FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[58 PA. CODE CH. 61]
Commonwealth Inland Waters
[29 Pa.B. 1085]
The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend Chapter 61 (relating to seasons, sizes and creel limits). The Commission is publishing this amendment as a notice of proposed rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The proposed amendment relates to fishing.
A. Effective Date
The proposed amendment, if approved on final rulemaking, will go into effect on January 1, 2000, or upon publication of an order adopting the amendment in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, whichever occurs later.
B. Contact Person
For further information on the proposed change, contact Laurie E. Shepler, Assistant Counsel, (717) 657-4546, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000. This proposal is available electronically through the Commission's Web site (http://www.fish.state.pa.us).
C. Statutory Authority
The proposed amendment is published under the statutory authority of section 2102(b) of the code (relating to rules and regulations, seasons, sizes, creel limits and devices).
D. Purpose and Background
The proposed amendment is designed to update, modify and improve Commission regulations related to fishing. The specific purpose is described in more detail under the Summary of Proposal.
E. Summary of Proposal
The Commission is proposing to reduce the Statewide daily creel limit of trout from eight to five during the regular season. The three trout per day creel limit during the extended season would remain unchanged. This proposal would not apply to the Conowingo Reservoir, the Delaware River or Lake Erie and its tributaries.
An advance notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 28 Pa.B. 5816 (November 21, 1998) in an effort to obtain public and angler input on the concept of reducing the regular season daily limit of trout from eight to five. The Commission received public comments by e-mail and by regular mail. Generally, the comments received were in favor of the proposal. The Commission also conducted an ''online survey'' on its web site. About 300 individuals participated in this survey. Survey participants included individuals who submitted public comments. The majority of those responding to the survey favor reduction in the creel limit. This is not a scientific survey of public opinion, and it would not be accurate to characterize the participants views as representative of a cross-section of trout anglers.
As noted in both the advance notice of proposed rulemaking and in prior Commission agendas, staff believe adoption of the reduced trout creel limits will have no distinct resource impacts. This is principally a social and policy issue based on perception. From a fisheries management perspective, the reduced creel limit will have few, if any, positive or negative impacts. However, this change may affect public perceptions about the value of these fish and the appropriate number of fish to be taken each day.
The proposed amendment will not increase paperwork and will create no new paperwork requirements.
G. Fiscal Impact
The proposed amendment will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The proposed amendment will impose no new costs on the private sector or the general public.
H. Public Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about the proposed amendment to the Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, within 60 days after publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.
Comments also may be submitted electronically at ''email@example.com.'' A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each transmission. If an acknowledgment of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt.
PETER A. COLANGELO,
Fiscal Note: 48A-95. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 61. SEASONS, SIZES AND CREEL LIMITS
§ 61.1. Commonwealth inland waters.
* * * * *
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, the following seasons, sizes and creel limits apply to inland waters of this Commonwealth and the Youghiogheny Reservoir:
SPECIES SEASONS MINIMUM SIZE DAILY LIMIT ALL SPECIES OF TROUT AND SALMON (except landlocked Atlantic salmon) Regular Season: 8 a.m. first Saturday after April 11, to midnight Labor Day 7 inches  5--Streams, lakes and ponds (combined species) except areas with special regulations Extended Season: All approved Trout waters streams plus lakes and ponds: 7 inches 3 (combined species) January 1--last day of February and day after Labor Day to midnight, last day of February of the following year. * * * * *
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 99-304. Filed for public inspection February 26, 1999, 9:00 a.m.]
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