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St. Mary’s County Oysterman Banned from Working Potomac

Natural Resources Police Investigate Boating Accident, Charge Deer Poacher, Cite Fishing Violators 

A St. Mary’s County man whose Maryland commercial waterman’s license was revoked in 2015 for oyster harvesting violations has been banned from any oystering activity on the Potomac River for the coming season.

Photo of James Phillip Nelson

James Phillip Nelson, 41, of California, was convicted in St. Mary’s County District Court in February of harvesting oysters from a closed area on the river near Point Lookout. Maryland Natural Resources Police officers determined that Nelson was well within the marked boundary for the protected area.

At its meeting Sept. 7, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission decided that Nelson’s “brazen” actions required punitive measures. As a result, the waterman cannot serve as a crewman or be aboard a boat that is harvesting oysters during the 2017-18 season. In addition, he was placed on probation and can face further sanctions should he be convicted of future violations.

In November 2015, Nelson had his Maryland license permanently revoked by a St. Mary’s County District Court judge after he was convicted of harvesting oysters from a polluted area and keeping oysters that were between 28 and 48 percent undersized, a second offense on both counts. He was fined $3,750, with $2,000 of it suspended, and was ordered to pay court costs. He also was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation on each of the three charges.

Nelson has a history of convictions dating back to the mid-1990s involving illegal crabbing, oyster harvesting and hunting.


Officers continue to investigate a boat accident in Talbot County Saturday afternoon that injured 11 people.

A 24-foot recreational boat struck a day marker at about 4:30 p.m. while returning to San Domingo Creek in St. Michael’s after a ride that began around 3 p.m.

Some passengers were ejected. One woman was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore City for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and the others were treated at Easton Memorial Hospital. The bow of the boat was caved in and sustained other damage from the force of the collision.


A Glen Burnie man was charged Sunday with multiple counts of deer poaching and illegal driving after an accident last month in Savage River State Forest.

Garrett County sheriff’s deputies and first responders called Maryland Natural Resources Police Aug. 12 after Benigno Rolando Estrada, 43, crashed his all-terrain vehicle on public land off Easy Street. An investigation found fresh deer meat and firearms near the scene of the accident.

Estrada was charged with two counts of operating under the influence, negligent operation, illegally driving a vehicle on government property, hunting deer in a closed season, failing to report and tag a deer, and failing to wear protective clothing. Estrada required treatment for a broken wrist and head lacerations.

A court date has not been set. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum penalty of a year in jail and fines totaling $7,500.


Four men were charged early Friday morning with striped bass violations by an officer on a surveillance assignment at Fishing Creek Bridge in Dorchester County.

Oblin Adaly Soriano Vasquez, 27, and Edilberto De La Soriano, 34, both of Silver Spring, Julio Armando Serrando, 30, of College Park, and Nelson Ramos, 18, of Hyattsville, each received citations for keeping undersized fish and exceeding the daily limit.

The officer found 26 striped bass in the spare tire compartment of their vehicle.

The men are scheduled to appear in Dorchester County District Court Nov. 15. If found guilty, each man could be fined as much as $3,000.


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