Chapter 193
Enacted 07/09/2015

A N   A C T
Introduced By: Senators Sosnowski, Conley, and Goldin
Date Introduced: March 18, 2015

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
     SECTION 1. Chapter 20-1 of the General Laws entitled "General Provisions" is hereby
amended by adding thereto the following section:
     20-1-12.1. Modifications to possession limits and seasons for marine species
managed under quotas. -- (a) In accordance with regulatory programs promulgated pursuant to
the administrative procedures act, chapter 35 of title 42; and pursuant to the exemption afforded
by § 42-35-18(b)(5); and notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 35.1 of title 42, the director
shall have the authority to modify possession limits and seasons in order to meet the harvest
allocation for a given marine species managed under a quota.
     (b) Notification of changes to public. For all such changes identified in subsection (a) of
this section, the director shall provide notification via a dedicated phone line, electronic
notification to dealers, listserv, and website posting. At least three (3) of these notifications shall
occur a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours prior to the date that the change is to be effective.
     (c) Record of change. For all such changes identified in subsection (a) of this section, the
director shall certify the record of the change, maintain the record, and make it available for
public inspection.
     SECTION 2. Section 20-2.1-9 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-2.1 entitled
"Commercial Fishing Licenses" is hereby amended to read as follows:
     20-2.1-9. Powers and duties of the director. -- It shall be the duty of the director to
adopt, implement effective January 1, 2003, and maintain a commercial fisheries licensing system
that shall incorporate and be consistent with the purposes of this chapter; in performance of this
duty the director shall follow the guidelines and procedures set forth below:
      (1) The rule making rule-making powers of the director to accomplish the purposes of
this chapter shall include the following with regard to commercial fishing licenses and
commercial fishing by license holders:
      (i) Types of licenses and/or license endorsement consistent with the provisions of this
chapter and applicable sections of this title, and limitations on levels of effort and/or on catch by
type of license and/or license endorsement;
      (ii) Design, use, and identification of gear;
      (iii) Declarations for data collection purposes of vessels used in commercial fishing,
which declaration requirements shall in no way, except as otherwise provided for in law, restrict
the use of any vessel less than twenty-five feet (25') in length overall by appropriate holders of
commercial fishing licenses;
      (iv) Areas in Rhode Island waters where commercial fishing of different types may take
place, and where it may be prohibited or limited, and the times and/or seasons when commercial
fishing by type or species may be allowed, restricted, or prohibited;
      (v) Limitations and/or restrictions on effort, gear, catch, or number of license holders and
      (vi) Emergency rules, as provided for in chapter 35 of title 42, to protect an unexpectedly
imperiled fishery resource, resource to provide access to a fisheries resource that is
unexpectedly more abundant, abundant and to protect the public health and safety from an
unexpected hazard or risk. The marine fisheries council shall be notified of all emergency rules
on or before their effective date, and no emergency rule shall become a final rule unless it is
promulgated as provided for in subdivision (3) of this section.
      (2) When implementing the system of licensure set forth in §§ 20-2.1-4, 20-2.1-5, 20-
2.1-6, and 20-2.1-7 and other provisions of this title pertaining to commercial fishing licenses,
permits, and registrations, the director shall consider the effect of the measure on the access of
Rhode Islanders to commercial fishing fishing, and when establishing limitations on effort and/or
      (i) The effectiveness of the limitation:
      (A) In achieving duly established conservation or fisheries regeneration goals or
      (B) In maintaining the viability of fisheries resources overall, including particularly, the
reduction of by-catch, discards, and fish mortality, and in improving efficiency in the utilization
of fisheries resources;
      (C) In complementing federal and regional management programs and the reciprocal
arrangements with other states;
      (ii) The impact of the limitation on persons engaged in commercial fishing on:
      (A) Present participation in the fishery, including ranges and average levels of
participation by different types or classes of participants;
      (B) Historical fishing practices in, and dependence on, the fishery;
      (C) The economics of the fishery;
      (D) The potential effects on the safety of human life at sea;
      (E) The cultural and social framework relevant to the fishery and any affected fishing
communities; and
      (iii) Any other relevant considerations that the director finds in the rule making rule-
making process;
      (iv) The following standards for fishery conservation and management, which standards
shall be understood and applied so far as practicable and reasonable in a manner consistent with
federal fisheries law, regulation, and guidelines:
      (A) Conservation and management measurers shall prevent overfishing, while achieving,
on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery;
      (B) Conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best scientific
information available; available and analysis of impacts shall consider ecological, economic
economic, and social consequences of the fishery as a whole;
      (C) Conservation and management measures shall, where practicable, consider
efficiency in the utilization of fisheries resources; resources except that no such measure shall
have economic allocation as its sole purpose;
      (D) Conservation and management measures shall take into account and allow for
variations among, and contingencies in, fisheries, fishery resources, and catches;
      (E) Conservation and management measures shall, where practicable, minimize costs
and avoid unnecessary duplication;
      (F) Conservation and management measures shall, consistent with conservation
requirements of this chapter (including the prevention and overfishing and rebuilding of
overfished stocks), take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities
in order to (I) provide Provide for the sustained participation of those communities,
communities and (II) to To the extent practicable, minimize adverse economic impacts on those
      (G) Conservation and management measures shall, to the extent practicable: (I)
minimize Minimize by-catch and (II) to To the extent by-catch cannot be avoided, minimize the
mortality of the by-catch;
      (H) Conservation and management measures shall, to the extent practicable, promote the
safety of human life at sea.
      (3) (i) The rule making rule-making process set forth in this subdivision shall conform
with the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, administrative procedures act,
chapter 35 of title 42, and shall include a regulatory agenda for marine fisheries management,
with the advice of the marine fisheries council, in accordance with the requirements of § 42-35-
      (ii) The director shall submit a proposed rule to the marine fisheries council at least sixty
(60) thirty (30) days prior to the proposed date of the public hearing on the rule;
      (iii) The public hearing shall be on either the rule as proposed to the marine fisheries
council by the director or a proposed revision to that rule adopted by the marine fisheries council;
      (iv) The proposed rule rule, as submitted by the director to the marine fisheries council
council, and the council report and recommendation regarding the rule shall both be entered into
the record of the hearing conducted in accordance with the requirements of chapter 35 of title 42;
      (v) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (i) -- (iv) of this subdivision, the
director may promulgate a rule with less than sixty (60) thirty (30) days notice to the marine
fisheries council if and to the extent necessary to comply with federal requirements or to respond
to a sudden change in conditions, conditions where failure to take immediate action would likely
cause harm to fishery resources or participants;
      (vi) The decision of the director shall state the basis for adopting the rule rule, including
a concise statement giving the principal reasons for and against its adoption and the response to
positions entered into the record; and in the case of a rule promulgated in accordance with
paragraph (v) of this subdivision, the reasons for having to take immediate action.
      (4) Matters to be considered in establishing license programs under this chapter. - The
director shall be consistent with the requirements of § 20-2.1-2(6) in establishing and
implementing a licensing system in accordance with the provisions of this chapter that shall be
designed to accomplish marine fisheries management objectives. The licensing system may limit
access to fisheries, particularly commercial fisheries for which there is adequate or greater than
adequate harvesting capacity currently in the fishery and for which either a total allowable catch
has been set or a total allowable level of fishing effort has been established for the purpose of
preventing over-fishing over fishing of the resource or the dissipation of the economic yield
from the fishery. This authority shall include the authority of the director to:
      (i) Differentiate between the level of access to fisheries provided to license holders or
potential license holders on the basis of past performance, dependence on the fishery, or other
      (ii) Establish prospective control dates that provide notice to the public that access to,
and levels of participation in, a fishery may be restricted and that entrance into, or increases in
levels of participation in a fishery after the control date may not be treated in the same way as
participation in the fishery prior to the control date; retroactive control dates are prohibited and
shall not be used or implemented, unless expressly required by federal law, regulation
regulation, or court decision;
      (iii) Establish levels of catch by type of license and/or endorsement which shall provide
for basic and full harvest and gear levels; quotas may be allocated proportionally among classes
of license holders as needed to maintain the viability of different forms of commercial fishing.
      (5) The director shall, by rule annually, with the advice of the marine fisheries council,
develop and update conservation and management plans for the fishery resources of the state,
which conservation and management plans shall be adopted developed and updated prior to to,
and at the same time as as, adoption of any license restrictions on effort or catch. Such plans shall
address stock status, performance of fisheries and quotas, and management and licensing
programs, and offer any recommendations for new or alternative approaches to management
and/or licensing identified by the department or the marine fisheries council. In the development
of the fishery conservation and management plans, priority shall be given to those resources with
the highest value to the state, either for commercial or recreational purposes.
      (6) The director shall report annually to the general assembly and to the citizens
concerning the conservation and management of the fishery resources of the state, noting
particularly the status of any fishery resources that are considered to be over-fished or were
considered to be over-fished in the preceding year.
     SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.
LC001737/SUB A