DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL

Division of Fish and Wildlife

Statutory Authority: 7 Delaware Code, Section 6010, (7 Del.C. §6010)

7 DE Admin. Code 3521

PROPOSED

PUBLIC NOTICE

SAN# 2007-13

1. Title of the Regulations:

Tidal Finfish Regulation 3521 Weakfish Size Limits; Possession Limits; Seasons

2. Brief Synopsis of the Subject, Substance and Issues:

In accordance with Addendum II to Amendment 4 of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Weakfish, Delaware is required to lower the recreational possession limit on weakfish from eight (8) per day to six (6) per day by October 29, 2007. Similarly, the commercial hook and line daily harvest limit shall be reduced as well from eight (8) per day to six (6) per day, except on four specific days of the week as indicated by the Department on said person's food fishing equipment permit for hook and line. During the four days of the week so specified, commercial hook and line fishermen are not constrained by daily harvest limits, although minimum size limits still apply. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission took this action in order to conserve weakfish as an aid to future stock recovery. All major weakfish harvesting states along the Atlantic seaboard are required to take this action.

3. Possible Terms of the Agency Action:

If commercial fishing removals of weakfish should rise to a pre-determined level consistent with average removals over the last five years, the Commission will give consideration to further restraints on commercial fishing. Similarly if Delaware's or any other state's commercial weakfish landings exceed its five-year mean by more than 25% in any single year, the Commission will review the findings and take action as it deems appropriate. If the commercial measures in the Weakfish Plan are modified, it would be incumbent upon Delaware to come into compliance with the applicable changes.

4. Statutory Basis or Legal Authority to Act:

§903 of 7 Delaware Code and Chapter 15 of 7 Delaware Code.

5. Other Regulations that may be Affected by the Proposal:

N/A

6. Notice Of Public Comment:

Individuals may address questions to the Fisheries Section, Division of Fish and Wildlife, (302) 739-3441. A public hearing on these proposed regulations will be held in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Auditorium, at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE at 7:00 PM on August 29, 2007. Individuals may present their opinion and evidence either at the hearing or in writing to Lisa Vest, Hearing Officer, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 or via e-mail to Lisa.Vest@state.de.us. The hearing record will remain open for written or e-mail comments until 4:30 PM August 31, 2007.

7. Prepared By:

Roy W. Miller, 302-739-9914

June 28, 2007

3521 Weakfish Size Limits; Possession Limits; Seasons. (Formerly Tidal Finfish Reg. 10)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §936(b)(2))

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to possess weakfish, Cynoscion regalis, taken with a hook and line, that measure less than thirteen (13) inches, total length.

2.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to whom the Department has issued a commercial food fishing license and a food fishing equipment permit for hook and line to have more than eight (8) six (6) weakfish in possession during the period beginning at 12:01 AM on May 1 and ending at midnight on October 31 except on four specific days of the week as indicated by the Department on said person’s food fishing equipment permit for hook and line.

3.0 It shall be unlawful for any person, who has been issued a valid commercial food fishing license and a valid food fishing equipment permit for fishing equipment other than a hook and line to possess weakfish, lawfully taken by use of such permitted food fishing equipment, that measure less than twelve (12) inches, total length.

4.0 It shall be unlawful for any person, except a person with a valid commercial food fishing license, to have in possession more than eight (8) six (6) weakfish, not to include weakfish in one’s personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging. A person may have weakfish in possession that measure no less than twelve (12) inches, total length, and in excess of eight (8) six (6) if said person has a valid bill-of-sale or receipt for said weakfish that indicates the date said weakfish were received, the number of said weakfish received and the name, address and signature of the commercial food fisherman who legally caught said weakfish or a bill-of-sale or receipt from a person who is a licensed retailer and legally obtained said weakfish for resale.

5.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to fish with any gill net in the Delaware Bay or Atlantic Ocean or to take and reduce to possession any weakfish from the Delaware Bay or the Atlantic Ocean with any fishing equipment other than a hook and line during the following periods of time:

Every weekend day (defined as 12:01 AM on Friday through midnight Sunday) in both May and June, plus contiguous weekdays (defined as 12:01 AM Monday through midnight Thursday) at the beginning of May and the end of June, such that the total number of closure days add up to thirty four (34) days. The exact dates of closures each year shall be mailed in advance to the affected public and published annually in the Delaware Fishing Guide.

6.0 The Department shall indicate on a person’s food fishing equipment permit for hook and line four (4) specific days of the week during the period May 1 through October 31, selected by said person when applying for said permit, as to when said permit is valid to take in excess of eight (8) six (6) weakfish per day. These four days of the week shall not be changed at any time during the remainder of the calendar year.

7.0 It shall be unlawful for any person with a food fishing equipment permit for hook and line to possess more than eight (8) weakfish while on the same vessel with another person who also has a food fishing equipment permit for hook and line unless each person’s food fishing equipment permit for hook and line specifies the same day of the week in question for taking in excess of eight (8) six (6) weakfish.

1 DE Reg 1770 (5/1/98)

2 DE Reg 1904 (4/1/99)

3 DE Reg 1088 (2/1/00)

4 DE Reg 1552 (3/1/01)

5 DE Reg. 2142 (5/1/02)

6 DE Reg. 1512 (5/1/03)

11 DE Reg. 153 (08/01/07) (Prop.)