23:3-51 License to take menhaden, prohibited takings.
23:3-51. a. Any person who intends to take menhaden with a purse seine or shirred net from any State waters, including the waters of the Atlantic ocean within three nautical miles of the State coast line, shall apply to the commissioner for a Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel License or a Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel Operator's License, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of this section. Upon receipt of the application and payment of the fee required pursuant to R.S.23:3-52, the commissioner may, in the commissioner's discretion and as prescribed pursuant to sections 2 and 3 of P.L.2010, c.72, issue to the applicant a Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel License or a Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel Operator's License, as appropriate, except as prohibited by subsection b. of this section. A license issued pursuant to this section shall be valid only for the calendar year for which it is issued, and shall be renewed on an annual basis.
b.Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section, the provisions of P.L.2013, c.74 (C.23:3-51.2 et al.), or the provisions of any other law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, the commissioner shall not issue a license for the taking of menhaden, and no person shall take menhaden, from State coastal waters, including the Delaware, Great, Raritan, and Sandy Hook bays, for the purpose of reduction, including the conversion of menhaden to fish meal, oil, or other components.
This subsection shall not be understood to prohibit the taking of menhaden in State coastal waters for the use as bait for commercial or recreational purposes or in whole frozen form for use as human food.
c. (1) The following types of vessels, and their owners or operators, are subject to licensure pursuant to this section:
(a)Any purse seine catch vessel that takes menhaden from State waters on an individual trip basis; and
(b)Any purse seine carry vessel that works in conjunction with the purse seine catch vessel identified in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph.
(2)A menhaden set vessel that participates only in the setting of a purse seine or shirred net in conjunction with a purse seine catch vessel is exempt from licensure pursuant to this section.
(3)A license issued pursuant to this section shall remain on board the licensed vessel at all times.
(4)The holder of a license issued pursuant to this section shall not use, have on board the licensed vessel, or work in conjunction with any other vessel that uses any type of fishing gear other than a purse seine or shirred net.
d.A Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel License shall be issued in the name of the vessel and the vessel's owner or owner/operator. If the vessel owner is not the operator of the vessel, a Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel License shall be issued to the vessel owner, as provided in this paragraph, and a separate Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel Operator's License shall be issued to, and in the name of, the vessel operator, in accordance with the provisions of this section and subsection c. of R.S.23:3-52.
e. (1) No vessel licensed pursuant to this section shall be greater than 90 feet in overall length.
(2)Whenever a Menhaden Purse Seine Fishing Vessel License is issued for a menhaden purse seine catch vessel pursuant to this section, the licensee shall provide the commissioner with certified baseline data indicating the overall length and horsepower of the vessel. Any upgrade or replacement of a licensed purse seine catch vessel shall be limited to a 10 percent increase in overall vessel length, and a 20 percent increase in horsepower.
f.The possession of any fish other than menhaden on a vessel licensed under this section is limited to no more than 500 pounds. The simultaneous possession aboard a vessel of a purse seine or shirred net, menhaden, and any other fish in an amount greater than 500 pounds shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this subsection.
g. (1) Before commencing menhaden fishing activities on any given day, a person licensed under this section shall notify the department, by phone or, if applicable and offered by the department, by electronic means, of the intention to fish under this section, and the vessel's intended fishing location. The licensee shall also notify the department, by phone or, if applicable and offered by the department, by electronic means, of any anticipated change in the vessel's fishing location. After a licensee has provided notice to the department of their intention to fish for menhaden pursuant to this section on any particular day, the licensee shall be limited, on that day, to the use of a purse seine or shirred net.
(2)Fishing for menhaden pursuant to this section shall be restricted to those areas in the Raritan, Sandy Hook, and Delaware Bays, and in the Atlantic Ocean, which are located at a distance of 0.6 nautical miles or more from the New Jersey coastline and the jetties and fishing piers extending therefrom.
(3)Fishing for menhaden in the Delaware Bay shall be further restricted to those areas of the Bay that lie south and east of LORAN C line 42850, or to any other area of the Bay, as may be designated by the commissioner.
(4)It shall be incumbent upon the vessel operator to determine whether a purse seine or shirred net is likely to drift, during fishing, beyond the fishing boundaries established by this subsection. The drifting of a purse seine or shirred net into any restricted area along the shore or around a jetty or pier while fishing shall constitute a violation of this subsection.
h.No person engaged in the act of fishing pursuant to this section shall disturb any: (a) channel designating stakes, markers, or buoys; (b) crab pots, lobster pots, fish pots, or traps; or (c) staked and leased shellfish grounds.
amended 1951, c.93, s.2; 1979, c.199, s.66; 2001, c.359; 2010, c.72, s.1; 2013, c.74, s.2.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016