DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL

Division of Fish and Wildlife

Statutory Authority: 7 Delaware Code, Sections 2701(d) (7 Del.C. §2701(d)

PROPOSED

SAN #2006-17

1. Title of the Regulations:

3203 Seasons and Area Closed to taking Horseshoe Crabs.

3207 Horseshoe Crab Dredging Restrictions.

3210 Horseshoe Crab Reporting Requirements.

3211 Horseshoe Crab Commercial Collecting Permit Eligibility and Renewal Requirements.

3214 Horseshoe Crab Annual Harvest Limit.

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

The Department is proposing two options, either of which would meet the compliance requirements of Addendum IV to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs which is administered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Option 1 would prohibit the harvest and landing of all horseshoe crabs in Delaware waters from January 1 through June 7 for two years, and prohibit the harvest and landing of female horseshoe crabs for the remainder of the year as well. During the period June 8 through December 31, up to 100,000 male horseshoe crabs may be harvested from approved harvest areas in Delaware. Commercial collectors of horseshoe crabs will have to report their landings daily during the open season in order to facilitate quota monitoring. Permit renewal requirements will be aligned with other shellfish licenses. Specifically, horseshoe crab commercial beach collecting permits must be renewed annually by December 31 of each calendar year or the person holding the collecting permit forfeits their eligibility to obtain a horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit in subsequent years. This option permits harvest to resume after the period of time that the shorebirds normally have migrated north of Delaware that depend on horseshoe crab eggs as a food source, and after a significant portion of the horseshoe crab spawning has occurred in a normal year. By harvesting only male horseshoe crabs, females would be further protected and will be available to participate in the annual spawn without being subject to harvest at any point during the year.

Option 2 would prohibit all harvest and landing of horseshoe crabs in Delaware for a period of two years to begin in calendar year 2007. This option is more restrictive than required in Addendum IV, but individual states may be more restrictive, but not less restrictive than that called for in approved plans administered by the ASMFC. This option would end all horseshoe crab harvest in Delaware for a two-year period.

3. Possible Terms of the Agency Action:

This regulation will be re-considered in light of horseshoe crab population trends and further action by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission beginning in 2009.

4. Statutory Basis or Legal Authority to Act:

§103, §1902, §2701 and §2703 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, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, (302)739-3441 or by e-mail to. A public hearing on these two proposed regulations will be held in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Auditorium, at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE at 7:30 PM on September 28, 2006. Written comments for the hearing record should be addressed to Roy Miller, Hearing Officer, at the above address or via e-mail to roy.miller@state.de.us and will be accepted until 4:30 PM October 3, 2006.

7. Prepared by:

Roy W. Miller 302-739-9914 August 9, 2006

3200 Horseshoe Crabs (Option 1: 3203, 3207, 3210, 3211 and 3214; Option 2: 3215)

Option 1

3203 Seasons and Area Closed to taking Horseshoe Crabs (Formerly S-51 & HC-3)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to dredge or attempt to collect by means of a dredge horseshoe crabs or parts thereof from any state or federal land owned in fee simple or the tidal waters of this state during a period beginning at 12:01 am on May 1 January 1 and continuing through midnight, June 30, next ensuing. After June 30 in any given calendar year, it shall be unlawful to dredge or attempt to collect by means of a dredge female horseshoe crabs.

2.0 It shall be lawful for persons with valid horseshoe crab collecting permits and eel licensees and their alternates to collect adult male horseshoe crabs on Tuesday and Thursday from state owned lands to the east of state road No. 89 (Port Mahon Road) from 12:01 a.m. on June 8 and continuing through midnight on June 30.

3.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to collect or attempt to collect, any horseshoe crabs or parts thereof from any land not owned by the state or federal government during the period beginning at 12:01 a.m. on May 1 January 1 and continuing through midnight, June 7, next ensuing. It shall be lawful, during a period beginning at 12:01 a.m. on June 8 and continuing through midnight on June 30, for persons with valid horseshoe crab collecting permits and eel licensees and their alternates to collect male horseshoe crab adults on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from such private lands.

4.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to collect or attempt to collect any horseshoe crabs from any land not owned by the State or federal government unless said person has on his or her person written permission, signed by the owner of said land with the owner's address and phone number, indicating the individual to whom permission to collect horseshoe crabs is granted.

5.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to collect or dredge or to attempt to collect or dredge horseshoe crabs at any time prior to May 1 in any given year after the date the Department determines 35% of the annual quota of horseshoe crabs, approved for Delaware by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, is landed.

1 DE Reg 1412 (4/1/98)

7 DE Reg. 220 (8/1/03)

3207 Horseshoe Crab Dredging Restrictions (Formerly S-55 & HC-7)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to dredge horseshoe crabs in the area in Delaware Bay designated as leased Sshellfish grounds except on one's own leased shellfish grounds or with permission from the owner of leased shellfish grounds. The area in Delaware Bay designated as leased shellfish grounds is within the boundaries that delineate leasable shellfish grounds and is described as follows: Starting at a point on the "East Line" in Delaware at Loran-C coordinates 27314.50/42894.25 and continuing due east to a point at Loran-C coordinates 27294.08/42895.60 and then 27270.80/42852.83 and then continuing southwest to a point at Loran-C coordinates 27281.31/42803.48 and then continuing west to a point at Loran-C coordinates 27280.75/42795.50 and then in a northerly direction on a line 1000' offshore, coterminous with the existing shoreline to the point of beginning on the "East Line."

2.0 It shall be unlawful for any person, who operates a vessel and has on board said vessel a dredge of any kind, to have on board or to land more than 1500 horseshoe crabs during any 24 hour period beginning at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through midnight next ensuing.

1 DE Reg 354 (10/1/97)

3 DE Reg 1567 (5/1/00)

3.0 It shall be unlawful for any person, who operates a vessel and has on board said vessel a dredge of any kind, to have or possess on board said vessel any horseshoe crabs at any time during the period beginning 12:01 a.m. on May 1 January 1 and continuing through midnight, June 30, next ensuing.

1 DE Reg 1412 (4/1/98)

4.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to land horseshoe crabs taken from the Exclusive Economic Zone unless said person has a valid horseshoe crab dredge permit."

3 DE Reg 1567 (5/1/00)

7 DE Reg. 220 (8/1/03)

3210 Horseshoe Crab Reporting Requirements (Formerly S-57 & HC-10)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 It shall be unlawful for any person who has been issued a horseshoe crab dredge permit, a horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit or a commercial eel pot license to not report his/her harvest of horseshoe crabs to the Department on a weekly daily basis. Said weekly daily reports shall not be required to be submitted to the Department during any month said person indicates previously in writing to the Department that he/she will not be harvesting horseshoe crabs. Any person required to submit a weekly daily report on his/her harvest of horseshoe crabs to the Department shall submit said report on or before 4:30PM on the Monday following the week covered by said report. If Monday is a legal State holiday, said report shall be submitted on or before 4:30PM on Tuesday, next ensuing. For purposes of this section, a week shall commence at 12:01AM on Monday and conclude at midnight on Sunday, next ensuing. phone in said report within 24 hours of said harvesting. Said report shall include but not be limited to said person's unique identification number assigned by the Department, the dates and location horseshoe crabs were harvested, the number and sex of horseshoe crabs harvested and the method of harvest of horseshoe crabs. Said report shall be submitted to the Department by telephone by calling a phone number, dedicated by the Department for the reporting of harvested horseshoe crabs, and entering the required data by code or voice as indicated.

2.0 Any person who fails to submit a weekly daily report on his/her harvest of horseshoe crabs to the Department on time shall have his/her permit to dredge or his/her permit or authority to collect horseshoe crabs suspended until all delinquent reports on harvested horseshoe crabs are received by the Department.

3.0 In addition to the requirement to phone in weekly daily catch reports, horseshoe crab collectors and harvesters and commercial eel fishermen are required to compile and file monthly log sheets detailing daily landings of horseshoe crabs on forms supplied by the Department. These forms must be submitted by the 10th day of the month next ensuing. Failure to submit these monthly reports on a timely basis may be cause for horseshoe crab collecting or horseshoe crab dredge permit revocation or non-renewal of said permit the following year; or in the case of a commercial eel licensee, forfeiture of permission to possess or use horseshoe crabs as bait for the remainder of the year.

1 DE Reg 1413 (4/1/98)

3 DE Reg 1567 (5/1/00)

7 DE Reg. 220 (8/1/03)

3211 Horseshoe Crab Commercial Collecting Permit Eligibility and Renewal Requirements (Formerly S-59 & HC-11)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 The Department may only issue a horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit to a person who makes application for such a permit in calendar year 1998, and who, prior to July 1, 1997, had applied for and secured from the Department at least 2 valid horseshoe crab commercial collecting permits. Any person holding a horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit in 1998 may apply for renewal of their horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit by April 1 December 31 each year. If any person holding a horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit from the previous year fails to apply for renewal of their horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit by April 1 December 31 in any given calendar year, they forfeit their eligibility to obtain a horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit in the future subsequent years.

1 DE Reg 1413 (4/1/98)

7 DE Reg. 220 (8/1/03)

3214 Horseshoe Crab Annual Harvest Limit (Formerly S-62 & HC-14)

(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §1912)

1.0 The annual harvest limit for horseshoe crabs taken and/or landed in the State shall be 150,000 100,000 male horseshoe crabs for a period of two years beginning January 1, 2007 or whatever the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has approved as Delaware's current annual quota, whichever number is less.

2.0 When the Department has determined that the annual horseshoe crab quota has been met, the Department shall order the horseshoe crab fishery closed and no further horseshoe crabs may be taken during the remainder of the calendar year.

7 DE Reg. 220 (8/1/03)

Option 2

3215 Horseshoe Crab Harvest Moratorium

1.0 Under the Department's authority granted in §2701(a) of 7 Del.C. to administer a program for the conservation and management of horseshoe crabs, it shall be unlawful for anyone, except as specified in §2702 and §2704(b) of 7 Del.C., to collect by means of a dredge or to collect or attempt to collect by any means any horseshoe crab or parts thereof from Delaware lands or waters for a period of two consecutive years beginning January 1, 2007. It shall further be unlawful to land from a vessel in Delaware any horseshoe crabs taken from outside of Delaware's jurisdiction for a period of two years beginning January 1, 2007. For the two-year term of this harvest moratorium, all other horseshoe crab regulations are suspended, except for Horseshoe Crab Regulation 3202. Those persons holding horseshoe crab collecting permits in 2006 shall retain their eligibility to apply for a commercial horseshoe crab collecting permit once the fishery is re-opened and must do so by December 31 of each year once the fishery is re-opened, or forfeit their eligibility to obtain a horseshoe crab commercial collecting permit in subsequent years.

10 DE Reg. 519 (09/01/06) (Prop.)