TITLE 20
Fish and Wildlife

CHAPTER 20-2.1
Commercial Fishing Licenses

SECTION 20-2.1-4


§ 20-2.1-4 Licenses – General provisions governing licenses issued.

(a) Licenses and vessel declarations required. It shall be unlawful for any person in Rhode Island or the waters of the state: (1) To catch, harvest, or to hold or transport for sale in Rhode Island any marine finfish, crustacean, or shellfish without a license issued under the provisions of this title, provided, however, that marine finfish, crustaceans, or shellfish may be transported by a duly licensed dealer if the marine finfish, crustaceans, or shellfish have previously been sold by a duly licensed person; or (2) To engage in commercial fishing from a vessel unless the vessel has been declared a commercial fishing vessel as provided in § 20-2.1-5(2) and has a decal affixed to it or is displaying a plate.

(b) Validation of license. No license issued under this chapter shall be valid until signed by the licensee in his or her own handwriting.

(c) Transfer or loan of license. Unless otherwise provided for in this title, a license issued to a person under this chapter shall be good only for the person to whom it is issued and any transfer or loan of the license shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of that license pursuant to § 20-2-13.

(d) Reporting and inspections condition of license. All persons granted a license under the provisions of this chapter are deemed to have consented to the reporting requirements applicable to commercial fishing actively that are established pursuant to this title and to the reasonable inspection of any boat, vessel, net, rake, bullrake, tong, dredge, trap, pot, vehicle, structure, or other contrivance used regularly for the keeping or storage of fish, shellfish or crustaceans, and any creel, box, locker, basket, crate, blind, fishing, or paraphernalia used in conjunction with the licensed activity by persons duly authorized by the director. The provisions of § 20-1-8(a)(7)(ii) shall apply to these inspections.

(e) Possession, inspection, and display of license. Every person holding a license issued under this chapter shall have that license in his or her possession at all times while engaged in the licensed activity and shall present the license for inspection on demand by any authorized person. Any person who shall refuse to present a license on demand shall be liable to the same punishment as if that person were fishing without a license.

(f) Application for license. Every person entitled to a license under this chapter shall file an application with the director, or the director's authorized agent, properly sworn to, stating the name, age, occupation, place of residence, mailing address, weight, height, and color of hair and eyes of the applicant for whom the license is wanted and providing any other information that may be required pursuant to rule in order to effectuate the purposes of this chapter, and pay the fees as provided in this chapter. All licenses issued under this chapter shall be valid only for the calendar year of issuance, unless otherwise specified in this chapter or in the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter. If the person will be either the owner or the operator as provided in § 20-2.1-5(5) of a commercial fishing vessel, the person shall declare, on the application for each commercial fishing vessel, the vessel name, length, horsepower, registration number, federal permit number, if any, gear type(s), the principal fishery or fisheries, and average projected crew size.

(g) Application deadline, grace period for renewals, and limitation on appeals after the deadlines. For commercial marine fishing licenses provided for in §§ 20-2.1-5 and 20-2.1-6, the following provisions shall apply: (1) Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, an individual qualified to obtain a license must submit an application to the department of environmental management no later than February 28 of each year; license application shall be deemed valid if submitted to the department prior to the close of regular office hours on February 28 or if postmarked by February 28; (2) Unless otherwise specified in this title, no new or renewed licenses shall be issued after February 28 of each year, unless an applicant has submitted an application by the February 28 deadline required by this section; (3) The department shall notify all license holders, in writing, regarding the December 31 expiration and the February 28 renewal deadline no later than November 1 of each year; (4) For renewals of existing commercial marine fishing licenses that expire on December 31 of the immediately preceding year, there shall be a sixty-day (60) grace period from the renewal deadline of February 28; licenses issued during the grace period shall be subject to a late fee in the amount of two-hundred dollars ($200) in addition to all other applicable fees; (5) Except as provided for in subsection (g)(4) or § 20-2.1-5 (1)(iv)(A), the department shall not accept any applications submitted after February 28; and (6) There shall be no right to request reconsideration by the commercial fishing license review board or appeal to the department of environmental management's administrative adjudication division (AAD) for the rejection of any new license applications submitted after February 28, or any license renewal applications submitted after the sixty (60) day grace period, except in the case of a documented medical hardship as defined herein.

(h) Lost or destroyed licenses and duplicate licenses. Whoever loses, or by a mistake or accident destroys his or her certificate of a commercial marine fisheries license, may, upon application to the department accompanied by an affidavit fully setting forth the circumstances of the loss, receive a duplicate certificate for the remainder of the year covered by the original certificate, for a fee of ten dollars ($10.00) for each duplicate license.

(i) Revocation of licenses.

(1) License revocation. The license of any person who has violated the provisions of this chapter, or rules adopted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or rules and regulations that pertain to commercial fishing and reporting issued pursuant to this title, may be suspended or revoked by the director as the director shall determine by regulation. Any person aggrieved by an order of suspension or revocation may appeal this order in accordance with the provisions of the administrative procedures act, chapter 35 of title 42.

(2) False statements and violations; cancellation of license. Any person who willfully makes a false representation as to birthplace or requirements of identification or of other facts required in an application for license under this chapter, or is otherwise directly or indirectly a party to a false representation, shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00). A license obtained by any person through a false representation shall be null and void, and the license shall be surrendered immediately to the director. No license shall be issued under this title to this person for a period of one year from the date of imposition of a penalty under this section.

(3) False, altered, forged, or counterfeit licenses. Every person who falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits, or who causes to be made, altered, forged, or counterfeited, a license issued under this chapter or title or purporting to be a license issued under this chapter or title, or who shall have in his or her possession such a license knowing it to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeit, is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to the penalties prescribed in § 20-1-16.

(j) Expiration. Unless otherwise specified in this title, all licenses issued under this chapter shall be annual and shall expire on December 31 of each year. It shall be unlawful for any person to fish commercially in Rhode Island waters on an expired license; and the application and grace periods set forth in subsections (g)(1) and (g)(4) above shall not extend the validity of any expired license.

(k) Notice of change of address. Whenever any person holding any commercial fishing license shall move from the address named in his or her last application, that person shall, within ten (10) days subsequent to moving, notify the office of boat registration and licensing of his or her former and current address.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2002, ch. 47, § 4; P.L. 2004, ch. 8, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 16, § 3; P.L. 2015, ch. 177, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 199, § 1.)