Rule changes floated



BOOTHBAY HARBOR — Public hearings are set for Jan. 9 at the Maine Department of Marine Resources offices in Boothbay Harbor for several rulemaking proposals.

One of the proposed rules would update reporting requirements for halibut, shrimp and scallop harvesters to remove outdated references to LORAN stations and bearings as options for reporting harvesting locations. It would require halibut harvesters to report landings numbers rather than license numbers, and would add a new component to the halibut harvester reporting requirements to include total number of hooks fished.

Another would allow charter and party boat operators to fillet Atlantic halibut at sea. Possession for Atlantic halibut is limited to one fish per boat.

The current rule does not allow fisherman or charter/party boat captains to fillet Atlantic halibut at sea. This rule is in place to ensure the fish can be measured and is greater than the minimum size limit of 41 inches total length or 32 inches from the pectoral fin if the head is removed. This proposed change would allow charter/party boat captains the ability to fillet Atlantic halibut at sea if the halibut carcass (rack) remains in their possession until all customers have landed on shore.

The change would allow a single Atlantic halibut to be shared with several fishing customers instead of one customer retaining the entire fish. Marine patrol officers would still be able to measure Atlantic halibut carcasses (racks) to ensure fish of legal sizes were possessed.

Other proposed rule changes include incorporating the Sheepscot River north of Route 1 into the existing Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) control plan, following an illness report of a laboratory-confirmed case of the illness that implicated oysters from the Sheepscot River as the sole source. Proposed rules also include removing the circle hook requirement for striped bass and bluefish.

Contact Amanda Ellis at dmr.rulemaking@maine.gov or 624-6573.

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