DEEP: Notice to Fishermen Marine Fisheries Regulation Changes

Notice to Fishermen

Marine Fisheries Regulation Changes

March 9, 2007

The Department of Environmental Protection has recently implemented regulations that affect commercial and recreational fishermen.

Recreational measures were implemented that:

(1) Prohibit taking smelt in marine and tidal waters.

(2) Require that personal use menhaden gill nets be personally attended at all times.

(3) Add bay anchovy, Asian shore crab, sheepshead minnow, mullet and shrimp to list of species that can be taken as bait.

(4) Add hickory shad to species that can be taken with limited commercial gears without a license and for personal use.

(5) Add umbrella nets to the list of gears that can be fished for personal use without a commercial license.

(6) Allow the tagging of fish other than striped bass by anglers participating in a program consistent with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissionís standards for scientific tagging programs.

(7) Allow the tagging of striped bass greater than sixteen inches by anglers participating in a program approved by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

(8) Defines culling and high-grading as discarding or returning a previously retained fish to the water in order to retain a more desirable fish. Any fish placed on a stringer, in a container, cooler, live well or similar device, or otherwise not immediately released to the water shall count against the daily creel limit. The practice of culling or high-grading is prohibited unless the angler is participating in a tournament that has been granted an exception by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

Commercial measures were implemented that:

(1) For black sea bass: increase the incidental catch limit for lobstermen to 10 fish and implement an end of year quota redistribution formula for black sea bass (similar to what has been implemented for summer flounder and scup) that ensures that commercial fishermen can make full use of the annual quota each year.

(2) For horseshoe crab: change the closed season to July 8 through May 21 (open season from May 22 through July 7), prohibits the take from 06:00 pm on Friday through 06:00 pm the following Sunday during the open season, limit the hand-harvest of horseshoe crabs to those license holders who reported the hand-harvest from 1999 through 2006, close three areas to horseshoe crab fishing (Menunketesuck Island in Westbrook, Sandy Point in West Haven, and Milford Point in Milford).

(3) For lobster: modify the definition of a v-notch to be a notch with or without setal hairs, at least 1/8 inch in depth and establish a history-based lobster trap allocations for LMA2.

(4) For bait species: add hickory shad to list of species that can be sold as bait under a bait dealer's license and add bay anchovy, Asian shore crab, sheepshead minnow, mullet and shrimp to the list of species that can be taken as bait.

(5) For dealers selling hybrid striped bass: require that hybrid striped bass offered for sale must be accompanied by documentation showing that the fish were propagated in a licensed commercial fish hatchery. It is no longer a requirement that hybrid striped bass offered for sale must bear an opercular (gill cover) tag showing the origin of the fish or that retail purchasers are provided with a receipt showing the origin of the fish.

For further information, contact the DEP Marine Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 719, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or by telephone at 860.434.6043 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. (N07-06)