Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 44 of chapter 130 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1994 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 8, the words "twenty-five nor more than fifty" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- one hundred nor more than five hundred.
SECTION 2. Said section 44 of said chapter 130, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 9 and 10, the words "fifty nor more than one hundred" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- five hundred nor more than one thousand.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 130 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 44A the following section:-
Section 44B. No commercial fishing vessel landing lobsters taken by any method other than by pots or traps shall land for the purpose of sale or distribution any lobsters or any part thereof at any location within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth in excess of one hundred lobsters for a fishing trip of one twenty-four hour day or less duration, with a maximum limit of five hundred lobsters within a period of seven consecutive days. The director, with approval of the marine fisheries advisory commission, shall promulgate rules to implement this section within ninety days of its effective date.
The director shall monitor the performance of vessels taking and landing lobsters in the commonwealth taken by other than pots and traps. If landings by vessels landing lobsters taken by other than by pots or traps exceed six percent of total lobster landings in any year, the director shall implement regulations, subject to the approval of said marine fisheries advisory commission, to limit lobster landings in subsequent years by vessels using other than pots or traps to no more than six percent of total lobster landings in the commonwealth.
The provisions of this section governing the landing of lobsters by vessels fishing with other than pots or traps, shall be superseded by the development or implementation subsequent to the effective date of this act of either a federal or interstate fishery management plan governing the taking or landing of lobsters under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
SECTION 4. The division of marine fisheries within the department of fisheries, wildlife and environmental law enforcement is hereby authorized and directed to conduct an investigation and study of the environmental and economic effects of capping the maximum size of lobsters allowed to be caught, distributed or sold at any location within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth. Said investigation and study shall include the potential economic effects of such a cap on the commonwealth and affected individuals, industries and communities within the commonwealth. Said study shall also include information regarding similar lobster maximum size caps proposed or in effect by the federal government and other states, including, but not limited to, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. The division shall report the results of said investigation and study, together with its recommendations and drafts of legislation necessary to carry such recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives on or before November first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six.