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Part 43 - Subpart 43.1: Surf Clam/ocean Quahog Fishery Management

(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-0305, 13-0308, 13-0309)

[This regulation was last amended 09/09/98.]

Contents:

Sec.

§43-1.1 Purpose

The purpose of this Subpart is to promote and support the maintenance of viable surf clam and ocean quahog populations in select areas of the Marine and Coastal District. The Marine and Coastal District includes the waters of the Atlantic Ocean within three nautical miles from the coastline and all other tidal waters within the State, including the Hudson River up to the Tappan Zee Bridge. The provisions of this Subpart are designed to limit mechanical surf clam and ocean quahog harvesting activities to specifically defined areas of the Marine and Coastal District, to require a special surf clam/ocean quahog mechanical harvesting permit, to provide specific controls over the design of mechanical harvesting gear, weekly and annual harvest quotas, open and closed seasons, and to require recordkeeping and reporting. Such requirements and controls are intended to support the continuation of a limited capacity fishery in the involved waters of the Marine and Coastal District so that the fishery continues to operate in basic balance with available surf clam and ocean quahog stocks and to aid in the management of a complex system of shellfish resources in adjoining waters.

§43-1.2 Applicability

The provisions of this Subpart apply only to those areas of the Marine and Coastal District lying outside the area of the Atlantic Ocean.

§43-1.3 Definitions

Unless context otherwise requires, the following terms and derivatives when used in this Subpart shall have the following meanings:

(a) Atlantic Ocean means all those waters of the Marine and Coastal District, excluding bays and harbors, which are seaward of Long Island's south shore and, at the east end, are southerly of a line between Montauk Point, Long Island, and Southeast Point, Block Island; and, at the west end, are easterly of a line between Rockaway Point, Long Island, and the most northerly tip of Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

(b) Department means the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

(c) Effective fishing area means that area of the sea bottom from which harvesting gear collects shellfish, including: the width or cutting area of blades, bars, wires, suction heads or similar structures or openings, including any water jet area, which affect the swath or overall width of the path from which surf clams and/or ocean quahogs are taken.

(d) Industry standard bushel means a unit of measure which is 1.88 cubic feet in volume.

(e) Standard cage means a container which is 60 cubic feet in volume and holds 32 industry standard bushels of surf clams and/or ocean quahogs in the shell.

§43-1.4 Permit requirements; issuance and revocation procedures

(a) A "Special permit to take surf clams and/or ocean quahogs from public underwater lands other than the Atlantic Ocean by hydraulic or other mechanical means" (hereafter "permit") must be obtained by any person prior to participating in the harvest of surf clams and/or ocean quahogs.

(1) A permit may be applied for by fully completing the application form designed and provided by the department for that purpose.

(2) The following information is required of the applicant for completion of the application form:

(i) name, address, ZIP code;

(ii) full signature and printed name of signatory;

(iii) digger's permit number;

(iv) vessel registration number (i.e., State registration or Federal documentation number) and, if federally documented, vessel name; and

(v) involvement in harvesting activity (i.e., owner/operator of vessel or crew member).

(3) The permit must identify each vessel identified by an applicant, and no vessel may be used in the involved surf clam and/or ocean quahog fishery without being specifically identified on a permit and without there being a person on board such vessel whose permit identifies that vessel and identifies the permit holder as an owner/operator.

(4) A permit may be amended by completing a permit amendment form provided by the department.

(b) The permit will only be issued following the full completion of forms described in section 43-1.4(a) of this Subpart and must contain all the information therein requested.

(c) The revocation of licenses or permits issued pursuant to this Part will be pursuant to the provisions of Part 175 of this Title.

(d) [Reserved]

(e) Nothing in this Subpart precludes or affects the commissioner's authority to issue summary abatement orders pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law, section 71-0301, and rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, or to take emergency actions summarily suspending a permit as provided in section 401(3) of the State Administrative Procedure Act.

§43-1.5 Approved harvest areas and seasons; restrictions

(a) The mechanical harvesting of surf clams and ocean quahogs pursuant to this Subpart may only be undertaken in the following areas:

(1) Long Island Sound east of a line extending due north (magnetic) from the easterly breakwater at the entrance to Mt. Sinai Harbor; and

(2) Gardiners and Napeague Bays east of a line extending between Orient Point, Town of Southold, New York, and Hog Creek Point, Town of East Hampton, New York.

(b) As applicable, the approved harvest area in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section shall extend to the boundary of New York State's territorial sea or the easterly boundary of the Atlantic Ocean defined in section 43-1.3(a) of this Subpart.

§43-1.6 Gear restrictions

(a) Dredging gear with an effective fishing area in excess of 20 inches in width or patent tongs in excess of 48 inches in width shall not be used in Long Island Sound west of an imaginary line extending due north (magnetic) from the dock at the Northville Terminal.

(b) Dredging gear or patent tongs having an effective fishing area of greater than 60 inches shall not be used.

(c) No vessel shall have on board more than one dredge or other type of mechanical harvesting gear during operations undertaken pursuant to this Subpart.

(d) Vessels used in the harvesting of surf clams and/or ocean quahogs pursuant to the provisions of this Subpart must be owned by persons who are either New York State residents or residents of a state having an active surf clam fishery in which New York State residents may participate to the same extent as residents of that state.

§43-1.7 Harvest restrictions; surf clams

(a) The maximum number of industry standard bushels of surf clams to be taken shall not exceed 50,000 industry standard bushels in a calendar year.

(b) Effective January 1, 1992 and for each year thereafter, the department may direct that the maximum quantity of surf clams to be harvested annually be reduced or increased. Written notice of any such directive shall be provided to all permit holders.

(c) Upon 48 hours notice, if it is determined by the department that the maximum allowable harvest of surf clams pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) of this section will be met before the end of any given calendar year, harvesting will be terminated as directed by the department.

(d) No vessel may be used to harvest more than 21 standard cages (equivalent to 672 industry standard bushels) in any weekly, Sunday through Saturday, period between January 1st and June 14th and between September 16th and December 31st. No vessel may be used to harvest more than 100 industry standard bushels in any weekly, Sunday through Saturday, periods between June 15th, and September 15th, all dates inclusive.

(e) No vessel may be used to harvest more than 14 standard cages of surf clams (equivalent to 448 industry standard bushels) in any one day between January 1st and June 14th and between September 16th and December 31st. No vessel may be used to harvest more than 50 industry standard bushels in any one day between June 15th and September 15th, all dates inclusive.

(f) It shall be unlawful for any person to exceed the harvest restrictions set forth in this section or in any directive issued by the department pursuant hereto.

§43-1.8 Harvest restrictions; ocean quahogs

(a) No vessel may be used to harvest more than 14 standard cages of ocean quahogs (equivalent to 448 industry standard bushels) in any one day.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to exceed the harvest restrictions set forth in this section.

§43-1.9 Container and tagging requirements

(a) Surf clams may be landed in standard cages or industry standard bushels only.

(b) In addition to the tagging information required by the provisions of paragraph 42.7(a)(5)of this Title, the permittee shall clearly identify the federally documented name or State registration number of the vessel used in the harvest of the shellfish on each tag.

(c) The department may require that each standard cage or industry standard bushel also be tagged with a special tag supplied by the department. Notice of such requirement shall be given to each permit holder in writing.

§43-1.10 Reporting

(a) Each holder of a permit which identifies such holder as an owner/operator shall, for each Sunday through Saturday period, report harvesting and sales activities to the department by the completion and submission of a report on a form provided by the department.

(b) The report shall be signed by the person providing it and shall include the following information: harvester's (digger's) name, vessel's documented name or registration number, quantity of surf clams and/or ocean quahogs harvested on each day, area of harvest, port of landing, to whom sold and estimated fishing time for each day of fishing.

(c) The report must be received by the department no later than Thursday of the week following the associated report period, or less frequently as directed by the department.