Abstract

Turtles are highly susceptible to the negative effects of commercial harvesting. In October 2007, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources convened a Working Group to discuss the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) fishery in Maryland and to make recommendations considered necessary to maintain a sustainable fishery. We collected information on population structure and the collecting techniques used by local harvesters in the field. An increase in the minimum legal size limit from 9.5 inches (24.1 cm) in 2008 to 11 inches (27.9 cm) in 2009 resulted in more females being protected from harvesting yet significantly decreased catch per unit effort, forcing harvesters to increase collecting effort to maintain catch levels.

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