Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 447

Public Act No. 04-97

AN ACT CONCERNING COMMERCIAL FISHERIES LICENSE REQUIREMENTS AND WILDLIFE PERMITS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 26-1 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

Words and terms used in this chapter shall be construed as follows:

(1) "Animal" includes birds, quadrupeds, reptiles and amphibians.

(2) "Bait species" means all species of fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects listed as bait in the regulations issued by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

(3) "Black bass" means small mouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and large mouth bass (Micropterus salmoides).

(4) Repealed.

(5) "Closed season" means that period of time during which hunting, trapping or fishing is prohibited for any species of wildlife.

(6) "Commercial fisherman" means any person, firm or corporation engaged in commercial fishing.

(7) "Commercial fishing" means taking or attempting to take any finfish, crustacea, sea scallops, squid, horseshoe crabs or bait species for commercial purposes or by the use of any commercial fishing gear.

(8) "Commercial fishing gear" means any equipment commonly used to take finfish, crustacea, sea scallops, squid, horseshoe crabs or bait species for commercial purposes including, but not limited to, lobster pots, otter trawls, beam trawls, balloon trawls, midwater trawls, sea scallop dredges, scoop nets, scap nets, seines, trap nets, fyke nets, crab traps, gill nets, trammel nets, set lines, long lines, hook and line if such fishing is conducted for commercial purposes, minnow seines, minnow traps, eel pots, fish pots, pound nets, throw nets or similar devices and any equipment listed as commercial fishing gear in regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

(9) "Commercial hatchery" means an institution or place where legally acquired fish are held, hatched and reared for sale or where fish so acquired or hatched are reared or held for sale in waters which are under complete control of the owner.

(10) "Daily bag, catch or creel limit" means the quantity or number of wildlife allowed to be taken during the period from 12: 01 a. m. to 12: 00 midnight as provided by this chapter or by regulations made by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

(11) "Grouse" includes ruffed grouse, partridge and spruce grouse.

(12) "Hunting" means pursuing, shooting, killing and capturing any bird, quadruped or reptile and attempting to pursue, shoot, kill and capture any bird, quadruped or reptile, whether such act results in taking or not, including any act of assistance to any other person in taking or attempting to take any such animal.

(13) "Quadruped" means any four-legged animal which is ferae naturae or wild by nature, although such animal may be enclosed and considered a pet or semidomesticated, but shall exclude purely domesticated animals.

(14) "Pickerel" means the chain pickerel (Esox niger), not the dwarf species referred to variously as the banded pickerel (Esox americanus), grass pike, grass pickerel, mud pike or brook pickerel.

(15) "Private waters" means a natural or artificial pond or lake to which the owner, not a corporation, partnership or voluntary association, has exclusive right of access, of which water supply all sources are located substantially within the property of the owner, to which fish do not have access from waters not under the control of such owner or from water stocked at the expense of the state, except that a natural or artificial pond five acres or less in extent may be owned by an individual, a corporation, partnership or voluntary association and, when meeting the other requirements of this subsection, such pond may be registered as private waters.

(16) "Seafood dealer" means (A) a person, firm or corporation, other than the ultimate consumer, who purchases, ships, consigns, transfers, transports, barters, accepts or packs lobsters, sea scallops, finfish, crabs, including horseshoe crabs, or squid directly from a commercial fisherman for resale, or (B) a commercial fisherman who sells, ships, consigns, transfers or barters his or her own catch of such species to anyone other than a seafood dealer.

[(16)] (17) "Set line" means a line fastened between two points, to which is attached a number of smaller lines with hooks attached, but a single line not personally attended may constitute a set line.

[(17)] (18) "Sport fishing" means taking or attempting to take any fish, crustacea, sea scallops, squid, horseshoe crabs or bait species whether from salt, brackish or fresh water by any method other than by commercial methods specified by law and regulations of the Commissioner of Environmental Protection for commercial purposes.

[(18)] (19) "Taking" means shooting, pursuing, hunting, fishing, killing, capturing, trapping, snaring, hooking and netting any species of wildlife and attempting to shoot, pursue, hunt, fish, kill, capture, trap, snare, hook, net or catch any species of wildlife or any act of assistance to any other person in taking or attempting to take such wildlife whether or not such act results in the capture of any such wildlife.

[(19)] (20) "Trapping" means pursuing, killing and capturing by use of any trap, snare, net or other device any bird or wild or domestic quadruped, excluding rats, mice, moles and reptiles, whether such act results in taking or not, including any act of assistance to any other person in taking or attempting to take any such animal by any such method.

[(20)] (21) "Trout and salmon" includes brook trout or speckled trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, kokanee or sockeye salmon, coho salmon, chinook salmon or any hybrid of any two or more of these species.

[(21)] (22) "Wildlife" means all species of invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals which are ferae naturae or wild by nature.

Sec. 2. Section 26-157b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Each person who engages in commercial fishing in the waters of this state, lands lobsters, sea scallops, finfish, crabs, [or] including horseshoe crabs, squid or bait species for commercial purposes in this state regardless of where such species are taken, [purchases finfish, lobsters, crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species from commercial fishermen for resale] operates as a seafood dealer or holds any commercial fishing license issued by the commissioner, license to take lobsters for personal use, license to take menhaden for personal use, license to buy finfish, lobsters, crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species for resale, license to land lobsters, sea scallops, finfish, crabs, or squid or pound net registration shall report information to the commissioner [, at such intervals and at such times as may be required and upon forms provided by the commissioner, such information as] that the commissioner deems necessary at intervals and by methods the commissioner deems necessary. The commissioner may request that commercial shellfish harvesters of oysters and clams voluntarily report, upon forms provided by the commissioner, such information as the commissioner deems necessary. The information required to be reported or voluntarily submitted may include but is not limited to: The number of individuals employed by such person, the number and value of boats, nets, apparatus and other devices used, the area fished, the effort expended and the number, weight, market value and species of finfish, lobsters, oysters, clams, sea scallops, squid, [or] crabs, including horseshoe crabs or bait species caught, landed or purchased. Each person who holds a party boat, head boat or charter boat registration shall report to the commissioner, at such times and at such intervals as may be required and upon forms provided by the commissioner, such information as the commissioner deems necessary, which may include but is not limited to: The number of individuals carried for the purpose of fishing, the area fished, the effort expended, the number and weight by species of all finfish taken and, if any of the catch is sold by such person or by the captain or crew of such vessel, the number, weight, species and value of such finfish.

(b) Any person who violates any reporting requirement under subsection (a) of this section shall have committed an infraction and may pay the fine by mail or plead not guilty under the provisions of section 51-164n, as amended, and shall not be subject to the provisions of section 26-61.

(c) Notwithstanding any provision of section 1-210, as amended, to the contrary, no person shall obtain, attempt to obtain or release to any person or government agency any identifiable individual record of or information derived from any report required to be submitted or voluntarily submitted in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, or any identifiable fishery record or fishery sampling information provided or submitted voluntarily or received by the department upon request of the commissioner, without the consent of the person making the report or providing the information, provided the commissioner may authorize the release of such information for the purposes of fisheries research, management and development and conservation law enforcement. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both and each such violation shall constitute a separate offense.

Sec. 3. Section 26-142a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) For the purposes of this section, an environmental tourism cruise vessel is one which is operated for a fee for the purpose of education and observation and retention of marine and estuarine resources collected under the conditions of the permit issued under this section, except that holders of a permit issued under section 26-60 shall not be required to obtain a permit under this section. No person shall operate, use or attempt to operate or use a vessel for commercial fishing or landing activities authorized by this section unless the commissioner has issued a vessel permit for such vessel to the owner of the vessel. No person shall operate, use or attempt to operate or use a vessel or commercial fishing gear for environmental tourism cruises authorized by this section unless the commissioner has issued an environmental tourism cruise permit for such vessel, including conditions for the use of such fishing gear, to the owner of the vessel. No person shall use or assist in using commercial fishing gear in any water of the state or land in this state any species taken by commercial fishing gear or for commercial purposes, regardless of where such species was taken, unless such person has been licensed by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to use such commercial fishing gear or land such species; except that any person who holds a license to [set or tend] use gill nets, [a license to take lobsters or fish for personal use, a resident commercial fishing license, a nonresident commercial fishing license or a commercial landing license may] lobster pots, trawl nets, sea scallop dredges, seines, traps, fish pots, fykes, hook and line, long lines or eel pots may, when using such gear, be accompanied and assisted by persons not so licensed. A resident of a state which does not issue commercial licenses to take eels to residents of Connecticut shall not be eligible to obtain a commercial license to take eels in the waters of this state or to land eels in this state. No vessel shall be used to land any finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs and horseshoe crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species for sale, barter, exchange, consignment or transportation to any point of sale unless an operator of the vessel is licensed for such purpose, except that any person who holds a commercial fishing license issued by the commissioner to fish by the method used to take such species, regardless of where such species were taken, shall not be required to obtain a landing license. No person shall take or attempt to take lobsters or horseshoe crabs for personal use by hand or by scuba diving or skin diving unless such person has been licensed by the commissioner to take lobsters or horseshoe crabs by such methods. No person shall take or attempt to take finfish for commercial purposes by the use of hook and line, including, but not limited to, rod and reel, hand line, set line, long line, or similar device unless such person has been licensed by the commissioner to use such gear for commercial purposes, except that notwithstanding the issuance of such a license, no person shall take finfish for commercial purposes in the inland district by the use of hook and line. The use of a purse seine or similar device [to take species] is prohibited. [The commissioner may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to conserve the menhaden fishery and such regulations may provide for a moratorium on the taking of menhaden for any period of time that the commissioner deems necessary. ] No pound net shall be used to take finfish unless such pound net is registered with the commissioner. Lobsters and blue crabs taken in pound nets shall be released unharmed. No person shall buy for resale finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs and horseshoe crabs, sea scallops or squid landed in Connecticut from any commercial fisherman unless such buyer [has] and commercial fisherman have been licensed by the commissioner. A licensed commercial fisherman who acts as a seafood dealer may, without holding a seafood dealer license, sell, ship, consign, transfer or barter his or her own catch of finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs and horseshoe crabs, sea scallops or squid landed in this state. No person shall take [or assist in taking] blue crabs for commercial purposes except by scoop net, hand line or manually operated and personally attended devices approved by the commissioner and unless such person has been licensed by the commissioner. No person shall operate a charter boat, party boat or head boat for the purpose of fishing unless such boat has been registered for such purpose with the commissioner and such person holds a current passenger-for-hire license issued by the United States Coast Guard. The owner, operator or captain of any such boat may sell the boat's or crew's share of any [catch] tuna species if such sale is not prohibited on the basis of species, size or closed season. For the purposes of this chapter, a charter boat, party boat or head boat is a vessel [carrying one or more crew members and which is] operated for a fee for the purpose of transporting and providing a fishing platform for sport fishermen [in the marine district] taking marine species in Connecticut waters or landing marine species at Connecticut ports regardless of where such species are taken. The commissioner may by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 exempt certain minnow seines, cast nets, scoop nets, traps, eel pots, seines less than thirty feet in length or any similar device used to take bait species and other species for personal use under a sport fishing license in the inland district and without a license in the marine district. No vessel used to take bait species may employ a fish pump. Persons licensed, registered or issued a permit to engage in activities authorized by this subsection shall carry on their persons or in the vessel being used to engage in such activity the permit, license or registration covering such activity.

(b) The commissioner shall issue fishing licenses, vessel permits and registrations to qualified applicants upon the submission of an application, on forms provided by the commissioner, containing such information as prescribed by the commissioner, and upon the payment of such license, registration or permit fees as are required by subsection (c) of this section, except that a nonresident whose permit, license or registration in the state of residence has been voided or suspended shall have the Connecticut permit, license or registration voided or suspended during the suspension of such out-of-state permit, license or registration or until another permit, license or registration is obtained in the state of residence. The commissioner shall not issue any fishing license or registration or vessel permit to any applicant who has not met the reporting requirements of section 26-157b, as amended by this act. No vessel permit shall be issued to any person for any vessel during the time period that such vessel permit has been revoked pursuant to subsection (f) of this section. Any fishing license or registration or vessel permit issued by the commissioner shall be nontransferable and shall expire on the thirty-first day of December next following its issuance.

(c) The fee for the following fishing licenses and registrations and for a commercial fishing vessel permit shall be: (1) For a license to take blue crabs for commercial purposes, seventy-five dollars; (2) for a license to take lobsters for personal use, but not for sale, (A) by the use of not more than ten lobster pots, traps or similar devices provided finfish may be taken incidentally during such use if taken in accordance with recreational fishery creel limits adopted under section 26-159a and if taken for personal use and not for sale, or (B) by skin diving, scuba diving or by hand, sixty dollars; (3) for a license to take lobsters, fish or crabs, other than blue crabs for personal use or for sale, by the use of more than ten lobster pots or similar devices, one hundred fifty dollars for residents of this state and two hundred twenty-five dollars for nonresidents, provided any such license issued to a resident of a state that does not issue commercial licenses conferring the same authority to take lobsters to residents of Connecticut shall be limited to the taking of crabs, other than blue crabs, and a nonresident shall not be issued such license if the laws of the nonresident's state concerning the taking of lobster are less restrictive than regulations adopted pursuant to section 26-157c; (4) for a license to take lobsters, crabs other than blue crabs, squid, sea scallops and finfish, for personal use or for sale, by the use of more than ten lobster pots or similar devices, or by the use of any otter trawl, balloon trawl, beam trawl, sea scallop dredge or similar device, two hundred twenty-five dollars for residents of this state and one thousand two hundred fifty dollars for nonresidents, provided any such license issued to residents of states which do not issue commercial licenses conferring the same authority to take lobsters to residents of Connecticut shall be limited to the taking of crabs other than blue crabs, squid, sea scallops and finfish by the use of any otter trawl, balloon trawl, beam trawl, sea scallop dredge or similar device, and a nonresident shall not be issued such license if the laws of the state of residency concerning the taking of lobster are less restrictive than regulations adopted under the authority of section 26-157c; (5) for a license to set [,] or tend [or assist in setting or tending] gill nets, seines, scap or scoop nets used to take American shad, one hundred dollars; (6) for the registration of each pound net or similar device used to take finfish, two hundred twenty-five dollars, provided persons setting, operating, tending or assisting in setting, operating or tending such pound nets shall not be required to be licensed; (7) for a license to set or tend gill nets, [to tend or assist in setting or tending] seines, traps, fish pots, cast nets, fykes, scaps, scoops, eel pots or similar devices to take finfish other than American shad or bait species for commercial purposes, or, in any waters seaward of the inland district demarcation line, to take finfish other than American shad or bait species for commercial purposes by hook and line, or to take horseshoe crabs by hand, one hundred fifty dollars for residents of this state and two hundred dollars for nonresidents, and any such license obtained for the taking of any fish species for commercial purposes by hook and line, in excess of any creel limit adopted under the authority of section 26-159a, three hundred dollars for residents of this state and five hundred dollars for nonresidents, provided for the taking for bait of horseshoe crabs only, this license may be issued without regard to the limitations in section 26-142b, as amended by this act, to any holder of a Department of Agriculture conch license who held such license between January 1, 1995, and July 1, 2000, inclusive; (8) for a license to set [,] or tend [or assist in setting, operating or tending] seines, traps, scaps, scoops, weirs or similar devices to take bait species in the inland district for commercial purposes, fifty dollars; (9) for a license to set [,] or tend [or assist in setting, operating or tending] seines, traps, scaps, scoops or similar devices to take bait species in the marine district for commercial purposes, fifty dollars; (10) for a license to buy finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs and horseshoe crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species for resale from any commercial fisherman licensed to take or land such species for commercial purposes, regardless of where taken, two hundred dollars; (11) for the registration of any party boat, head boat or charter boat used for fishing, two hundred fifty dollars; (12) for a license to land finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue crabs and horseshoe crabs, sea scallops, squid or bait species, four hundred dollars; (13) for a commercial fishing vessel permit, fifty dollars; (14) for a license to take menhaden from marine waters for personal use, but not for sale, by the use of a single gill net not more than sixty feet in length, fifty dollars; (15) for an environmental tourism cruise vessel permit, fifty dollars, provided the landing of any species regulated under Department of Environmental Protection regulations is prohibited.

(d) The commissioner may determine for all waters of the state, including the inland and marine districts, areas within which commercial fishing gear may be set or used, the specifications and dimensions of such commercial fishing gear, including materials, length, depth, width, and size of mesh, the length of set lines or long lines, the number and size of hooks, and, for all commercial fishing and landing activities by persons issued either a commercial fishing vessel permit or a license by the commissioner, regardless where such activities take place, the species which may be taken, possessed or landed, the seasons in which species may be taken, possessed or landed, the number and size of finfish, squid and crabs, including blue crabs, which may be taken, possessed or landed and the rules regulating the use of commercial fishing gear, including hours or days of use, and the number of licenses, permits or registrations which may be issued. The commissioner may also order the emergency closure of any fishery if such closure is necessary to conform to regulations adopted under the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-265, as amended) or by other regional fisheries management authorities.

(e) The commissioner may, during and for any reasonable period of time prior to and after the spawning period of any inland or marine game fish or food fish, close any portion of any inland or marine water where any such fish congregate prior to or during the spawning season.

(f) The commissioner shall revoke any commercial fishing vessel permit issued under authority of subsection (b) of this section upon conviction or upon the forfeiture of any bond taken upon any complaint, for the following offenses: (1) Possession of ten or more egg-bearing lobsters or lobsters from which the eggs have been removed; (2) possession of either: (A) Ten or more lobsters less than the minimum length if such lobsters constitute more than ten per cent of the lobsters on board; or (B) fifty lobsters which are less than the minimum length, whichever is the lesser amount; (3) possession of either: (A) Twenty or more finfish of at least one species which are less than the minimum length if such finfish constitute more than ten per cent of the finfish on board for that species; or (B) one hundred finfish of at least one species which are less than the minimum length, whichever is the lesser amount; (4) for a second offense within seven hundred and thirty days in violation of regulations relating to bottom trawl nets adopted under this section; [26-142a; ] (5) for a second offense within seven hundred and thirty days for possession of finfish or lobsters more than ten per cent in excess of possession limits specified in regulations adopted under authority of section 26-157c or 26-159a. Said revocation period shall be for one hundred and eighty days for a first offense, one year for a second offense, two years for a third offense, and shall be permanent for a fourth offense. The provisions of this subsection are in addition to and in no way derogate from any other enforcement provision or penalty contained in any other statute.

(g) Any person who violates any provision of this part relating to commercial fishing vessel permits shall be fined no more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both, and each violation of any provision of this section relating to commercial fishing vessel permits shall constitute a separate offense.

(h) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, no commercial fishing vessel permit shall be required for any vessel used for the operation of an environmental tourism cruise, a charter, party or head boat or for a vessel used for taking of lobsters for personal use only, or a vessel used for taking inland or marine bait, blue crabs, or American shad, or any vessel used in support of a vessel issued a commercial fishing vessel permit and engaged in the operation of a registered marine pound net.

Sec. 4. Section 26-142b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) For the purposes of this section, "active" with regard to a commercial finfish license, commercial fishing license or commercial lobster pot license means that the license has been renewed in the current year and "number of lobster pots actively fished" means the maximum calculated number of pots as established by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection pursuant to regulations adopted in accordance with section 26-157c.

[(a)] (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection [, from May 31, 1995, until December 31, 2003,] shall issue resident and nonresident commercial finfish licenses, [and] commercial fishing licenses and commercial lobster pot licenses under section 26-142a, as amended by this act, only to persons who held [such a license or registration] a commercial finfish license, a commercial fishing license, or a commercial lobster pot license at any time from [January 1, 1980, to] June 1, 1995, to December 31, 2003, inclusive, provided, if such license holder is incapacitated or unable to operate a vessel, the commissioner may reissue a license to a member of such license holder's immediate family or to a member of such license holder's crew, as designated by such license holder, on a temporary basis not to exceed the duration of such incapacity or inability. Such temporary license shall be subject to the provisions of section 26-142a, as amended by this act. [Upon the death of a license holder or relinquishment of the license between October 1, 1999, and December 31, 2001, the commissioner, in accordance with the provisions of this section, may issue a new license of the same type to a member of such license holder's immediate family who shall be designated by such license holder on the form provided by the commissioner for application for, or renewal of, such license. Such form shall include a space in which the designation may be indicated. The commissioner shall allow transfers upon death or relinquishment only in cases of transfers from license holders who fished in 1998 and landed any amount of fish under a valid license issued by the commissioner and in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of the request. Such request shall be made to the commissioner in writing. In the case of relinquishment of license, the original license holder shall become ineligible to obtain a new or renewal license of said type but shall be allowed to recover the license upon the death of the recipient family member or the relinquishment of the license by the recipient. For the purposes of this section, active fishing shall be determined by inspection of commercial fishery catch data submitted in accordance with section 26-157b. No transfer of a license may be made while such license is under suspension. Immediate family shall include spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or the spouses of any such family member. Such reissued license shall be subject to the provisions of section 26-142a. If such license holder has not designated a family member to whom the license may be issued, one such family member may apply in the manner otherwise provided by law in order to obtain a license under section 26-142a. ]

[(b) Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, from May 26, 2000, until October 1, 2003, an active commercial fishing license for lobster issued pursuant to subsection (c) of section 26-142a may, upon notice to the commissioner, be transferred, without remuneration, to any person who has not had a commercial fishing license, registration or vessel permit suspended within the preceding twelve months or revoked, provided the person transferring the license held the license and landed lobsters in at least three calendar years between January 1, 1995, and October 1, 2003, and reported such lobster catch to the commissioner pursuant to section 26-157b. The person to whom such license is transferred shall be limited to the number of pots actively fished and reported during said period, except that a transferee who currently holds a commercial fishing license for lobster issued pursuant to subsection (c) of section 26-142a shall be limited to the number of pots actively fished and reported during said period under either the currently held license or the transferred license, whichever is greater.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the commissioner may authorize the transfer of an active commercial fishing license for lobster provided the person transferring the license: (1) Does not meet the qualification for license transfer in subsection (b) of this section due to such person's own verified and substantiated medical circumstances; and (2) held the license, landed lobsters and reported such lobster catch to the commissioner pursuant to section 26-157b in at least one year during the period from January 1, 1995, to June 8, 1998, inclusive. The person to whom such license is transferred shall be limited to the number of pots actively fished and reported during said period by the person transferring the license. ]

(c) The commissioner may authorize the transfer of an active commercial finfish license, commercial fishing license or commercial lobster pot license, issued pursuant to subsection (c) of section 26-142a, as amended by this act, provided the person transferring the license held the license and landed finfish, lobsters, sea scallops, crabs or squid in at least five of the eight calendar years preceding the transfer request and reported such landings to the commissioner, pursuant to section 26-157b, as amended by this act, for at least thirty fishing days in each year. Such landings shall be verified by seafood dealer reports submitted pursuant to section 26-157b, as amended by this act. The recipient of a transferred commercial lobster pot license shall be limited to the number of lobster pots allocated to such license, except a transferee who currently holds a commercial lobster pot license, issued pursuant to subsection (c) of section 26-142a, as amended by this act, shall be limited to the number of pots allocated to such person's currently held lobster pot license or to the transferred license, whichever is greater. The length of any commercial fishing vessel used by the recipient of a transferred license to fish with a trawl net in the waters of this state shall be not more than ten per cent greater than the length of the largest vessel used by the person transferring the license during such qualifying period.

(d) The commissioner may authorize the transfer of an active commercial finfish license, commercial fishing license or commercial lobster pot license pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, for a period of two years from the date of death of such license holder.

(e) Upon transfer of a license, the original license holder shall become ineligible to obtain a renewal of that license. Such original license holder may acquire a new license through a subsequent license transfer.

(f) A transfer of a license under this section shall not be made while a commercial fishery license, registration or vessel permit held by the transferor or transferee is under suspension and a transfer shall not be authorized for any transferee who has had a commercial fishery license, registration or vessel permit revoked or suspended within the preceding twelve months.

Sec. 5. Section 26-55 of the general statutes, as amended by section 3 of public act 03-192 and section 242 of public act 03-6 of the June 30 special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

No person shall import or introduce into the state, or possess or liberate therein, any live fish, wild bird, wild mammal, reptile, amphibian or invertebrate unless such person has obtained a permit therefor from the commissioner provided nothing in this section shall be construed to require such permit for any [live fish, wild bird, wild mammal, reptile amphibian or invertebrate] primate species that weighs not more than fifty pounds at maturity that was imported [, introduced into the state,] or possessed [or liberated] in the state prior to October 1, 2003. Such permit may be issued at the discretion of the commissioner under such regulations as the commissioner may prescribe. The commissioner may by regulation prescribe the numbers of live fish, wild birds, wild mammals, reptiles, amphibians or invertebrates of certain species which may be imported, possessed, introduced into the state or liberated therein. The commissioner may by regulation exempt certain species or groups of live fish from the permit requirements. The commissioner may by regulation determine which species of wild birds, wild mammals, reptiles, amphibians or invertebrates must meet permit requirements. The commissioner may totally prohibit the importation, possession, introduction into the state or liberation therein of certain species which the commissioner has determined may be a potential threat to humans, agricultural crops or established species of plants, fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians or invertebrates. The commissioner may by regulation exempt from permit requirements organizations or institutions such as zoos, research laboratories, colleges or universities, public nonprofit aquaria or nature centers where live fish, wild birds, wild mammals, reptiles, amphibians or invertebrates are held in strict confinement. Any such fish, bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian or invertebrate illegally imported into the state or illegally possessed therein shall be seized by any representative of the Department of Environmental Protection and shall be disposed of as determined by the commissioner. Any person, except as provided in section 26-55a, who violates any provision of this section or any regulation issued by the commissioner as herein provided shall be guilty of an infraction. Importation, liberation or possession of each fish, wild bird, wild mammal, reptile, amphibian or invertebrate in violation of this section or such regulation shall be a separate and distinct offense and, in the case of a continuing violation each day of continuance thereof shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.

Approved May 10, 2004