tag exchange program annually.

This Policy was duly amended and adopted by the POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION at a regular public meeting held June 15, 2018 in Colonial Beach, VA.

POLICY
PRFC Guidelines on Emergency Use of Another Vessel for Crabbing

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION, having found it desirable to develop guidelines to allow a PRFC commercial crabber, who holds a valid PRFC crabbing license, to use another boat in the case of an emergency when the PRFC office is closed;

HEREBY ESTABLISHES THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES:

EXCEPTION GRANTED:

1) The exception is allowed only during non-business hours to include:

a) After 4:00 p.m. Friday and/or before 8:30 a.m. on the following Monday unless the following Monday is a holiday in which case before 8:30 am on the next day that is not a holiday; or
b) After 4:00 p.m. on the eve of a holiday, the holiday itself and before 8:30 am on the next day that is not a holiday

REQUIREMENTS:

1) Licensee must call the PRFC after hours number (804) 214-6616 before they use another boat and leave the following information:

a) Date and time of call
b) Name of licensee
c) CP number
d) Boat information that is out of service
e) Boat information (registration number, length, inboard/outboard) to be used and the name of the person that boat is registered to.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS:

1) If using a boat that has another PRFC commercial crab license attached to it, then each licensee may only crab their license and on alternate days.
2) If the mechanical issue extends past the start of the next PRFC business day, the licensee is required to obtain the "mechanical permit" from the PRFC to continue to use another boat.
3) Licensee must be on board the boat.
4) All PRFC regulations and orders must be adhered to.

THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION will furnish a copy of these guidelines to all PRFC commercial crab license holders.

This Policy was duly adopted by the POTOMAC RIVER FISHERIES COMMISSION at a regular public meeting held September 14, 2023 in Colonial Beach, VA.

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission coordinates regulations with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, (DGIF) and with the other Atlantic coastal states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).