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Part 44: Lobsters and Crabs

(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-0303, 11-1303, 13-0105, 13-0329, 13-0331, 13-0343-a, 13-0371)

[Last amended June 12, 2013]

Contents:

Sec.

§44.1 Lobsters.

(a) Definitions.

(1) A lobster pot or trap is any box-like or cage-like device that is made of any material, has an entrance or entrances from the outside into a compartment (sometimes called the kitchen) which has a further entrance to a second compartment (sometimes called the parlor), both compartments being on the same level, and is capable of catching lobsters.

(2) Catastrophic loss is the loss of lobster pots or traps or trap tags that exceeds the initial additional allocation of trap tags provided for in paragraph 44.1(d)(2) for routine loss.

(3) Fishing Vessel Trip Report means the reporting forms prescribed by the department.

(4) Historical level of pots or traps fished is the number of pots or traps that the department determines, pursuant to the provisions of this section, were fished by an individual lobster permit holder, during the qualifying period identified by the department, based on data required by the department and supplied by the permit holder.

(5) Lobster Management Area (LMA) 2 is defined as the nearshore area, including State and Federal waters that are nearshore in Southern New England, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the alphabetical order stated:

Point Latitude Longitude Point Latitude Longitude
H 41° 40' N 70° 00' W N 40° 45.5'N 71° 34' W
I 41° 15' N 70° 00' W O 41° 07' N 71° 43' W
J 41° 21.5' N 69° 16' W P 41° 06.5' N 71° 47' W
K 41° 10' N 69° 06.5' W Q 41° 11'30'' N 71° 47'15'' W
L 40° 55' N 68° 54' W R 41° 18'30' N 71° 54'30'' W
M 40° 27.5' N 72° 14' W

(6) Lobster Management Area (LMA) 3 is defined as the area comprised entirely of Federal waters, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the alphabetical order stated:

Point Latitude Longitude Point Latitude Longitude
A 43° 58'N 67° 22'W U 42° 12.5'N 72° 48.5'W
B 43° 41' N 68° 00' W V 39° 50' N 73° 01' W
C 43° 12' N 69° 00' W X 38° 39.5' N 73° 40' W
D 42° 49' N 69° 40' W Y 38° 12' N 73° 55' W
E 42° 15.5'N 69° 40' W Z 37° 12' N 74° 44' W
F 42° 10' N 69° 56' W ZA 35° 34' N 74° 51' W
K 41° 10' N 69° 06.5'W ZB 35° 14.5'N 75° 31' W
N 40° 45.5'N 71° 34' W ZC 35° 14.5'N 71° 24' W
M 40° 27.5'N 72° 14' W

(7) Lobster Management Area (LMA) 4 is defined as the area, including State and Federal waters that are nearshore in the northern Mid-Atlantic, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the alphabetical order stated:

Point Latitude Longitude Point Latitude Longitude
M 40° 27.5'N 72° 14' W P 41° 06.5' N 71° 47' W
N 40° 45.5'N 71° 34' W S 40° 58' N 72° 00' W
O 41° 07' N 71° 43' W T 41° 00.5'N 72° 00'W

From Point T along the New York/New Jersey coast to Point W.

Point Latitude Longitude
W 39° 50'N 74° 09'W
V 39° 50'N 73° 09'W
U 40° 12.5'N 72° 48.5'W

From Point U back to Point M.

(8) Lobster Management Area (LMA) 6 is defined as the area, including New York and Connecticut State waters, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the alphabetical order stated:

Point Latitude Longitude
T 41° 00.5'N 72° 00'W
S 40° 58'N 72° 00'W

From Point S, boundary follows the 3 mile limit of New York as it curves around Montauk Point to Point P.

Point Latitude Longitude
P 41° 06.5'N 71° 47'W
Q 41° 11'30''N 71° 47'15''W
R 41° 18'30''N 71° 54'30''W

From Point R, along the maritime boundary between Connecticut and Rhode Island to the coast; then west along the coast of Connecticut to the western entrance of Long Island Sound; then east along the New York coast of Long Island Sound back to Point T.

(9) Lobster Management Area (LMA) 6B means a portion of LMA 6 referred to as the "Race" which is the area south of the New York-Connecticut State line, north of 41° 10' north latitude, east of 72° 10' west longitude and west of 71° 54' west longitude.

(10) Trap tag means a tag sold by the department or by a vendor or another State or Federal agency recognized by the department to be used to identify legal lobster pots or traps.

(11) Trap tag year means the period from June 1 of a given year through the following May 31st.

(12) Replacement trap tags are those tags which will be issued to a permit holder when a catastrophic loss has occurred within a given year and will bear the same information as the original trap tags but will be distinguished from the original tags in a manner acceptable to the department.

(13) Routine loss is the loss of pots or traps or trap tags equal to the additional allocation of trap tags provided for in paragraph 44.1(d)(2) based on the historical level of pots or traps fished by an individual lobster permit holder.

(14) Dredge means any rectangular or oblong frame device, with or without teeth on the bottom bar or scrape, to which is attached a bag-like or cage-like net or device either flexible or rigid of either metal rings or wire netting or wire cage or a natural or manufactured fiber webbing or any combination of these materials and which is fished by being pulled or towed or dragged along the bottom of a body of water from a boat or vessel.

(15) Carapace length means a measurement from the rear end of the eye socket along a line parallel to the center line of the body shell (carapace) to the rear end of the body shell (carapace).

(16) Land or landed means the bringing of crabs and lobsters to any shore or the transfer of the catch of crabs and lobsters taken from a vessel to any other vessel or in-water storage facility or to the land or to any pier, wharf, dock or other similar structure. When a vessel bearing crabs and lobsters has been tied, moored, or made fast to land, to another vessel, to an in-water storage facility or to any pier, wharf, dock or similar structure, such crabs and lobsters shall be deemed as landed.

(17) Designated navigation channels means the Long Island Intracoastal Waterway and natural or dredged paths through otherwise shoal waters that are used for entering or leaving ports and harbors, the boundaries of which are marked by maintained aids to navigation. Designated navigation channels do not include the main west/east shipping fairway through the center of Long Island Sound.

(18) V-notched lobster is defined as any female lobster that bears a notch or indentation in the base of the flipper that is at least as deep as 1/8 inch, with or without setal hairs. V-notched lobster also means any female lobster which is mutilated in a manner which could hide, obscure, or obliterate such a mark.

(b) Identification of gear used in taking of lobsters

Gear used in taking lobsters must be identified as follows:

(1) All lobster pots or traps, while in operation, must have attached to them a floating buoy or identification marker which must be constructed and placed as to be clearly visible on the surface of the water. Plastic containers, bottles or jugs originally designed to contain liquids must not be used as buoys or markers to identify the location of lobster pots or traps.

(2) Each buoy or marker attached to a lobster pot or trap must be of a distinctive color. The number, including any letters, assigned the holder of a lobster permit for the current year at the time he or she obtains a lobster permit must be painted or otherwise affixed on each buoy or marker in a contrasting color, or branded on each buoy or marker, in clearly visible characters not less than two inches in height. The same color or combination of colors must be used on all buoys or markers bearing the same permit number.

(3) The same number appearing on a buoy or marker shall also be marked or branded, in characters not less than three-fourths inch in height, on all pots or traps identified by that buoy or marker. If the construction of a pot or trap does not allow it to be marked by branding, that pot or trap shall be marked by a tag or other device bearing, in clearly visible and legible characters, the same number appearing on a buoy or marker used to identify that pot or trap. This tag or other device shall be of a material that is not deteriorated by sea water and shall be firmly attached to the pot or trap it identifies. A valid trap tag is an acceptable identifying marker as long as it contains the fishermen's New York State commercial lobster harvester's permit number.

(4) Lobster pots shall not be placed within 25 feet of designated navigation channels, and all floating buoys or identification markers and lines attached to such pots shall remain outside designated navigation channels at all times.

(5) Violations of any provision of this subdivision shall subject the violator to the penalties fixed by the Environmental Conservation Law and may result in the suspension or revocation of any lobster permit.

(c) Construction of escape vents and panels in lobster pots or traps.

(1) Effective June 1, 2000 all lobster pots or traps in use shall contain in the parlor section (that part of a pot or trap farthest from the entrance or entrances which holds the lobsters until they are removed by the permit holder) either one or more unobstructed rectangular openings not less than five and three quarter inches by not less than two inches or two or more unobstructed circular openings not less than two and five-eighths inches in diameter each. These openings, called escape vents, shall be placed so that they are on a side, but not at the bottom or top, of the parlor section of the pot or trap.

(2) In addition to the requirements set forth in paragraph (1) of this subdivision, lobster pots or traps made of any material other than untreated natural wood shall contain on a side, but not the bottom, of the parlor section an escape panel, which when open, will provide an unobstructed opening of not less than three and three-fourths inches by three and three-fourths inches in length and height. The panel may incorporate escape vents having the dimensions described in paragraph (1) of this subdivision. If this panel is constructed of wood, it shall be untreated natural wood not more than three-eighths of an inch thick. If the panel is constructed of any material other than untreated natural wood, it shall be hinged to open. Effective July 19, 2006, the panel shall be hinged in such a manner that upon degradation of the material keeping the panel closed, the panel is released to produce an opening which is not blocked or otherwise obstructed by the panel material. Hinged panels shall be held in the closed position with either untreated, uncoated ferrous wire not more than three thirty-seconds of an inch in diameter or an untreated natural fiber such as cotton, sisal, hemp or manila not more than three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. If the pot or trap is constructed of nylon, polypropylene, or any other synthetic fiber mesh netting placed over the frame, the escape panel may be made by having a section of the mesh netting on the outside of the parlor section comprised of an untreated natural fiber which when rotted out or deteriorated will leave an opening of at least the size specified for an escape panel in this subdivision.

(3) The sizes specified for escape vents and panels in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subdivision are minimum sizes and no penalty will be assessed if a person uses a lobster pot or trap with larger escape vents or panels.

(d) Lobster trap tags.

(1) Effective June 1, 2000, all lobster pots or traps in use or on board any vessel must be marked by a color coded trap tag, issued by the department of Environmental Conservation or by a vendor or another state or federal agency recognized by the department for this purpose. Such tag must be firmly attached to the pot or trap and must indicate, for commercial permit holders, the State issuing the tag, the Lobster Management Area for which the tag is valid, the year issued, and the permit number of the individual issued the New York lobster permit applicable to that pot or trap. For non-commercial permit holders, the tag must indicate the State issuing the tag, the year issued, and a recreational designation. New tags will be issued annually and must be affixed to each pot or trap in use not later than June 1 of each calendar year.

(2) Lobster Management Area Qualifying Criteria. Lobster trap tag applicants shall identify in their annual lobster license application all Lobster Management Areas, as established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, in which they intend to set their pots or traps. The department shall issue trap tags to New York lobster permit holders who intend to fish in Lobster Management Areas 2, 3, 4, and/or 6 only. In addition, the following restrictions shall apply:

(i) Applicants for LMAs 2, 3, and 4 shall be allocated trap tags in accordance with criteria established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and applicable federal regulations.

(ii) Applicants for LMA 6 shall present proof to the department, in accordance with this section, of their participation in the lobster fishery in Area 6 between January 1, 1995 and June 8, 1998 to qualify for the historical trap tag allocation. Initial trap tag allocation shall be based on the historical level of the maximum number of pots or traps fished during the period January 1, 1995 through June 8, 1998.

(iii) Applicants for more than one LMA shall abide by the trap tag allocation for the LMA with the most restrictive trap tag limit of those identified on the lobster license application.

(iv) Applicants for lobster trap tags shall stipulate in their application that they have not applied for nor received trap tags from any other lobster trap tag issuing jurisdiction.

(3) In years following the initial allocation, trap tags will be issued to a permit holder in an amount requested up to the initial year's allocation. However the number of trap tags allocated to a permittee shall be permanently reduced by the number of such trap tags initially allocated to the permittee which was sold to the New York State Empire State Development Corporation and which the Empire State Development Corporation has certified to the department.

(i) There shall be an additional 10 per cent routine loss allowance added to this amount to provide for lost or damaged gear during the trap tag year.

(ii) For license holders identifying LMA 6B as their primary fishing area, an additional 15 per cent routine loss allowance will be granted upon request. This additional allocation shall be solely for use in LMA 6B and shall be so indicated.

(iii) If the routine loss allowance is completely used without a catastrophic loss having occurred, a permit holder may obtain a replacement number of tags equal to the number of unusable tags turned in to the department.

(iv) Tags turned in for such replacement will be reissued with the same identifying information as on those tags being replaced.

(4) The historical level of pots or traps fished for the initial allocation will be determined by the department based on the following:

(i) A Federal Fishing Vessel Trip Report form for the qualifying period, if available, and

(ii) A signed affidavit form, supplied by the department, from the permit holder attesting to the number of pots or traps and areas fished during any one year of the qualifying periods but no more than:

(a) The number of pots or traps indicated on the 1998 lobster permit application form or

(b) The greater number of pots which can be verified during the qualifying period by:

(1) A license application form for an earlier year in the qualifying period and/or

(2) If requested by the department, receipts or canceled checks for the sale of lobsters, the purchase of bait for lobster pots or traps, and the purchase of actual pots or traps, and forms for Income Tax and observer trips made for lobster on an applicant's vessel, which provide verification for the number of pots or traps being claimed in the affidavit or

(3) An allocation by the department of 50 pots provided that the permit holder reported landing lobsters during the qualifying period.

(5) The historical level of pots or traps fished, as determined by the department, may be appealed by any person on the basis of verifiable information supplied by the appellant. The department may publish a notice providing a 30 day public comment period on both the lobster trap allocations requested by the commercial lobster permit holders, and the department's initial determinations.

(6) The department or an agent authorized by the department will issue the trap tags to an individual lobster permit holder based on the department's determination of historical participation for commercial lobster permit holders pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of this subdivision and on application for up to five tags by a non-commercial lobster permit holder. The fee for such trap tags will be established annually by the department and shall be paid in full before the permittee receives their tag allocation for the current year.

(7) Annual trap tags will be issued from January 1 to May 31 of each year and must be firmly attached to any lobster pot or trap in use by June 1. Tags issued under this section will be non-transferable and must be permanently attached to the lobster pot or trap frame, clearly visible for inspection.

(8) If there is a catastrophic loss of trap tags due to unexpected conditions in the fishery during a year, a permit holder will, upon application to the department, be issued a new allotment of trap tags for the remainder of that year which will be distinguished from the original tags (i.e. color).

(i) Replacement trap tags must be placed on all pots or traps within 10 days after issuance.

(ii) Original tags will not be valid after a period of 10 days following issuance of replacement tags.

(iii) Should there be extensive, area wide catastrophic losses or should replacement tags not be immediately available, the department may issue an exemption notice suspending trap tag requirements for appropriate permit holders for a period not to exceed two months.

(9) In the event that a lobster license is reissued to an immediate family member pursuant to Section 13-0328 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the new license holder (i.e., transferee) shall be eligible to receive the trap tag allocation of the former license holder (i.e., transferor). This trap tag allocation shall only be used in the approved Lobster Management Area (LMA) of the former license holder.

(10) The Director, Bureau of Marine Resources of the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, is authorized to implement and administer the policies and procedures set forth in this subdivision, on behalf of the department, which are necessary for the issuance of lobster trap tags pursuant to E.C.L. Section 13-0329.

(e) Temporary Emergency Authorization to Tend Gear.

(1) In the event that a lobster license holder experiences a temporary medical emergency which renders the license holder incapable of operating an endorsed vessel or conducting fishing operations on a non-endorsed vessel, the license holder may apply to the department in writing for permission to authorize another lobster license holder to tend the applicant's lobster gear. If the department approves such application, the department shall issue a letter of authorization which shall be carried by the party authorized to tend the applicant's gear at all times while conducting activities authorized by such letter.

(i) A temporary medical emergency shall only be approved for 30 days, and may be extended in 30 day increments. No more than twelve such 30 day extensions shall be granted for a specific temporary medical emergency

(ii) A doctor's evaluation shall accompany each request for authorization under this section and each 30 day extension thereof. The medical evaluation shall be specific as to why the disability is temporary and why the licensee cannot perform the functions needed to comply with the law without the requested relief. If the medical evaluation calls for additional evaluation or treatment, the licensee shall provide evidence to the department that the licensee made good faith efforts to pursue such further evaluation or treatment during the 30 day period, in order to qualify for an extension pursuant to this subdivision.

(iii) The Director, Bureau of Marine Resources, is authorized to grant approvals and authorizations pursuant to this subdivision.

(f) Lobster size limits.

(1) After January 1, 2004, no person shall possess or land any lobster with a carapace less than three and three eighths inches in length while on or in the New York State waters of LMA 4.

(2) No person shall possess or land, in New York State waters of LMA 4, any lobster with a carapace which exceeds five and one quarter inches in length.

(3) All applicants for a New York State commercial lobster permit or New York State lobster landing license shall designate which of the lobster management areas they chose to fish in for the time period in which the permit is valid. Designated LMAs cannot be changed until the following permit year. Applicants will only be allowed to designate LMAs that they are qualified to fish in according to the criteria specified in paragraph 44.1(d)(2). Permittees who designate more than one LMA in their application shall abide by the lobster size and possession limits of the most restrictive of the designated LMAs, regardless of where they are fishing. Any person who possesses more than one commercial lobster permit shall abide by the lobster size and possession limits of the most restrictive of the LMAs designated on all of their permits, regardless of where they are fishing. Any permittee who fails to designate an LMA on their application shall abide by the most restrictive of the LMA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and OCC lobster size and possession limits. The department shall provide license holders written notice of the current lobster size and possession limits of LMA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 annually.

(g) Mandatory V-notching.

(1) All legal size egg-bearing female lobsters captured in LMA 4 must be V-notched and immediately released back in the water. V-notches must be to the right of the center flipper as viewed from the rear of the female lobster when the underside of the lobster is down. The V-notch should be made by means of a sharp bladed instrument, at least one quarter inch in depth and not greater than one half inch in depth and tapering to a sharp point.

(2) Permittees who designate more than one LMA in their lobster permit application shall abide by the V-notching rules of the most restrictive of the designated LMAs, regardless of where they are fishing. Any person who possesses more than one commercial lobster permit shall abide by the V-notching rules of the most restrictive of the LMAs designated on all of their permits, regardless of where they are fishing. Any permittee who fails to designate an LMA on their application shall abide by the most restrictive of the LMAs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and Outer Cape Cod (OCC) V-notching rules. The department shall provide license holders written notice of the current V-notching rules of LMAs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and OCC annually.

(3) The landing or possession of any V-notched female lobster is prohibited. This prohibition applies to all persons other than a final purchaser or consumer.

(h) Season closure.

(1) The harvest and landing of lobsters from LMA 4 is prohibited from February 1 through March 31.

(2) During the February 1 through March 31 closure, lobster permit holders who use lobster traps or pots will have a two week period to remove lobster pots from the water after the closed season begins. No lobster trap or pot may be in the water from February 15 to March 24, unless the lobster permit holder also holds appropriate license(s) to harvest other species from their traps or pots. Lobster permit holders may set un-baited lobster traps or pots one week prior to the end of the closed season.

(3) Permittees who designate more than one LMA in their lobster permit application shall abide by the closed seasons rules in all designated LMAs, regardless of where they are fishing. Any person who possesses more than one commercial lobster permit shall abide by the closed season rules of the LMAs designated on all of their permits, regardless of where they are fishing. Any permittee who fails to designate an LMA on their application shall abide by all the closed season rules of the LMAs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and Outer Cape Cod (OCC). The department shall provide license holders written notice of the current closed season rules of LMAs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and OCC annually.

(4) These regulations apply to both commercial and recreational lobstermen.

§44.2 Crabs.

(a) Definitions.

(1) A crab pot or trap means a box-like device, made of any material, which is usually square or pyramid shaped either with sides that fall open to provide ingress, or with sides with openings to the lower of two inner chambers, the upper being reached through a slotted baffle, or, if having only one chamber, sides with openings to that chamber.

(2) Sinking line means negatively buoyant line which will sink to the bottom of the water column if not supported by a buoy. Braided steel cable shall not be used as a sinking line.

(3) Terrapin Excluder Device means a rectangular metal device not larger than (in either dimension) 6 inches wide by 2 inches high attached to the end of the entrance funnel of a crab trap.

(4) Carapace Width means the longest straight line width of the body shell, including any spines or spikes, but not including claws, legs or other appendages.

(5) Peeler or shedder blue crab means a hard blue crab which has a fully formed soft shell beneath the hard outer shell and the impending shedding process is evidenced by the white sign along the outer rim of the paddle-like appendages on the crab's fifth pair of legs.

(b) Identification of gear used in taking of crabs.

Effective January 1, 2007, gear used in taking crabs shall be identified as follows:

(1) If crab pots or traps are marked on the surface of the water, they shall have attached to them a floating buoy or identification marker using sinking line as defined in paragraph (a) of this section. Braided steel cable shall not be used as sinking line. The floating buoy or identification marker must be constructed and placed so as to be clearly visible on the surface of the water. Containers, bottles or jugs originally designed to contain liquids shall not be used a buoys or markers to identify the location of crab pots or traps.

(2) Each buoy or marker attached to a crab pot or trap shall be of a distinctive color contrasting sufficiently with the background water color to be visible in daylight for a minimum distance of 100 feet. The number, including any letters, assigned the holder of a crab permit for the current year at the time he or she obtains a crab permit shall be painted or otherwise affixed on each buoy or marker in a contrasting color, or branded on each buoy or marker, in clearly visible characters. The same color or combination of colors shall be used on all buoys or markers bearing the same permit number. In addition, all crab pot buoys shall be marked with fluorescent or reflective paint, tape, or other reflective material or reflectors.

(3) All blue crab pots or traps shall be marked or branded, in characters not less than three-fourths inch in height with the number, including any letters, assigned the holder of a crab permit. If the construction of a pot or trap does not allow it to be marked by branding, that pot or trap shall be marked by a tag or other device bearing, in clearly visible and legible characters, the same number appearing on a buoy or marker used to identify that pot or trap. This tag or other device shall be of a material that is not deteriorated by sea water and shall be firmly attached to the pot or trap it identifies.

(4) Blue crab pots shall not be placed within 25 feet of designated navigation channels, and all floating buoys or identification markers and lines attached to such pots shall remain outside designated navigation channels at all times, except that:

(i) blue crab pots which are directly attached to the shoreline or a bulkhead may be placed within 25 feet of a designated navigation channel provided that neither the pot nor any attached lines or markers are within such channel; and

(ii) blue crab pots or traps that are affixed to a vessel with at least one person aboard may be placed within 25 feet of a designated navigation channel.

(5) Violations of any provision of this Part shall subject the violator to the penalties fixed by the Environmental Conservation Law and may result in the suspension or revocation of any crab permit.

(c) Construction of escape panels in blue crab pots or traps.

(1) Effective January 1, 2007, blue crab pots or traps made of any material other than untreated natural wood shall contain on a side of the pot, but not the bottom, an escape panel, which when open, will provide an unobstructed oval or rectangular opening of not less than six and one half inches by five inches in length and height. If this panel is constructed of wood, it shall be untreated natural wood not more than three-eighths of an inch thick. If the panel is constructed of any material other than untreated natural wood, it shall be hinged to open. The panel shall be hinged in such a manner that upon degradation of the material keeping the panel closed, the panel is released to produce an opening which is not blocked or otherwise obstructed by the panel material. Hinged panels shall be held in the closed position with either untreated, uncoated ferrous wire not more than three thirty-seconds of an inch in diameter or an untreated natural fiber such as cotton, sisal, hemp or manilla not more than three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. If the pot or trap is constructed of nylon, polypropylene, or any other synthetic fiber mesh netting placed over the frame, the escape panel may be made by having a section of the mesh netting on the outside of the parlor section comprised of an untreated natural fiber which when rotted out or deteriorated will leave an opening of a least the size specified for an escape panel in this subdivision.

(2) No person shall set or place a blue crab pot or trap in the waters of the state unless such pot or trap is equipped with an escape panel of the minimum size specified in paragraph (1) of this subdivision, except that no escape panel shall be required for blue crab pots or traps with sides that fall open to provide ingress.

(d) Use of terrapin excluder device in blue crab pots or traps.

(1) If the Department determines that mortality of diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) in blue crab pots is causing a decline in the terrapin population of a given water body or area, the Department may by order mandate use of terrapin excluder devices in such areas.

(2) The terrapin excluder device, as defined in paragraph 44.2 (a)(3) of this section, shall be securely fastened inside each funnel to effectively reduce the size of the funnel opening to no larger than six inches wide and two inches high.

(3) The Director, Bureau of Marine Resources, is authorized to issue orders to designate areas in which terrapin excluders are required pursuant to this section.

(e) Blue crab size limits.

After June 1, 2006, no person shall possess or land any blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) with a carapace width less than four and one half inches in length for hard shell blue crabs, three and one half inches in length for soft shell blue crabs, and three inches in length for peeler or shedder blue crabs.

§44.3 Horseshoe Crabs.

(a) Definitions.

(1) Horseshoe crabs are members of the arthropod infra order chelicerata, Limulus polyphemus.

(2) Prosomal width means the widest straight line width of the body.

(3) Land means the bringing of horseshoe crabs to any shore or the transfer of the catch of horseshoe crabs taken from a vessel to any other vessel or in-water storage facility or to the land or to any pier, wharf, dock or other similar structure. When a vessel bearing horseshoe crabs has been tied, moored, or made fast to land, to another vessel, to an in-water storage facility or to any pier, wharf, dock or similar structure, such crabs shall be deemed as landed.

(4) Harvest limit means the maximum number of horseshoe crabs that can be harvested and/or landed by a vessel during a period of time, not less than 24 hours, in which fishing is conducted. If a vessel is not used in the harvest of horseshoe crabs, the harvest limit means the maximum number of horseshoe crabs that can be harvested and possessed per licensed individual, during a period of time, not less than 24 hours, in which fishing is conducted. Harvesters may not at any time possess live horseshoe crabs aboard their vessel in excess of the number permitted under the harvest limit.

(b) Horseshoe crab fishing - general provisions.

(1) The total annual commercial fisheries bait harvest of horseshoe crabs may not exceed the amount annually allocated to New York State by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission pursuant to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs for the period January 1 through December 31.

(2) Following consultation with industry, the department may establish quota periods and harvest limits such that the harvest does not exceed the commercial fisheries bait quota assigned to New York.

(3) When the department determines that harvest limits are necessary, such harvest limits will be required and enforceable upon 72 hours notice to permit holders. Such harvest limits may be further reduced or increased by written direction by the department.

(4) If the department determines based on harvester reporting pursuant to this section that the commercial fisheries bait horseshoe crab quota allocation will have been harvested before the end of the year, harvesting for commercial purposes will be prohibited by the department and such closure shall be enforceable upon 72 hours written notice to permit holders.

(5) A person may only apply for and hold one horseshoe crab permit type issued under this section in a calender year.

(6) It is the responsibility of the holder of a Horseshoe Crab Bio-medical Users Permit to ensure all horseshoe crab which are used in the production of amebocyte lysate shall either be returned to the location of harvest as approved by the department as soon as possible after the bleeding process, or be sold as bait and reported as bait harvest in compliance with subdivision (d) of this section.

(c) Permits.

(1) No person shall take or possess horseshoe crabs for commercial purposes without first applying and obtaining a horseshoe crab commercial bait harvesters permit from the department. For purposes of this section, a person shall be presumed to be taking or possessing horseshoe crabs for "commercial purposes" where that individual has in excess of 5 individual horseshoe crabs in possession, or sells, trades, barters or offers for sale any horseshoe crabs. A permit to take horseshoe crabs for commercial purposes will be issued at no cost to individuals who possess a valid commercial crab license. No crabs harvested under this permit may be legally sold, traded, and/or bartered for use in any industry other then the commercial fishing industry.

(2) No person shall take or possess horseshoe crabs for bio- medical purposes without first applying and obtaining a horseshoe crab bio-medical harvesters permit from the department. For purposes of this section, a person shall be presumed to be taking or possessing horseshoe crabs for bio-medical purposes where that person sells, trades, barters and/or offers for sale any horseshoe crab which is used in the production of amebocyte lysate. A permit to take horseshoe crabs for bio-medical purposes will be issued at no cost to persons who possess a valid commercial crab license. Crabs harvested under this permit may only be legally sold, traded, and/or bartered to the holders of a valid horseshoe crab bio-medical users permit.

(3) No person shall purchase or possess horseshoe crabs for bio- medical purposes without first applying and obtaining a horseshoe crab bio-medical users permit from the department. For purposes of this section, a person shall be presumed to be purchasing horseshoe crabs for bio- medical use where that person purchases any horseshoe crab which is used in the production of amebocyte lysate. Horseshoe crabs may only be purchased from the holders of a valid horseshoe crab bio-medical harvesters permit. Permits will only be issued at no cost to persons who have been approved by the United States Federal Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to produce amebocyte lyrate.

(4) Permits issued under this section shall be nontransferable and shall expire on the last day of December in the year issued.

(5) Permit modification, suspension, or revocation shall be pursuant to Part 175 of this title.

(6) The holder of a horseshoe crab commercial bait harvesters permit or a horseshoe crab bio-medical harvesters permit issued pursuant to this section shall carry on his or her person or post on his or her vessel such permit at all times when fishing under the authority of such permit.

(d) Reporting.

(1) All horseshoe crab commercial bait harvesters permit holders shall file accurate and complete harvesting reports of their horseshoe crab fishing activities, regardless whether or not the permittee has exercised the privilege of his or her permit, on forms to be provided by the department. Failure to comply with harvest reporting requirements may result in the suspension of the current horseshoe crab commercial bait harvester permit and/or the denial of future Horseshoe Crab Commercial Bait Harvester Permits issued pursuant to this section.

(i) During the months of January, February, March, April, August, September, October, November, and December, all horseshoe crab commercial bait permittees will be required to submit harvesting reports to the department on a monthly basis. Reports for each month shall be submitted to the department by the 5th business day of the following month. However the department reserves the right to institute weekly reporting during this period should it be deemed necessary.

(ii) During the months of May, June and July permittees will be required to submit harvesting reports to the department on a weekly basis to ensure that quota period allocations and annual quotas are not exceeded. Such weekly harvesting reports shall be received by the department by the 5th business day of the subsequent week.

(2) All horseshoe crab bio-medical harvester permit holders shall file accurate and complete monthly harvesting reports of their horseshoe crab fishing activities, on forms to be provided by the department. Reports for each month shall be submitted to the department by the 5th business day of the following month. Additionally all horseshoe crab bio-medical harvester Permit holders shall notify the department 24 prior to the commencement of harvesting activities and report number of horseshoe crabs intended to be harvested, intended harvest location, place and approximate time of landing and horseshoe crab bio-medical users permit number. In addition the department may elect accompany the horseshoe crab bio-medical harvester permit holder to monitor such activities granted under the permit. Failure to comply with harvest reporting requirements may result in the suspension of the current horseshoe crab bio-medical harvester permit and/or the denial of future horseshoe crab bio-medical harvester permit issued pursuant to this section.

(3) All horseshoe crab bio-medical user permit holders shall file accurate and complete monthly reports of their activities, on forms to be provided by the department. Reports for each month shall be submitted to the department by the 5th business day of the following month. The holder of a horseshoe crab bio-medical user permit shall notify the department 24 hours prior to the return of horseshoe crabs to the approved harvest location. In addition the department may elect accompany the horseshoe crab bio-medical user permit holder to monitor such activities granted under the permit. Failure to comply with reporting requirements may result in the suspension of the current horseshoe crab bio-medical user permit holders horseshoe crab bio-medical user permit and/or the denial of future horseshoe crab bio-medical user permit holders permit issued pursuant to this section.

(e) Manner of Taking.

(1) Horseshoe crabs may only be taken for commercial and biomedical purposes by the following methods: hand harvest, pound net, trap net, gill net, otter trawl, seine or dredge.

(2) Dredges used to harvest horseshoe crabs shall not be greater than six feet in width (seventy two inches), except that if an individual submits a notarized written affirmation to the Department by December, 2001 certifying that he or she used a dredge with a bottom bar or scrape larger than 72 inches to harvest horseshoe crabs during the year 2000 in New York's Marine and Coastal District, and reported the use of such dredge to harvest horseshoe crabs on his or her 2000 New York State horseshoe crab harvester report, the Department may permit him or her to continue to use such dredge until March 31, 2004.

(3) Except during the months of September and October, dredges as defined in 44.1(a)(14) may not be used to harvest horseshoe crabs in the Atlantic Ocean. The possession or landing of horseshoe crabs from any vessel having a dredge onboard is also prohibited.

(f) Closed Areas.

(1) The Department, following consultation with horseshoe crab permit holders and other interested parties, may establish, by directive, closed areas for commercial hand-harvest of horseshoe crabs if the Department determines that:

(i) there is documented evidence, verified by the Department, that the area receives significant use by: (a) spawning horseshoe crabs during the horseshoe crab spawning season; and (b) the following shorebird species for which horseshoe crab eggs are an important food source: dunlin, semipalmated sandpiper, sanderling, ruddy turnstone, greater yellowlegs, American golden-plover, black-bellied plover, buff-breasted sandpiper, short-billed dowitcher, red knot, purple sandpiper, marbled godwit, Hudsonian godwit, and whimbrel; or

(ii) the area is managed by a local, state, or federal agency or governing body as a Public Recreation Area, and such agency or governing body has requested that the Department restrict horseshoe crab hand-harvesting.

(2) In the event that the Department directs that an area be closed pursuant to paragraph 1 of this subdivision, the Department shall notify commercial harvesters of such directive not less than 30 days prior to the effective date of such closure.

(g) The Director of the Bureau of Marine Resources is authorized to make determinations and issue directives pursuant to this subdivision.

§44.4 Reporting Requirements.

(a) Marine commercial lobster, lobster landing, lobster bait gill net, horseshoe crab and crab permit holders.

(1) Any person who is the holder of a marine commercial lobster, lobster landing or lobster bait gill net permit issued pursuant to section 13-0329 of the Environmental Conservation Law, a marine commercial crab permit issued pursuant to section 13-0331 of the Environmental Conservation Law, or a horseshoe crab permit issued pursuant to 6 NYCRR 44.3(c), shall complete and submit an accurate fishing Vessel Trip Report for each commercial fishing trip, detailing all fishing activities and all species landed, on a form prescribed by the department. The permit holder shall submit such fishing reports monthly to the department within 15 days after the end of each month or at a frequency specified by the department in writing. Fishing Vessel Trip Reports shall be completed, signed, and submitted to the department for each month; if no fishing trips were made during a month, a report must be submitted for that month stating no trips were made. Incomplete fishing Vessel Trip Reports or unsigned reports will not satisfy these reporting requirements. Any New York permit holder who is also the holder of a federal fishing permit issued by NOAA Fisheries Service must instead meet the reporting requirements specified by NOAA Fisheries Service. If requested in writing by the department, New York permit holders who also hold federal fishing permits shall submit to the department the state (blue) copy of the Fishing Vessel Trip Report (NOAA Form No. 88-30) for the month or months identified in the written notification.

(2) The fishing Vessel Trip Report must be completed with all required information, except for information not yet ascertainable, and signed before the vessel arrives at the dock or lands the catch. Information that may be considered unascertainable before arriving at the dock or landing includes dealer name, dealer number, and date sold.

(b) Food fish and crustacea dealers and shippers licenses. Any person who is the holder of a marine and coastal district food fish and crustacea dealers and shippers license issued pursuant to section 13-0334 of the Environmental Conservation Law shall: (1) Complete and sign an accurate Purchases From Fishing Vessels and/or Fishermen report detailing each purchase of marine food fish, crustacea, horseshoe crabs, and whelks from harvesters on a form prescribed by the department. The license holder must submit these reports to the department within 3 days after the end of each week, or at a frequency specified by the department in writing. A Purchases From Fishing Vessels and/or Fishermen report shall be completed, signed and submitted to the department each week; if no purchases of food fish, crustacea, horseshoe crabs or whelks were made during that week, a report must be submitted stating no purchases were made for the week. Incomplete Purchases From Fishing Vessels and/or Fishermen reports or unsigned reports will not satisfy these reporting requirements. Any New York license holder who is also the holder of a federal dealers permit issued by NOAA Fisheries Service must instead satisfy the reporting requirements specified by NOAA Fisheries Service. (2) Effective January 1, 2012, submit complete and accurate purchases from fishing vessels and/or fishermen reports to the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) through its website at www.accsp.org. Any New York license holder who is also the holder of a federal dealers permit issued by NOAA Fisheries Service must instead meet the reporting requirements specified by NOAA Fisheries Service.

(c) License holders subject to the provisions of this subdivision shall present their fishing Vessel Trip Reports or Purchases From Fishing Vessel Reports and/or Fishermen and make them available for inspection upon the request of an authorized agent of the department or NOAA Fisheries Service. Reports shall be submitted to the department at the following address: NYSDEC, Bureau of Marine Resources, 205 N. Belle Mead Road, Suite # 1, East Setauket, New York 11733. Reports may be mailed, faxed, emailed or submitted by any other method approved by the department.

(d) In fulfillment of these reporting requirements, license holders subject to the provisions of this subdivision may choose to submit purchases from fishing vessels data or fishing trip data online at the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program website, www.accsp.org. Complete and accurate fishing trip and purchase data submissions to this website will satisfy the reporting requirements specified in this subdivision. License holders who submit fishing data electronically must maintain a dated logbook, on board the specific fishing vessel, that details all fishing activities for each fishing trip. Data to be recorded in this logbook must include the vessel name, date sailed and date landed, species and weight of the species taken during the dated trip, and other information required by the department. Entries must be entered into the logbook before the vessel arrives at the dock or lands the catch.

(e) Failure to file fishing Vessel Trip Reports or Purchases From Fishing Vessel and/or Fishermen Reports as required may disqualify the owner or operator from receiving future licenses or permits pursuant to Part 175 of this title. Any person who falsifies any fishing Vessel Trip Report or Purchases from Fishing Vessel and/or Fishermen Report shall be subject to the penalties established pursuant to the provisions of Article 71 of Environmental Conservation Law and may be subject to permit revocation pursuant to Part 175 of this Chapter.

§44.5 Confidentiality of Fisheries Data

Fisheries data, statistics or other information collected from individual permit or license holders by the department or available to the department from other states or the federal government shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except to an authorized user or when required under court order; provided, however, that the department may release or make public any statistics in an aggregate or summary form (with no less than three submitters contributing to that statistic) which does not directly or indirectly disclose the identity of any person who submits such statistics. For the purposes of these regulations an authorized user is any person that is employed by or under contract to the department or who is employed by or is under contract to the NOAA Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the New England Fishery Management Council, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, or the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia or Florida, and who has been designated by such agency or state, under the auspices of the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program to require confidential data as a means to fulfill their job and their job is related to fisheries management and conservation.

§44.6 Chinese Mitten Crabs (Eriocheir sinensis).

(a) No person shall liberate Chinese mitten crabs (Eriocheir sinensis) into the waters of the State.

(b) No person shall possess, import, transport, buy, sell or offer to buy or sell Chinese mitten crabs, whether alive or dead, in New York State.

(c) Chinese mitten crabs, except those lawfully held pursuant to a license or permit issued under section 11-0515 of the Environmental Conservation Law, shall be destroyed.