STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
BUREAU OF NATURAL RESOURCES
FISH AND WILDLIFE & LAW ENFORCEMENT
RHODE ISLAND MARINE FISHERIES STATUTES AND REGULATIONS
The purpose of these rules and regulations is to supplement and simplify and/or clarify existing regulations in order to more efficiently manage the marine resources of Rhode Island.
These rules and regulations are promulgated pursuant to Chapter 42.17.1, 42-17.6, 20-1-2, 20-1-4, 20-3-2 though 20-3-6, 20-4 thru 20-10 and in accordance with Chapter 42-35, Administrative Procedures, of the General Laws of 1956, as amended.
Rules and regulations are based upon the need to modify existing regulations (RIGL 20-3-2 through 20-3-6).
The terms and provisions of these rules and regulations shall be liberally construed to permit the Department to effectuate the purposes of state law, goals, and policies.
See Rhode Island Marine Statutes and Regulations, Part I, '1.3.
If any provision of these Rules and Regulations, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the validity of the remainder of the Rules and Regulations shall not be affected thereby.
SUPERSEDED RULES AND REGULATIONS
On the effective date of these rules and regulations, all previous rules and regulations, and any policies regarding the administration and enforcement of Part XVI shall be superseded.
R.I. Marine Fisheries Statutes and Regulations
PART XVI - MENHADEN REGULATIONS
16.1 Prohibition of the Harvesting of Menhaden for Reduction Purposes -- The taking of menhaden for reduction (fish meal) purposes is prohibited in Rhode Island waters. A vessel will be considered in the reduction (fish meal) business if any portion of the vessel’s catch is sold for reduction. (RIMF REGULATIONS) [Penalty - Part 3.3; (RIGL 20-3-3)]
16.2 Narragansett Bay Menhaden Management Area -- Narragansett Bay, in its entirety, is designated a Menhaden Management Area. The area shall include the east and west passages of Narragansett Bay, Mt. Hope Bay, and the Sakonnet River, and be bordered on the south by a line from Bonnet Point to Beavertail Point to Castle Hill Light. The southern boundary further extends from Land's End to Sachuest Point and then to Sakonnet Light. The following regulations govern all commercial menhaden operations conducted in the Narragansett Bay Menhaden Management Area.
16.2.1- Gear Restrictions
The use of purse seines shall be permitted only in accordance with the following terms and conditions:
(A) All nets shall be less than 100 fathoms (600 feet) in length and less than 15 fathoms (90 feet) in depth.
(B) All nets shall be marked with fluorescent-colored float buoys, distinguishable from the other float buoys on the net, at intervals of 50 feet.
(C) Annually, prior to use, all nets shall be inspected and certified as being in conformance with the provisions of this section by the DEM Division of Law Enforcement. Once inspected and certified, a net may be used throughout the duration of the calendar year in which it was inspected, provided that it is not altered with regard to any of the provisions of this section. Any net that is altered with regard to any of the provisions of this section must be re-inspected and recertified prior to use.
16.2.1- Vessel Restrictions
When engaged in the commercial menhaden fishery, vessels may not have a useable fish storage capacity greater than 120,000 pounds. Prior to the commencement of fishing, for any vessel not previously certified through this process, each vessel must be inspected by a certified marine surveyor and assessed with regard to its fish storage capacity. A document reflecting the assessment must be kept aboard the vessel at all times. Any vessel with a fish storage capacity greater than 120,000 pounds may only engage in the fishery if the excess capacity is rendered unusable in accordance with the specifications set forth in the assessment.
16.2.3- Possession Limits
(A ) When the commercial menhaden fishery opens, per section 16.2.5 of this part, the possession limit shall be 120,000 pounds per vessel per calendar day, per section 16.2.5. The possession limits may be modified by the DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) on the basis of the estimated weekly standing stock of menhaden in the management area derived, in accordance with section 16.2.5, via approved scientific monitoring methods.
(B) No commercial menhaden fisher shall possess menhaden or otherwise engage in the taking of menhaden anytime on Saturday, Sunday, on any official state holiday, or prior to sunrise or following sunset.
16.2.4- Reporting Requirements
In order to permit the Department of Environmental Management to monitor the fishery, any fisher intending to engage in the commercial menhaden fishery shall notify the DEM Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) at (401) 222-3070 prior to taking or coming into possession of menhaden in the management area. At the time that a fisher advises the DLE of his/her intent to harvest menhaden, the DLE shall notify said fisher of any modification which may have been established in the possession limit for menhaden. Each commercial menhaden fisher shall also contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at (401) 423-1943 at the end of each trip to report the amount of menhaden in possession by the fisher in pounds and area fished.
16.2.5- Opening/Closure of Fishery Based on Biomass Estimates
(A) Biomass “Floor.” On an annual basis beginning every spring, the DFW, utilizing approved scientific monitoring methods, shall conduct regular estimates of the weekly standing stock of menhaden present in the management area. On the basis of those estimates, the DFW shall issue a notice when the estimated weekly standing stock reaches a threshold of 1,500,000 pounds, and the DFW shall open the commercial fishery, at an initial possession limit of 120,000 pounds per vessel per calendar day, when the estimated weekly standing stock reaches 2,000,000 pounds. If, at any time, the stock estimate drops below 1,500,000 pounds, the DFW shall close the commercial fishery until further notice.
(B)Biomass “Ceiling.” When 50% of the estimated weekly standing stock of menhaden stock present in the management area, above the minimum threshold amount of 1,500,000 pounds, is harvested, the DFW shall close the menhaden fishery until further notice.
16.2.6 Permanent Closures -- The following areas are permanently closed to all types of purse seining for menhaden:
16.2.8 Recreational Harvest of Menhaden --
No recreational fisherman harvesting menhaden by any fishing method shall possess more than 200 menhaden per vessel per calendar day in any closed area of the menhaden management area as set forth above.
Rule 8. Effective Date
The foregoing rules and regulations Rhode Island Marine Statutes and Regulations, after due notice, are hereby adopted and filed with the Secretary of State this 9th day of April, 2010 to become effective 20 days from filing, unless otherwise indicated below, in accordance with the provisions of Chapters 20-1-2, 20-1-4, 20-3-2 through 20-3-6, 20-4 through 20-10, 42-35, 42-17.1, 42-17.6 of the General Laws of Rhode Island of 1956, as amended.