Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Division of Fish and Wildlife
1. TITLE OF THE REGULATION:
3521 Weakfish Size Limits; Possession Limits, Seasons.
2. BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF THE SUBJECT, SUBSTANCE AND ISSUE:
The purpose of this action is to amend the definition of weekends and weekdays in 7 DE Admin. Code §3521 (5.0). Delaware was required to implement a 34-day commercial closure (when all fishing gear, except hook & line, were to be removed from the water) under the provision of Amendment III to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Weakfish (ISFMP). Delaware’s present regulations include weeklong closures at the beginning of May and the end of June and all weekends in May and June to meet the ISFMP specifications. The Department has received several requests from the commercial fishing sector to change the weekend closure periods from Friday through Sunday to Saturday through Monday. This change would enable Delaware’s commercial gill netters to more adequately supply the recreational bait market with fresh Atlantic menhaden for weekend anglers. The concept of the proposed action was endorsed by the Tidal Finfish Advisory Council at its June 20, 2012 meeting.
3. POSSIBLE TERMS OF THE AGENCY ACTION:
4. STATUTORY BASIS OR LEGAL AUTHORITY TO ACT:
§ 901(c & d), § 903(e) (2)a, Title 7 Delaware Code
5. LIST OF OTHER REGULATIONS THAT MAY BE IMPACTED OR AFFECTED BY THE PROPOSAL:
6. NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT:
The hearing record on the proposed changes to the weakfish regulation will be open October 1, 2012. Individuals may submit written comments regarding the proposed changes via e-mail to Lisa.Vest@state.de.us or via the USPS to Lisa Vest, Hearing Officer, DNREC, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 (302) 739-9042. A public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held on October 31, 2012 beginning at 6 pm in the DNREC Auditorium, located at the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901.
7. PREPARED BY:
Stewart Michels Stewart.Michels@state.de.us (302) 739-9914
David E. Saveikis, Director
3521 Weakfish Size Limits; Possession Limits; Seasons.
(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 one (1) 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.
3.1 It shall be unlawful for any person, who has been issued a valid commercial food fishing license and a valid food fishing equipment permit to possess more than one hundred pounds (100 lbs) of weakfish per vessel per day (a day being 24 hours) or trip, whichever is the longer period of time.
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 one (1) 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 one (1) 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 Saturday through midnight Sunday Monday) in both May and June, plus contiguous weekdays (defined as 12:01 AM Monday Tuesday through midnight Thursday Friday) 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 one (1) weakfish but not more than 100 pounds 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 one (1) 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 one (1) weakfish.