§ 20-6-11 Minimum size of shellfish Penalty.
(a) No person shall take and/or possess any quahogs less than one inch (1") shell thickness (hinge width). In addition, no person shall take and/or possess soft shell clams, taken from the free and common soft shell clam fisheries, of a diameter less than one and one half inches (1 1/2") taking the maximum shell diameter, or any oysters, taken from the free and common oyster fisheries, measuring less than three inches (3") measured parallel to the long axis of the oyster, unless greater minimum sizes are established by the director, in consultation with the marine fisheries council. Any person who takes and/or possesses shellfish of less than the minimum size, as delineated above, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for each and every fifteen (15) shellfish taken. Additionally, any person who takes and/or possesses shellfish of less than the minimum size commingled and/or otherwise stored or contained with shellfish of not less than the minimum size, where the percentage of the less than minimum size shellfish is not less than ten percent (10%) of the total piece count of the commingled and/or otherwise stored or contained package, shipment, or container, shall be subject to seizure and/or forfeiture of the entire commingled and/or otherwise stored or contained package, shipment, or container, in accordance with the provisions of §§ 20-1-8(e) and (f) and 20-1-8.1.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) above, the director of the department of environmental management is authorized to promulgate regulations establishing a special exemption permit that would exempt Department of Health licensed food processing facilities from the one inch (1") minimum size restriction governing bay quahogs. The exemption permit may only apply to frozen, packaged, cultured bay quahog products shipped into Rhode Island for redistribution outside of the state. The regulations shall prescribe the procedures to apply for the exemption permit and the standards to be employed by the director in his or her consideration of the application. The regulations shall prescribe rules governing the conduct and operation of the facility and may include restrictions on product forms, sizes, possession requirements, and other provisions in order to maintain the protection of the quahog resource and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
(P.L. 1981, ch. 197, § 3; P.L. 1988, ch. 166, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 413, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 47, § 9; P.L. 2004, ch. 430, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 507, § 1.)