Part 36: Gear and Operation Of Gear
[Last Amended December 10, 2014]
- 36.1 Nets, set and trap lines, eel weirs and eel pots
- 36.2 Commercial fishing in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
- 36.3 Commercial fishing in the Hudson River
§36.1 Nets, set and trap lines, eel weirs and eel pots
(1) License required. No nets of any kind shall be set or used for the taking of fish in the inland waters of the State without a license or permits to do so granted by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
(2) A license issued pursuant to section 11-1503 of the Environmental Conservation Law is not assignable or transferable.
(3) Reports. Every licensee, at expiration of his or her license, or at such intervals during the term of the license as may be determined by the department, shall make a report of catch on forms provided for this purpose.
(1) Kind of nets to be used and duration of license. Only such nets, to the number and of the size of the bar, with leaders and wings, of the length mentioned, shall be used as are specified in the license; licenses shall be granted for no longer than one year and shall expire on the 31st day of December following, unless an earlier date is specified; nets shall be used only during and at the times specified in the licenses.
(2) Location of nets restricted.
(i) Nets shall not be set or used except in the waters mentioned in the license; the setting and hauling of all nets in those waters shall at all times be under the direct supervision and control of the Chief of the Bureau of Fisheries who shall have the power to designate the location of all nets; such location once fixed shall not be changed without the written authority of said Chief of the Bureau of Fisheries or the Department of Environmental Conservation.
(ii) A net licensed under a seine license shall not be staked, anchored or otherwise fastened while in the water unless specifically permitted in the license.
(3) Tagging or marking of nets.
(i) The department shall issue, with each license to operate net, line, weir, pot or other device, with the exception listed in subparagraph (iii), a tag upon which shall be stamped a number corresponding with the number or numbers on the license. Such tag shall be attached to the net or set line when in use in such manner that it will be on the top of or above the water and in plain sight at all times.
(ii) Should a tag or tags be lost or stolen, upon the receipt of a certificate stating the number of the tag or tags and the kind of nets, lines, weirs, pots or other devices used, together with 15 cents for each tag, a duplicate tag or tags will be furnished to the licensee.
(iii) For licensed gear operated in the Hudson River, the license holder is required to mark each net with the license holder's license number in visible black numbers on an orange background. A net shall have attached a marked floating buoy, a scoop, scap or dip net shall be marked on the fixed handle to the net.
(4) Mesh of nets. Nets having a mesh smaller than provided in this Part, except to take minnows as bait, shall not be used or possessed while fishing in the inland waters of the State. The mesh as specified in these regulations shall be measured as prescribed by the department.
(c) Eel pots and weirs.
(1) Size of eel pots. Eel pots shall not be more than six feet long, nor more than 12 inches in diameter if round, nor more than 12 inches square if in square form. The aperture or mouth of any eel pot shall be not more than two inches in its greatest diameter. Fixtures or wings of any kind attached to or used in connection with eel pots is prohibited. Minimum mesh size must be 1 inch by ½inch, unless such pots contain an escape panel that is at least four inches square with a mesh size of one inch by one-half inch located so that the panel is on a side, but not at the bottom of a pot.
(2) Size of eel weirs. For the purposes of these rules, an eel weir shall consist of not to exceed two wings or leaders fastened to an eel trap; no eel trap shall have attached thereto more than one weir; the length of each weir shall be determined by the department or Chief of the Bureau of Fisheries; and the use of weirs of a greater length than specified in the license is prohibited.
(3) Construction of eel weirs. Eel weirs and eel pots shall not be constructed, set or used in any manner so as to unduly obstruct the natural flow of water or interfere with the free passage of boats. The use of eel weirs, the laths of which are less than three eighths of an inch apart, is prohibited. All fish, except eels, taken in an eel weir or an eel pot, shall be immediately returned to the water.
§36.2 Commercial fishing in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
(a) Any person licensed to operate commercial fishing gear pursuant to section 11-1503 of the Environmental Conservation Law may take bullhead, bluegill, bowfin, burbot, carp, cisco, crappie, freshwater drum, gar, gizzard shad, lake whitefish, pumpkinseed, rock bass, sucker, white bass, white perch and yellow perch only. All other species must be immediately returned to the water.
(b) In Lake Erie fish may be taken only in fyke nets and trap nets having a mesh size not less than 1 1/8 inches bar measure. Nets may only be set in waters having a depth greater than 24 feet or four fathoms and at no time may nets be set within two miles of the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek nor within seven miles of the Peace Bridge. From May 1st through October 31st, nets may only be set beyond 1 ½ miles of shore or islands.
(c) In Lake Ontario, including Chaumont Bay, the issuance of gill net licenses is restricted. No new licenses will be issued. Current licenses are available only to those persons who held a valid gill net license on December 31, 1986. All licenses are nontransferable.
(d) The owner of a boat or vessel on Lake Ontario to whom a license to use gill nets has been issued, shall at all times have his or her license in plain sight aboard the boat named in the said license. Gill nets licensed pursuant to section 11-1503 of the Environmental Conservation Law and these rules for use in Lake Ontario shall not be used in connection with, nor operated from, any boat other than the boat named in the said license except on permission in writing from the department. Each licensee shall exhibit his license when requested by an Environmental Conservation officer, or by any police or peace officer in this State, or by any person designated by the department.
(e) Gill nets for taking fish in Lake Ontario shall measure not less than 1 1/8 inches bar measure except gill nets for taking whitefish shall measure not less than 2 3/8 inches bar measure.
(f) In Lake Ontario fyke nets and trap nets may only be set beyond one half mile of shore and beyond one mile of the Niagara River. During the months of June, July, August and September nets may not be set within 1 1/2 miles of the shore between the Government Pier at the outlet of Sodus Bay and Bollerpoint, in the County of Wayne.
(g) In Lake Ontario, in areas where nets may be operated, pursuant to license, trap and fyke nets shall have a mesh of not less than 1 1/8 inches, bar measure.
(h) Except in Chaumont Bay or elsewhere as permitted by the department, nets are prohibited at all times in the bays and harbors of Lake Ontario.
(i) At all times nets are prohibited in the waters of Henderson Bay and the surrounding area bounded as follows: By a line drawn from Horse Island Lighthouse to a point one mile from the most northeasterly point of Galloo Island, thence around the northerly side of Galloo Island and one mile from the shore thereof and extending to a point one mile from the most southwesterly point of Galloo Island, thence in a straight line to a point one mile south of the Ellisburg- Henderson town line, thence along the shore of Lake Ontario and Henderson Bay to the nearest point on the mainland opposite Horse Island Lighthouse, and thence to Horse Island Lighthouse, the place of beginning.
(j) The Chaumont Bay area means the waters of Lake Ontario in Jefferson County within one half mile of the shores, between Horse Island in the Town of Hounsfield and Tibbet's Light in the Town of Cape Vincent including all the waters of Black River Bay, Chaumont Bay, Chaumont River west of Depauville, and the waters within one half mile of the shores of Grenadier and Fox Islands. Fish named in subdivision (a) of this section may be taken from September 15th through May 15th or other dates as specified by department regulation subject to the following provisions:
(1) Nets shall not be used in Mud Bay, except to take bait fish.
(2) Licensed nets set in the Chaumont Bay area shall be visited and all fish removed there from at least once in each 48 hours.
(3) For any year in which the department finds that cold weather has delayed the deployment of trap and fyke nets by persons licensed to use such nets, the department may extend the season during which such nets may be used, but not beyond the Friday preceding the Memorial Day holiday. Prior written notice of such extension shall be provided to all license holders and shall also be provided by press release and any other means that the department finds is likely to reach the affected public
§36.3 Commercial fishing in the Hudson River
(a) Anadromous river herring (alewife and blueback herring) may be taken with nets in the Hudson River from March 15th to June 15th. This subdivision is subject to additional emergency restrictions of the department pursuant to section 11-0315 of the Environmental Conservation Law. For the purposes of this subdivision, anadromous river herring, Hudson River, Hudson River Tributary and Hudson River Embayment shall have the same meaning as defined in Part 10 of this Title.
(b) No net shall be staked, anchored or otherwise fixed in position in the waters of the Hudson River within 1,500 feet upriver or downriver of any other licensee's net. No net shall exceed 600 feet in length.
(c) In the Hudson River south of the Federal Dam at Troy fish may only be taken with gill nets, trap nets, fyke nets, hoop nets, seines, minnow nets, stake stop nets, scoop, scap and dip nets subject to the following provisions:
(1) Seasonal restrictions. During the period December 1st--March 14th, both dates inclusive, no person shall set, place, possess or draw a net of any kind in or on that section of the Hudson River between the Troy Dam and the George Washington Bridge.
(2) Restricted areas. From March 15th to June 15th, both dates inclusive:
(i) No nets of any kind shall be set, placed, drawn or in any way used on the shoals or flats in the Hudson River known as "The Flats" beginning at the red buoy north of Kingston point and continuing in a northerly direction to the red buoy opposite the Village of Barrytown or in any Hudson River tributary or embayment.
(ii) No gill nets shall be possessed in or on that section of the Hudson River between the Federal dam at Troy and the Castleton-on-Hudson (Interstate 90 spur and railroad) bridges.
(iii) Gill nets having a stretched mesh of a maximum of 3 ½ inches stretched mesh, inside measure, through the net, may be possessed and used in or on that section of the Hudson River between the Castleton-on-Hudson (Interstate 90 spur and railroad) bridges and the George Washington Bridge.
(iv) No person shall set a gill net other than a drift gill net in the waters of the Hudson River lying between the Bear Mountain Bridge and the Castleton-on-Hudson (Interstate 90 spur and railroad) bridges nor possess any gill net other than a drift gill net while on the shores or waters of that portion of the Hudson River. For the purposes of this subdivision a drift gill net is defined as a gill net that is not anchored or staked and is free to move with water currents.
(v) Prior to entering a Hudson River Tributary or Embayment, all licensed gear must be stowed in a secured container on deck or in a container below deck.
(3) Mesh restrictions. From March 15th through June 15th:
(i) gill nets having a maximum of 3 ½ inches stretched mesh, inside measure, through the net, may be used to take river herring (alewife or blueback herring). Any American shad taken must be immediately returned to the water.
(4) Escapement period. During the anadromous river herring (alewife and blueback herring) season, from March 15th to June 15th, both dates inclusive, no nets shall be set, placed or drawn or allowed to remain in, or possessed on the waters of the Hudson River below the dam at Troy between 6 a.m. prevailing time on Friday and 6 p.m. prevailing time on the following Saturday.
(5) Gear limits. In the Hudson River from the Bear Mountain Bridge north to the Castleton-on-Hudson (Interstate 90 spur and railroad) bridges, the permittee shall be in immediate attendance while fishing any gill net.
(6) Atlantic tomcod. Atlantic tomcod may be taken from November 1st through March 1st by trap or fyke net and from November 1st through November 30th by gill net.
(7) Operation of licensed nets at night. Nets that have been duly licensed may be operated between ½ hour before sunrise and sunset in the Hudson River south of the barrier dam at Troy to the Bear Mountain Bridge, except as restricted by paragraphs (1) and (5) of this subdivision.