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State Suspends and Revokes Numerous Fishing Licenses

NRP continues to crack down on illegal fishing

Since April, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has suspended 63 recreational fishing licenses, three commercial fishing authorizations, and one commercial fishing license. The Department has also revoked five commercial fishing authorizations and one commercial fishing license.

“These laws and regulations are vital to protecting and conserving our natural resources for today and for the future,” said DNR Fisheries Director Tom O’Connell.

The violations include, fishing in closed trout streams, possessing undersized striped bass and crabs, possessing female crabs, crabbing out of season and harvesting oysters from closed or polluted waters. The penalties range from 30-day to two-year license suspensions, to permanent license revocations, depending on the number and severity of infractions.

DNR has worked collaboratively with industry leaders over the past several years to develop an appropriate penalty system to ensure that those who choose to continue to violate the fisheries laws and regulations of the State will progressively lose their privilege to make a living or pursue a recreational activity harvesting the fisheries resources in Maryland. These agency actions are the result of this collaborative effort and work of the Fisheries Service, Natural Resources Police and the Office of the Attorney General.

Under Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership, there has been an increased effort to deter poaching and toughen penalties for those who violate fishing laws in Maryland. A noteworthy part of this effort is the launch of new 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. DNR, the Office of the Attorney General and the District Court of Maryland have also expanded a successful program that sets aside specific days to try only cases dealing with natural resources violations.

Citizens are urged to call 800-628-9944 to the Maryland Natural Resources Police Communication Center to report conservation violations, maritime emergencies and law enforcement issues on the Chesapeake Bay and DNR controlled lands.

More information on the Maryland Fisheries penalty system and a complete list of those who were recently charged is available at