RE: 2015-2016 OYSTER MECHANICAL HARVEST RESTRICTIONS
Dr. Louis B. Daniel III, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at sunrise, Monday, November 9, 2015 mechanical harvest of oysters shall be allowed and the following restrictions will apply:
I. MECHANICAL HARVEST RESTRICTIONS:
A. Oysters may be taken by mechanical methods (See General Information Section VII. E., G. and I. for other gear restrictions).
B. It is unlawful to transfer oysters from the catching vessel to any other vessel during oyster harvesting operations or to transport oysters by any vessel other than the vessel in which they are harvested.
C. It is unlawful to possess more than five bushels of unculled catch onboard a vessel. Only material on the culling tray is exempt from culling restrictions.
D. It is unlawful to possess unculled catch or culled catch material while underway and not engaged in mechanical harvesting.
E. It is unlawful for the catch container (bag, cage) attached to a dredge to extend more than two feet in any direction from the tooth bar.
F. It is unlawful to tow a dredge unless the point where the tow line or cable exits the vessel and goes directly into the water is on the port or starboard side of the vessel forward of the transom.
G. It is unlawful to possess a dredge while engaged in oyster harvesting activities in an area closed to the use of mechanical methods for oyster harvest.
II. HARVEST DAYS AND TIME PERIOD
Mechanical oyster harvest will be allowed Monday through Friday from sunrise until 2:00 P.M. each day. Oyster dredges must be out of the water and stowed on deck after 2:00 P.M. each weekday (See General Information Section VII. C. and F.).
It is unlawful for persons holding a Standard Commercial Fishing License with a shellfish endorsement to take or possess no more than fifteen (15) bushels of oysters per fishing operation per day, regardless of the number of persons, license holders, harvest methods or vessels involved except as specified in Section VI below. (See General Information Section VII. L.) The harvest vessel is a part of the fishing operation.
IV. MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT
It is unlawful to possess oysters less than three (3) inches shell length for oysters taken on public or private grounds. (See General Information Section VII. J.)
V. MECHANICAL HARVEST SEASON
The season for harvesting oysters by mechanical methods shall be monitored and changes in harvest areas may be implemented by proclamation at a later date.