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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 04-1237




[58 PA. CODE CH. 63]

General Fishing Regulations; Commercial Landing of Finfish and Shellfish

[34 Pa.B. 3598]

   The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) amends Chapter 63 (relating to general fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing this final-form rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to the Fish and Boat Code) (code). The final-form rulemaking relates to the commercial landing of finfish and shellfish in this Commonwealth.

A.  Effective Date

   The final-form rulemaking will go into effect immediately upon publication of this order in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

B.  Contact Person

   For further information on the final-form rulemaking, contact Laurie E. Shepler, Assistant Counsel, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7815. This final-form rulemaking is available on the Commission's website:

C.  Statutory Authority

   The addition of § 63.47 (relating to landing of finfish, shellfish, crustaceans and other marine seafood) is published under the statutory authority of section 2102 of the code (relating to rules and regulations).

D.  Purpose and Background

   Commercial harvest quotas and caps are powerful regulatory tools in managing marine shellfish and finfish stocks. Quotas and caps are used to prevent over-harvest, to control the take of limited resources and to provide a means of distributing harvest among jurisdictions and individual users. Normally, the jurisdiction where the fishery is located or where the commercial boat is headquartered governs the harvest take. When a boat lands, the harvest is reported (credited) to that jurisdiction. When used in this context, a landing occurs when a boat comes to shore (dock, ramp, and the like) and off loads cargo, in this case, finfish, shellfish, crustaceans or other marine seafood. These landings are then reported to various state and Federal agencies and form the basis for adjusting harvest limits for the rest of the season and for planning limits for the next season. Landings of finfish, shellfish, crustaceans and other marine seafood are not the same as seafood trucked or flown into this Commonwealth for sale at retail and wholesale markets because generally that seafood is landed elsewhere and should be counted in the appropriate jurisdiction.

   The issue of marine finfish and shellfish being landed or sold in this Commonwealth is not new. The Commission previously promulgated regulations specific to hard clams, weakfish and horseshoe crabs. Recently, however, commercial harvesters landed several thousand pounds of finfish and shellfish in the Philadelphia area because the quotas for these species had been filled in the home jurisdiction. There is concern that there may be a loophole in Commonwealth law that enables harvesters to circumvent harvest quotas or caps in home jurisdictions. Because this Commonwealth has not been allocated a quota for harvest of any Atlantic coastal fish or crustacean stock, the landing of Atlantic caught fish and crustaceans should not be permitted.

E.  Summary of New Regulation

   The Commission has adopted a new section that places restrictions on the landing of finfish, shellfish, crustaceans and other marine seafood in this Commonwealth. Specifically, the Commission has made it unlawful to land finfish, shellfish, crustaceans and other marine seafood when harvest quota allocations to the Commonwealth have been met or otherwise capped by action of the Executive Director under the fishery management plans and harvest allocations of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. In the event quotas have been met or otherwise capped in this Commonwealth, the landing of finfish, shellfish, crustaceans and other marine seafood is permitted only if the species have been properly reported as part of an unmet quota of another jurisdiction. The provisions of this section will not apply to the landing of fish at Lake Erie, which is already governed by Chapter 69 (relating to fishing in Lake Erie and boundary lakes). The Commission has added § 63.47 to read as set forth in the notice of proposed rulemaking.

F.  Paperwork

   The final-form rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will create no new paperwork requirements.

G.  Fiscal Impact

   The final-form rulemaking will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The final-form rulemaking will impose no new costs on the private sector or the general public.

H.  Public Involvement

   A notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 34 Pa.B. 1457 (March 13, 2004). The Commission did not receive any public comments concerning the proposal.


   The Commission finds that:

   (1)  Public notice of intention to adopt the amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

   (2)  A public comment period was provided, and no comments were received.

   (3)  The adoption of the amendment of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for administration and enforcement of the authorizing statutes.


   The Commission, acting under the authorizing statutes, orders that:

   (a)  The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 63, are amended by adding § 63.47 to read as set forth at 34 Pa.B. 1457.

   (b)  The Executive Director will submit this order and 34 Pa.B. 1457 to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality as required by law.

   (c)  The Executive Director shall certify this order and 34 Pa.B. 1457 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

   (d)  This order shall take effect immediately upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Executive Director

   Fiscal Note:  Fiscal Note 48A-155 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 04-1237. Filed for public inspection July 9, 2004, 9:00 a.m.]

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