FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[58 PA. CODE CH. 61]
Fishing; Seasons, Sizes and Creel Limits
[52 Pa.B. 3320]
[Saturday, June 11, 2022]
The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend Chapter 61 (relating to seasons, sizes and creel limits). The Commission is publishing this proposed rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The proposed amendment updates the Commission's regulations concerning American shad fishing in the Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and River Estuary.
A. Effective Date
This proposed rulemaking, if approved on final-form rulemaking, will go into effect on January 1, 2023.
B. Contact Person
For further information on this proposed rulemaking, contact Wayne Melnick, Esq., P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7810. This proposed rulemaking is available on the Commission's web site at www.fishandboat.com.
C. Statutory Authority
The proposed amendment to § 61.2 (relating to Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and River Estuary) is published under the statutory authority of 2102(b) of the code (relating to rules and regulations).
D. Purpose and Background
The specific purpose and background of the proposed amendment is described in more detail under the summary of proposal.
E. Summary of Proposal
American shad are an anadromous species. Adults inhabit the marine waters of the Atlantic Ocean, annually returning to natal freshwater systems during spring for spawning. Young-of-the-year utilize freshwater systems as nurseries, before out-migrating during fall. American shad fulfill a foundational ecological role as forage for many piscivores within oceanic, coastal and connected inland waters, in addition to supporting well-established recreational and commercial fishing opportunities throughout their range along the Atlantic Coast.
Multiple Federal, state and tribal jurisdictions jointly manage American shad fisheries along the Atlantic Coast, including the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and specifically within the Delaware River Basin, the Delaware River Basin Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (Co-op). The Commission is a member of both entities. ASMFC's Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for shad and river herring requires Delaware River Basin states jointly submit a Sustainable Fisheries Management Plan for continuance of American shad fisheries for all connected waters within the Delaware River Basin.
In 2020, the ASMFC stock assessment workgroup developed the most current consensus population assessment for the Atlantic Coast. Findings specific to the Delaware River Basin, indicated the Delaware River American shad population is experiencing unsustainable mortality. Given the ASMFC stock assessment workgroup findings, Co-op members, including this Commonwealth, have agreed to reduce American shad harvest by approximately 33% for both the recreational and commercial fisheries.
This Commonwealth does not have a commercial fishery for American shad; however, a popular recreational fishery exists in the Delaware River Basin. Given the agreed upon 33% reduction in American shad harvest by Co-op member states, it is recommended that the Commission amend the daily creel of American shad from three to two fish per day on waters managed under § 61.2. New York, New Jersey and Delaware are seeking similar reductions to the recreational daily creel limits within their respective jurisdictional waters in the Delaware River Basin.
The Commission proposes that § 61.2 be amended to read as set forth in Annex A.
This proposed rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will not create new paperwork requirements.
G. Fiscal Impact
This proposed rulemaking will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions.
H. Public Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about this proposed rulemaking to the Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, within 30 days after publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.
Comments also may be submitted electronically by completing the form at www.fishandboat.com/regcomments. If an acknowledgment of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt. Electronic comments submitted in any other manner will not be accepted.
TIMOTHY D. SCHAEFFER,
Fiscal Note: 48A-326. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 61. SEASONS, SIZES AND
§ 61.2. Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and River Estuary.
* * * * *
SPECIES SEASONS MINIMUM
DAILY LIMIT * * * * * AMERICAN SHAD Open year-round No minimum [ 3 ] 2 * * * * *
* * * * *
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-852. Filed for public inspection June 10, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]
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