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Delaware General AssemblyDelaware RegulationsMonthly Register of RegulationsJune 2013

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7 DE Admin. Code 3511
This Order considers proposed regulatory amendments to Delaware Tidal Finfish Regulation No. 3511 regarding Summer Flounder. The Department's Division of Fish and Wildlife commenced the regulatory development process with Start Action Notice 2013-02. The Department published the proposed amendments in the March 1, 2013 Delaware Register of Regulations and held a public hearing on March 21, 2013. The Department's presiding hearing officer, Lisa A. Vest, prepared a Hearing Officer's Report dated May 3, 2013 (Report). The Report recommends certain findings and the adoption of the proposed regulation amendment as attached to the Report as Appendix A.
In addition to the concerns noted above, there was a significant amount of public comment received with regard to the four options presented by the Department at the public hearing of March 21, 2013. These comments were given a thorough and exhaustive review by the Division of Fish & Wildlife, and were considered within the context of which of the approved options offered the most reasonable, risk-averse measure to manage Delaware's summer flounder fishery. While it is true that there are several ways to categorize the comment received in this matter, the fact remains that the two most favored options voiced by the public were for Option #3 (minimum size of 17.0 inches and an estimated increase in harvest of 40%) and Option #4 (minimum size of 16.5 inches, and an estimated increase in harvest of 81.8%). Both of these options call for a creel limit of 4, and no closed season, so those factors are not at issue in this particular deliberation. However, when comparing the estimated increase in harvest for each of these options, Option #4 is more than double the projected increase of Option #3. Given the concerns of Delaware potentially exceeding its total allowable catch (which, in turn, may result in a corresponding reduction in the following year's allowable catch), I hereby agree with the Department's recommendation offered for consideration, and believe the most appropriate and reasonable path forward for Delaware in this matter is to (1) liberalize the minimum size for 2013 by one inch, thus setting the summer flounder minimum size for 2013 at 17.0 inches; and (2) allowing the fishery to operate without a seasonal closure.
7.) The Department shall submit this Order approving the final amendments to this regulation to the Delaware Register of Regulations for publication in its next available issue, and provide such other notice as the law and regulation require and the Department determines is appropriate.
(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §936(b)(2))
[Note: Size to be determined in combination with closed season, but is limited to options one through four listed in the below “Table of Management Options”]
3.0 It shall be unlawful for any person, to have in possession any part of a summer flounder that measures less than [eighteen (18) seventeen (17)] inches between said part's two most distant points unless said person also has in possession the head, backbone and tail intact from which said part was removed.
[Note: Size to be determined in combination with closed season, but is limited to options one through four listed in the below “Table of Management Options”]
[Note: Size to be determined in combination with closed season, but is limited to options one through four listed in the below “Table of Management Options”]
[Table of Management Options
Last Updated: December 31 1969 19:00:00.
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