§ 20-7-10. Minimum size of lobsters taken Egg-bearing females.
(a)(1) Unless otherwise specified by regulations adopted by the marine fisheries council, no person shall catch or take from any of the waters within the jurisdiction of this state, or have in his or her possession within this state, any lobster, or parts of lobsters, cooked or uncooked, that is less than three and three sixteenths inches (3 3/1/i6") measured from the rear of the eye socket along a line parallel to the center line of the body shell to the rear end of the carapace.
(2) The minimum size of three and three sixteenths inches (3 3/1/i6") shall be increased as follows:
(i) On January 1, 1988, 1/3/i2" from 3 3/1/i6" to 3 7/3/i2";
(ii) On January 1, 1989, 1/3/i2" from 3 7/3/i2" to 3 1/4";
(iii) On January 1, 1991, 1/3/i2" from 3 1/4" to 3 9/3/i2";
(iv) On January 1, 1992, 1/3/i2" from 3 9/3/i2" to 3 5/1/i6".
(b) No person shall have in his or her possession within this state any female lobster bearing eggs or from which the eggs have been brushed or removed.
(c) In addition to any penalties specified in other sections of this chapter, every person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each lobster in violation of this regulation or be imprisoned not exceeding thirty (30) days, or both. Any person licensed under this chapter catching and taking any lobster as described in subsection (a) or (b), and immediately returning the lobster alive to the water from which it was taken, shall not be subject to these fines or penalties. The possession of any lobster as described in subsection (a) or (b), cooked or uncooked, shall be prima facie evidence that the lobster was caught and taken in violation of this section. Any person convicted a second time of a violation of this section shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500) and be deprived of the privilege of fishing for lobsters within the state for three (3) years, after conviction, under a penalty of sixty (60) days' imprisonment or a fine of five hundred dollars ($500), or both, for each offense.
(P.L. 1981, ch. 197, § 3; P.L. 1983, ch. 107, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 305, § 1.)