TITLE 20
Fish and Wildlife

CHAPTER 20-2.1
Commercial Fishing Licenses

SECTION 20-2.1-2


§ 20-2.1-2 Purposes.

The purposes of this chapter are, through a system of licensure that is clear, predictable and adaptable to changing conditions, to:

(1) Preserve, enhance, and allow for any necessary regeneration of the fisheries of the state, for the benefit of the people of the state, as an ecological asset and as a source of food and recreation;

(2) Provide Rhode Islanders who wish to fish commercially the opportunity to do so and end the moratorium on issuance of new commercial fishing licenses so that new licenses may be issued for the year beginning January 1, 2003, and each year thereafter;

(3) Allow residents who have fished commercially to sell their vessels and gear in a manner that first, facilitates up-grading license levels among residents already in the fishery; that second, provides lateral movement among residents who are holders of commercial fishing licenses to other types of fishing; and that third, enables new entrants into new commercial fishing;

(4) Respect the interests of residents who fish under licenses issued by the state and wish to continue to fish commercially in a manner that is economically viable: provided, it is specifically not a purpose of this chapter to establish licensing procedures that eliminate the ability to fish commercially of any resident as of the date of enactment who validly holds commercial fishing license and who meets the application renewal requirements set forth herein;

(5) Preserve and enhance full-time commercial fishing, with a high degree of participation by owner operated vessels, as a way of life and as a significant industry in Rhode Island;

(6) Establish principles, for a system of adaptive management, that shall be used by the department in licensure programs and fisheries management, which principles shall include:

(i) The foregoing purposes; and

(ii) As appropriate, necessary, and effective, the following measures:

(A) Regulation of the design and use of gear;

(B) Limitations on the amount of gear that may be used by a license holder;

(C) Restrictions on when and where commercial fishing may be done;

(D) Quotas and limitations on catch or landings; and

(E) Restrictions on the number of license holders;

(7) Provide a licensure system that facilitates data collection and management so that marine fisheries can be managed more efficiently and effectively. In accordance with this purpose, the system shall include a firm annual renewal deadline, as established herein, for the submittal of applications to renew licenses or obtain new licenses. An annual grace period, as established herein, shall allow fishermen an additional opportunity to renew their licenses from the immediately preceding year, subject to payment of a late fee; however, after the expiration of the grace period, there shall be no opportunity to appeal the denial of a commercial fishing license unless the applicant can show that the failure to apply during the grace period was due to documented medical hardship.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2002, ch. 47, § 4; P.L. 2004, ch. 8, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 16, § 3.)