House Bill No. 6213
               House Bill No. 6213

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-145


AN ACT CONCERNING  USE  OF  PURSE  SEINES  IN LONG
ISLAND SOUND AND THE CONNECTICUT SEAFOOD COUNCIL.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section 1. In  order  to conserve the menhaden
fishery and provide for its sustainability for all
users  of  the   resource,   the  Commissioner  of
Environmental Protection shall  review  the status
of  the  menhaden  fishery  and  may  conduct  any
surveys or investigations necessary to augment the
available information regarding the fishery. On or
before January 1,  1999,  the  commissioner  shall
submit a report to the joint standing committee of
the General Assembly  having cognizance of matters
relating to the environment regarding such fishery
and   any   findings    or   recommendations   for
legislative  or regulatory  changes  necessary  to
conserve such fishery.  Such report shall evaluate
the  need  for   (1)   additional   penalties  for
violations of laws  regulating  the  fishery,  (2)
advance  reporting  by   purse  seiners  prior  to
fishing, (3) spill reporting and clean-up within a
specified period, (4) licensure of individuals and
boats and (5)  limits  on  the  number and size of
boats and nets. Said committee shall hold a public
hearing on the  report  during  the  1999  regular
session of the General Assembly.
    Sec. 2. Subsection  (a)  of section 26-142a of
the general statutes is repealed and the following
is substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a) 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 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 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  gill  nets,  a
license  to take  lobsters  for  personal  use,  a
resident commercial fishing license, a nonresident
commercial fishing license or a commercial landing
license may 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,
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 for personal use by hand
or by scuba  diving  or  skin  diving  unless such
person has been  licensed  by  the commissioner to
take lobsters 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. PRIOR TO  JULY  1,  1999,  NO PURSE SEINE OR
SIMILAR DEVICE WHICH IS GREATER THAN THREE HUNDRED
FEET IN LENGTH  SHALL BE USED TO TAKE MENHADEN NOR
SHALL MENHADEN BE TAKEN FROM A VESSEL GREATER THAN
FIFTY FEET IN  LENGTH.  No  purse seine or similar
device shall be  used  to take menhaden unless the
vessel from which  such  purse  seine  or  similar
device is used,  tenders  excepted,  is registered
with the commissioner. The use of a purse seine or
similar device to take species other than menhaden
is prohibited. 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 finfish, lobsters, crabs, including blue
crabs, sea scallops  or  squid for resale from any
commercial fisherman unless  such  person has been
licensed by the commissioner. 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. The owner,  operator  or  captain of
any such boat  may sell the boat's or crew's share
of any catch 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.  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.
    Sec.  3.  (NEW)   There   is   established   a
Connecticut Seafood Advisory  Council to assist in
the promotion of  Connecticut seafood products and
examine   market  opportunities.   Said   advisory
council shall consist of two finfish, shellfish or
lobster harvesters or representatives of harvester
organizations appointed one  each  by  the Speaker
and   majority   leader    of    the    House   of
Representatives, two finfish, shellfish or lobster
processors   or   representatives   of   processor
organizations appointed one  each  by the minority
leaders   of   the    Senate    and    House    of
Representatives, one retailer  serving restaurants
or   representing   a    restaurant   organization
appointed by the  President  Pro  Tempore  of  the
Senate,  one  member  at-large  appointed  by  the
majority leader of  the Senate, and four nonvoting
members one of whom shall represent the Department
of Environmental Protection, one the Department of
Economic and Community  Development  and  one  the
Department of Agriculture  and  one  the Sea Grant
Program at The University of Connecticut.
    Sec. 4. This  act  shall  take effect from its
passage.

Approved June 13, 1997