Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, the chief sponsor of the 2011 legislation, learned about this year's bill from the article by Ms. Rentz and Mr. Wheeler and is now seeking to stop it before it becomes law. Before the 2011 act, he said, oyster poaching wasn't treated as a serious crime — fines averaged $179, according to research from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, not nearly enough to overcome the incentive to poach oysters in the sanctuaries that have been well stocked at taxpayer expense. And even the loss of a license may not do the trick. As Ms. Rentz and Mr. Wheeler documented, some who were banned from taking oysters in Maryland have simply shifted operations to Virginia. Without the possibility that the state will revoke a license, Mr. Frosh says, there is simply no way for the state to protect its investment in oyster restoration or to achieve its goal of increasing the oyster population from 1 percent of historic stocks to 8 percent.