DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL

Division of Fish and Wildlife

Statutory Authority: 7 Delaware Code, Section 903 (7 Del.C. §903)

7 DE Admin. Code 3536

PROPOSED

REGISTER NOTICE

SAN # 2006-18

1. Title of the Regulations:

Tidal Finfish Regulations

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

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board adopted a compliance requirement at the August 2005 meeting stipulating that all states in the management regime (Massachusetts through North Carolina) for Black Sea Bass include language in their regulations, by January 1, 2007, that require at least two escape vents in the parlor section of all fish pots used to harvest Black Sea Bass. In addition, the Board stipulated that all circular vents used in fish pots must be at least 2.5 inches in diameter to allow escapement of sub-legal size fish. The Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the ASMFC sponsored a workshop on March 22, 2005 to generate discussion and recommendations on whether the current vent sizes used are appropriate for scup and black sea bass pots and traps. Workshop participants recommended that circle vents increase in size to 2.5 inches and that rectangular and square vent sizes remain unchanged. They also recommended that each pot/trap have at least two escape vents in the parlor portion of the trap. In general the workshop group agreed that these changes would increase the escapement of sub-legal fish. The Board and Council adopted the workshop recommendations at the August 2005 meeting and in order to allow industry adequate time to make the proper gear changes the effective date was delayed until January 1, 2007. The Board specified that these gear changes would be compliance requirements that must be implemented through out the management regime (Massachusetts through North Carolina) for black sea bass by January 1, 2007.

3. Possible Terms of the Agency Action:

Delaware is required to comply with specific Fishery Management Plans approved by the ASMFC. Failure to do so could result in complete closure of a specific fishery in Delaware.

4. Statutory Basis or Legal Authority to Act:

7 Del.C. §903, 7(e)(2)(a)

5. Other Regulations That May be Affected by the Proposal:

None

6. Notice of Public Comment:

Individuals may present their comments or request additional information by contacting the Fisheries Section, (302) 739-9914. A public hearing on these proposed amendments will be held on October 24, 2006 at 7:30 PM in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway. Dover, DE 19901. The record will remain open for comments until 4:30 PM October 27, 2006.

7. PREPARED BY:

Richard Cole (302) 739-4782 Aug. 30, 2006

3536 Fish Pot Requirements (Formerly Tidal Finfish Reg. 24)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §936(b)(2))

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to fish, set, place, use or tend any fish pot in the tidal waters of this state unless said fish pot has an two escape vents placed in a lower corner of the parlor portion of said pot which complies with one of the following minimum sizes: 1.375 inches by 5.75 inches; or a circular vent 2.375 5 inches in diameter; or a square vent with sides of 2 inches, inside measure. Pots constructed of wooden lathes must have spacing of at least 1.375 inches between one set of lathes.

2.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to fish, set, place, use or tend any fish pot in the tidal waters of this state unless said fish pot contains a panel (ghost panel) measuring at least 3.0 inches by 6.0 inches affixed to said pot with one of the following degradable materials:

2.1 Untreated hemp, jute or cotton string of 3/16 inches diameter or smaller; or

2.2 Magnesium alloy timed float release (pop-up devices) or similar magnesium alloy fasteners; or

2.3 Ungalvanized or uncoated iron wire of 0.094 inches diameter or smaller.

3.0 It shall be lawful for a person to take and reduce to possession any food fish, except tautog, black seabass or summer flounder, when said food fish is caught in his/her crab pot provided said food fish is not otherwise illegal to possess at that time.

4.0 It shall be lawful for a person to take and reduce to possession any food fish, except tautog, black seabass or summer flounder, when said food fish is caught in his/her blue crab dredge provided said food fish is not otherwise illegal to possess at that time.

2 DE Reg. 1905 (4/1/99)

6 DE Reg. 350 (9/1/02)

10 DE Reg. 629 (10/01/06) (Prop.)