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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

December 19, 2000

Contact:

Sally Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

DEM ANNOUNCES SEVERAL CHANGES TO FISHERIES REGULATIONS
Spiny Dogfish, Blue Crabs, American Eels Affected

PROVIDENCE The Department of Environmental Management has announced several changes to commercial and recreational fisheries regulations that will take effect on January 5.

One change, adopted by the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council as required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, prohibits the commercial harvest, landing, and possession of spiny dogfish within Rhode Island state waters. That rule was requested by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, to complement the closure of the spiny dogfish fishery within federal waters, which occurred on August 1, 2000.

The Rhode Island Council also adopted a change to the harvest of blue crabs that will allow a 25-crab possession limit when using gear other than scoop or crab net, trot, or hand line. The possession of blue crabs had been prohibited except when taken by those measures. The change was requested by the Council's Lobster Advisory Panel, after meeting with representatives from the fishing industry, to address a problem faced by the inshore trawl fishery. That fishery frequently obtains blue crabs as by-catch, but had not been allowed to keep them under the former regulations. Under the new regulations, the minimum size of blue crab allowed for possession will increase from 4 1/8 inches to 5 inches.

New regulations of interest to recreational anglers establish an individual possession limit for American eels of 50 fish per day. These regulations are required by the American Eel Management Plan established by the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission, which develops management plans for migratory fish species. In Rhode Island, American eels are generally used as baitfish, particularly for striped bass.

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