Substitute House Bill No. 5584

Public Act No. 00-16

An Act Concerning The Taking Of Menhaden Fish.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 26-142a of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 99-78, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No person shall operate, use or attempt to operate or use a vessel for commercial fishing or landing activities authorized by this section unless the commissioner has issued a vessel permit for such vessel to the owner of the vessel. No person shall use or assist in using commercial fishing gear in any water of the state or land in this state any species taken by commercial fishing gear or for commercial purposes, regardless where such species was taken, unless such person has been licensed by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to use such commercial fishing gear or land such species; except that any person who holds a license to set or tend gill nets, a license to take lobsters or fish for personal use, a resident commercial fishing license, a nonresident commercial fishing license or a commercial landing license may be accompanied and assisted by persons not so licensed. A resident of a state which does not issue commercial licenses to take eels to residents of Connecticut shall not be eligible to obtain a commercial license to take eels in the waters of this state or to land eels in this state. No vessel shall be used to land any finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species for sale, barter, exchange, consignment or transportation to any point of sale unless an operator of the vessel is licensed for such purpose, except that any person who holds a commercial fishing license issued by the commissioner to fish by the method used to take such species, regardless of where such species were taken, shall not be required to obtain a landing license. No person shall take or attempt to take lobsters for personal use by hand or by scuba diving or skin diving unless such person has been licensed by the commissioner to take lobsters by such methods. No person shall take or attempt to take finfish for commercial purposes by the use of hook and line, including but not limited to rod and reel, hand line, set line, long line, or similar device unless such person has been licensed by the commissioner to use such gear for commercial purposes, except that notwithstanding the issuance of such a license, no person shall take finfish for commercial purposes in the inland district by the use of hook and line. [Prior to July 1, 2001, no purse seine or similar device which is greater than three hundred feet in length shall be used to take menhaden nor shall menhaden be taken from a vessel greater than fifty feet in length. No purse seine or similar device shall be used to take menhaden unless the vessel from which such purse seine or similar device is used, tenders excepted, is registered with the commissioner.] The use of a purse seine or similar device to take species [other than menhaden] is prohibited. The commissioner may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to conserve the menhaden fishery and such regulations may provide for a moratorium on the taking of menhaden for any period of time that the commissioner deems necessary. No pound net shall be used to take finfish unless such pound net is registered with the commissioner. Lobsters and blue crabs taken in pound nets shall be released unharmed. No person shall buy finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs, sea scallops or squid for resale from any commercial fisherman unless such person has been licensed by the commissioner. No person shall take or assist in taking blue crabs for commercial purposes except by scoop net, hand line or manually operated and personally attended devices approved by the commissioner and unless such person has been licensed by the commissioner. No person shall operate a charter boat, party boat or head boat for the purpose of fishing unless such boat has been registered for such purpose with the commissioner. The owner, operator or captain of any such boat may sell the boat's or crew's share of any catch if such sale is not prohibited on the basis of species, size or closed season. For the purposes of this chapter, a charter boat, party boat or head boat is a vessel carrying one or more crew members and which is operated for a fee for the purpose of transporting and providing a fishing platform for sport fishermen in the marine district. The commissioner may by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 exempt certain minnow seines, cast nets, scoop nets, traps, eel pots, seines less than thirty feet in length or any similar device used to take bait species and other species for personal use under a sport fishing license in the inland district and without a license in the marine district. No vessel used to take bait species may employ a fish pump. Persons licensed, registered or issued a permit to engage in activities authorized by this subsection shall carry on their persons or in the vessel being used to engage in such activity the permit, license or registration covering such activity.

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 26-142a of the general statutes, as amended by section 24 of public act 99-225, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) The fee for the following fishing licenses and registrations and for a commercial fishing vessel permit shall be: (1) For a license to take blue crabs for commercial purposes, fifty dollars; (2) for a license to take lobsters for personal use, but not for sale, (A) by the use of not more than ten lobster pots, traps or similar devices provided finfish may be taken incidentally during such use if taken in accordance with recreational fishery creel limits adopted under section 26-159a and if taken for personal use and not for sale, or (B) by skin diving, scuba diving or by hand, fifty dollars; (3) for a license to take lobsters, crabs other than blue crabs, squid, sea scallops and finfish, for personal use or for sale, by the use of more than ten lobster pots or similar devices, or by the use of any otter trawl, balloon trawl, beam trawl, sea scallop dredge or similar device, one hundred fifty dollars for residents of this state and two hundred twenty-five dollars for nonresidents, provided any such license issued to residents of states which do not issue commercial licenses conferring the same authority to take lobsters to residents of Connecticut shall be limited to the taking of crabs other than blue crabs, squid, sea scallops and finfish by the use of any otter trawl, balloon trawl, beam trawl, sea scallop dredge or similar device, and a nonresident shall not be issued such license if the laws of his state of residency concerning the taking of lobster are less restrictive than regulations adopted under the authority of section 26-157c; (4) for a license to set, tend or assist in setting or tending gill nets, seines, scap or scoop nets used to take shad, one hundred dollars; (5) for the registration of each pound net or similar device used to take finfish, one hundred dollars, provided persons setting, operating, tending or assisting in setting, operating or tending such pound nets shall not be required to be licensed; (6) for a license to set or tend gill nets, to tend or assist in setting or tending seines, traps, fish pots, cast nets, fykes, scaps, scoops, eel pots or similar devices to take finfish other than shad or bait species for commercial purposes, or, in any waters seaward of the inland district demarcation line, to take finfish other than shad or bait species for commercial purposes by hook and line, or to take horseshoe crabs by hand, fifty dollars for residents of this state and one hundred dollars for nonresidents, and any such license obtained for the taking of any fish species for commercial purposes by hook and line, which species is regulated by a creel limit adopted under the authority of section 26-159a, one hundred dollars for residents of this state and two hundred dollars for nonresidents; (7) for a license to set, tend or assist in setting, operating or tending seines, traps, scaps, scoops, weirs or similar devices to take bait species in the inland district for commercial purposes, twenty dollars; (8) for a license to set, tend or assist in setting, operating or tending seines, traps, scaps, scoops or similar devices to take bait species in the marine district for commercial purposes, twenty dollars; (9) [for the registration of any boat or vessel, except a tender, engaged in using a purse seine or similar device to take menhaden, fifty dollars for residents of this state and seven hundred fifty dollars for nonresidents; (10)] for a license to buy finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species for resale from any commercial fisherman licensed to take or land such species for commercial purposes, regardless where taken, twenty-five dollars; [(11)] (10) for the registration of any party boat, head boat or charter boat used for fishing, twenty-five dollars; [(12)] (11) for a license to land finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species, two hundred twenty-five dollars; [(13)] (12) for a commercial fishing vessel permit, fifty dollars; [(14)] (13) for a license to take menhaden from marine waters for personal use, but not for sale, by the use of a single gill net not more than sixty feet in length, fifty dollars.

Sec. 3. This act shall take effect from its passage.