Watermen guilty of harvesting sanctuary oysters

PRINCESS ANNE — In the first major courtroom test of the Maryland Natural Resources Police’s newest enforcement tool, two Somerset County watermen were found guilty Monday, March 10 of harvesting oysters from a state sanctuary.

Officers used the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network, a radar and camera system, to track a vessel Nov. 25 moving in and out of the Somerset Sanctuary in Tangier Sound, according to an NRP news release. They subsequently charged William Cloyde Catlin and Irving Lee Catlin with dredging in the protected area.

According to a news release, District Judge Paula Price ordered the vessel’s captain, William Catlin, 64, of Upper Fairmount, to pay a $1,000 fine and the mate, Irving Catlin, 55, of Westover, to pay a $450 fine. The Catlins have 30 days to appeal.

“When we launched our initiative in 2010 to restore Chesapeake Bay oysters, we included a tough conservation law enforcement component to protect this invaluable resource and let Marylanders know our commitment was rock solid,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement. “I’m pleased the court recognizes the importance of this effort.”

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