DNR Clarifies Crab Pots Permitted In Ocean Pines Canals

DNR Clarifies Crab Pots Permitted In Ocean Pines Canals
A marked crab pot is pictured in an Ocean Pines canal. Submitted Photo

OCEAN PINES – Both commercial and private crab pots are permitted in Ocean Pines canals, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Citing recent complaints involving pots in the community’s canals, association officials say they have reached out to DNR for guidance.

“We’ve gotten several complaints regarding the pots,” Ocean Pines Association President Larry Perrone said. “Apparently, they aren’t crab pots, but eel traps. They are in the canals and there are a lot of them. … We have followed up with DNR, and they are allowed to put them out as long as they aren’t touching the bulkheads or pilings and are in at least four feet of water at mean low tide.”

In a statement issued this week, a spokesperson for DNR stated crab pots, both commercial and private, are permitted in Ocean Pines canals. The only restrictions for crab pots, generally recognizable in the water because of their bright orange floats, are in the Yacht Club Marina area.

“Commercial watermen are allowed to fish in tidal waters,” DNR’s regulation unit said in a statement this week. “So, aside from those channels, water less than four feet at mean low tide, and upstream of these non-tidal lines, they can use crab pots” in Worcester and Wicomico counties, the Pocomoke River bridge on Whiton Crossing three miles south of Powellville, the Wicomico River from Isabella Street in Salisbury, the Beaverdam Creek dam just upstream of U.S. Route 13, Nassawango Creek from Furnace Road, and Barren Creek from the U.S. Route 50 Bridge.

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“Anyone who owns waterfront property (or their tenant/guest) can set their two pots (maximum of two pots per property) in the Ocean Pines canals, as well as the commercial guys, because there is nothing preventing anyone from doing that now,” the spokesperson said.

According to DNR, one caveat for placing a crab pot is that the person placing the pot(s) must own the waterfront.

“If the waterfront is owned by the HOA, the adjacent property owner/tenant/guest cannot set pots,” the spokesperson said.

Additionally, the water must be at least four feet deep at mean low tide.

“As far as nonresidents – if they’re property owners/tenants/guests on a waterfront property, they’d be able to set pots just the same as residents,” the spokesperson said.

DNR states the closest “crab pot free areas” that do not allow crab pots are: the Isle of Wight Bay – Eastern Channel, 50 yards channelward of a line southward from day marker “13”, C “11”, R N “10”, G C “9”, R N “8”, G C “7”, R N “6”, C “5”, C “3”, R N “2”, C “1”, Fl. R 4 § 14 ft. 3M “2”, G “1A” to U.S. Route 50 Bridge; Isle Of Wight Bay – Western Channel, 50 yards channelward of a line southward from Fl. R 2.5 § “14”, R N “12”, R N “10”, R N “8”, R N “6”, C “1”;  and Isle Of Wight Bay – 100 feet channelward of a line from Ocean Pines Yacht Club easterly to Fl. R 2 § 6 ft. “4”, Fl. G 2 § 6 ft. “3”, Fl. 2 § 6 ft. “2”.

For more information, contact info@oceanpines,org.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.