A N A C T
RELATING TO LOBSTERS AND OTHER CRUSTACEANS
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 20-7-11.1 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-7 entitled "Lobsters and Other Crustaceans" is hereby amended to read as follows:
20-7-11.1. Lobster pots -- Color scheme required 20-7-11.1. Lobster pots -- (a) Each and every pot, trap, or other device used for the taking of lobsters or crabs in any of the waters of this state shall bear a color scheme on the attached buoy. Each applicant for a lobster license shall state the color scheme that he or she desires to use. These colors, unless disapproved by the director of environmental management,
may shall be stated in the license, and all buoys used by the licensee shall be marked accordingly. Each licensee shall cause his or her color scheme to be displayed on any lobster boat used by the licensee in the waters of this state. Those colors shall be painted on the port and starboard sides of the hull in a section not less than one foot (1') square, or a clearly painted buoy shall be set at the highest point on the boat excluding the mast and be visible for three hundred sixty degrees (360 degrees). The buoy or colors must be prominently displayed on the vessel at all times that lobster gear fished under that license is in the water.
(b) No person shall place, set, lift, raise, unduly disturb, draw in, or transfer any pot, trap, or other device used for the taking of lobsters unless the color scheme of the attached buoy is the same as the color scheme that is on file with the license application and displayed on the boat used by that person, or unless that person is duly licensed and possesses written permission from the rightful owner of the pot, trap, or other device.
(c) The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council shall have the authority to promulgate regulations requiring the tagging of lobster traps. The director of the department of environmental management is authorized to promulgate regulations which establish a fee for official state lobster trap tags. Any fee collected by the department will be retained by the agency subject to section 20-2-28.2 to be used for the exclusive purpose of producing and distributing the trap tags and, if necessary, supporting other lobster fishery management measures, including enforcement of the trap tag program; provided, however, that (1) the department shall not establish a fee to cover any cost other than the cost of trap tags without first obtaining a recommendation from an advisory committee in accordance with subsection (d); and (2) the department shall report to the general assembly regarding the need for the fee to cover any such additional cost in accordance with subsection (d).
(d) The department shall create an advisory committee composed of five (5) members of the lobster industry that utilize trap tags. The director or his/her designee will serve on the committee and act as chairman. The committee will formulate recommendations on the expenditure of the funds derived from the tagging program. The department shall prepare an annual report for submittal to the general assembly which summarizes the status of the lobster management and trap tag program, management actions, program needs, and catch and effort data, and which provides an itemized listing of all program expenses. This report shall be available to the public and provided to each commercial fishing organization in the state.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.