CHAPTER 491
STATE SHELLFISHERIES

Table of Contents

Sec. 26-192e. (Formerly Sec. 19a-98). Classification of coastal waters, shores and tidal flats for the taking of shellfish.
Sec. 26-216. Penalty.
Sec. 26-235. Taking of clams. Recreational harvest limit. Penalties. Defacing or removal of sign.

      Sec. 26-192e. (Formerly Sec. 19a-98). Classification of coastal waters, shores and tidal flats for the taking of shellfish. (a) The Department of Agriculture may prohibit the taking or harvesting of shellfish from designated areas in tidal flats, shores and coastal waters whenever it finds by examinations or surveys that such flats, shores or coastal waters are contaminated or polluted to the extent that the waters do not meet standards of purity established by said department, in conjunction with the Department of Public Health, or that shellfish obtained therefrom may be unfit for food or dangerous to the public health. The Department of Agriculture shall classify the coastal waters, shores and tidal flats for the taking of shellfish. The classifications shall be: Approved, conditional, restricted, conditionally restricted, and prohibited. The conditional classification shall include conditional-open and conditional-closed. Any person aggrieved by a classification decision pursuant to this section may appeal such decision in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. An area may be classified as prohibited for the taking or harvesting of shellfish unless it conforms to the standards established by the department for classifications other than prohibited. The department may specify the activities which may occur within each classified area. Such activities shall be listed on a shellfish license issued by the department. Waters and areas classified as approved or conditional-open shall conform to standards of purity, shall be free from discharge of sewage or other deleterious substances, and the shellfish obtained therefrom shall not be so polluted or contaminated as to be dangerous to the public health. The Department of Agriculture may delegate its authority for the classification of tidal flats, shores and coastal waters for the taking of shellfish pursuant to this section to other state agencies and local agencies.

      (b) The department shall, by written order, promulgate definite bounds of the area or areas closed to shellfishing when classified as conditional-closed, conditionally restricted, restricted or prohibited. Such order shall become effective when (1) the closure classification is published in a newspaper having circulation in towns, cities and boroughs in which or adjacent to which any such area is situated; (2) the classification is filed in the offices of the clerk and the director of health in each such town, city or borough, and (3) signs are posted at points on or near every such classified area.

      (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, when the Commissioner of Agriculture, after consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health, finds that tidal flats, shores or coastal waters which may contain shellfish are so contaminated or polluted that a health emergency exists, he may close such area for the duration of such emergency by giving notice of such emergency closure (1) in writing to the municipal or district health authority, and (2) to the general public by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the town, city or borough within which such area lies. Such notice shall state when the closing shall take effect.

      (d) No person shall take or harvest shellfish from areas classified as conditional-closed, restricted, conditionally restricted or prohibited pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section or closed because of a health emergency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or from areas or parts of areas where shellfish have been transplanted or relayed except in accordance with the terms and conditions of a license issued pursuant to section 26-192c or section 26-192h. The Department of Agriculture may delegate its authority for the classification of coastal waters, shores, and tidal flats for the taking of shellfish pursuant to this section to other state agencies and local agencies.

      (1949 Rev., S. 4188; P.A. 76-84, S. 1; P.A. 77-614, S. 323, 610; P.A. 83-34; P.A. 89-321, S. 5, 12; P.A. 90-230, S. 86, 101; P.A. 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(e), (f); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 05-288, S. 119.)

      History: P.A. 76-84 placed shellfish in coastal waters under commissioner's control, deleted provision allowing taking shellfish for bait in posted areas, allowed closure when shellfish determined as possibly unfit for food and dangerous to public health, specified that closure may be permanent, temporary or contingent upon specified events and added Subsecs. (b) and (c) re closure procedures; P.A. 77-614 replaced department and commissioner of health with department and commissioner of health services, effective January 1, 1979; Sec. 19-55 transferred to Sec. 19a-98 in 1983; P.A. 83-34 amended Subsec. (a) to authorize the department of health services to prohibit the taking of shellfish from "designated areas" within shellfish grounds and to make any one of the listed grounds for closure sufficient where previously all were necessary for closure by substituting "or" for "and" and added Subsec. (d) which requires that shellfish taken from contaminated or closed areas be taken pursuant to a certificate or license; P.A. 89-321 transferred authority from the department of health services to the department of agriculture, provided for the classification system, made technical changes and added provision authorizing delegation of authority; Sec. 19a-98 transferred to Sec. 26-192e in 1991; P.A. 90-230 made technical change to Subsec. (a); P.A. 93-381 replaced department and commissioner of health services with department and commissioner of public health and addiction services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health, effective July 1, 1995; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner and Department of Agriculture with Commissioner and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 05-288 made technical changes in Subsec. (c), effective July 13, 2005.

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      Sec. 26-216. Penalty. Any person who violates any provision of section 26-215, or who uses any device or number not furnished by the Commissioner of Agriculture for a boat or vessel used in cultivating or dredging for shellfish, shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars or more than fifty dollars for each day that such boat or vessel is so unlawfully used and, on conviction of a second offense, shall be fined not less than fifty dollars or more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both, for each day that such boat or vessel is so unlawfully used.

      (1949 Rev., S. 5048; 1969, P.A. 218, S. 2; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 353; 1972, P.A. 52, S. 23; P.A. 78-334, S. 4; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(e); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 05-288, S. 120.)

      History: 1969 act rephrased provisions; 1971 act replaced clerk of shellfisheries with commissioner of environmental protection; 1972 act replaced commissioner of environmental protection with commissioner of agriculture; P.A. 78-334 increased minimum fine from ten to twenty-five dollars and deleted reference to not bearing coat of arms as violation; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner of Agriculture with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 05-288 made technical changes, effective July 13, 2005.

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      Sec. 26-235. Taking of clams. Recreational harvest limit. Penalties. Defacing or removal of sign. (a) No person shall take any long clams less than one and one-half inches in length, provided the Waterford-East Lyme shellfish commission may make such residency requirements for digging or taking clams from the shores or waters of the Niantic River as it deems reasonable and in the best public interest of the Waterford-East Lyme area. Unless otherwise provided by statute, regulation or local ordinance, the recreational harvest limit of clams shall not exceed one-half bushel per person daily. The Commissioner of Agriculture may designate by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 shores and waters for the exclusive recreational harvesting of clams. For the purposes of this section, recreational harvest of clams means the collection of clams by an individual for personal consumption or consumption by such individual's family.

      (b) The common council of any consolidated town and city and the selectmen of any other town may determine the quantity of clams to be taken therein by a person during one day and may prohibit, for a period not exceeding one year, the taking of clams from any waters or beaches they may designate within the territorial limits of such town, if they deem such prohibition necessary for the protection of the natural clam areas, by posting notices on such designated territorial limits stating that the taking of clams within such areas is prohibited.

      (c) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall have committed an infraction.

      (d) Any person who takes clams from an area closed and posted against the taking of clams by the Department of Agriculture or from an area closed by license issuance or by order of a local health department shall be fined not less than seventy-five dollars or more than one thousand dollars or three times the market value of any clams taken, based on the quantity and type involved in the violation, if such amount is greater than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than twelve months.

      (e) Any person who defaces or removes a sign posted by the Department of Agriculture, in accordance with the provisions of section 26-192e, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than six months.

      (1949 Rev., S. 5067; 1953, S. 2561d; 1959, P.A. 169, S. 1; P.A. 83-245, S. 2; P.A. 86-8; P.A. 99-169, S. 3, 7; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(e); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; 04-223, S. 7; P.A. 05-288, S. 121.)

      History: 1959 act authorized Waterford-East Lyme shellfish commission to make residency requirements re digging or taking clams from shores or waters of Niantic River; P.A. 83-245 amended Subsec. (a) to define recreational harvest limit and to establish a limit of one bushel per person and amended Subsec. (c) to replace one hundred dollar fine with provision making violations an infraction; P.A. 86-8 amended Subsec. (a) by reducing the recreational harvest limit for clams from one to one-half bushel per person daily; P.A. 99-169 deleted a provision in Subsec. (a) limiting authorization under this section to residents of this state, effective June 23, 1999; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner of Agriculture with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 04-223 made technical changes in Subsecs. (a) and (c) and added Subsecs. (d) re penalties for prohibited taking of clams and (e) re penalty for defacing or removal of sign posted by Department of Agriculture, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 05-288 made a technical change in Subsec. (d), effective July 13, 2005.

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