HB 1297  - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2022 SESSION

22-2408

04/08

 

HOUSE BILL 1297

 

AN ACT relative to taking lobster while engaged in recreational scuba diving.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Hill, Merr. 3; Rep. Rice, Hills. 37; Rep. Turcotte, Straf. 4; Rep. Weyler, Rock. 13; Rep. Renzullo, Hills. 37; Sen. Avard, Dist 12; Sen. French, Dist 7

 

COMMITTEE: Fish and Game and Marine Resources

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill authorizes the executive director of fish and game to issue a scuba diver recreational lobster license and repeals such authority on January 1, 2028.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

22-2408

04/08

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Two

 

AN ACT relative to taking lobster while engaged in recreational scuba diving.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Lobster and Crabs; License.  Amend RSA 211:18, III(a) to read as follows:

(a)  If a person is a resident of this state and [does not take lobsters or crabs for the purpose of sale and] does not use more than 5 traps, the person may receive a recreational lobster and crab license.  A person receiving a recreational lobster and crab license shall not be eligible to receive the scuba diver recreational lobster license under paragraph II-b.

2  New Paragraph; Lobsters and Crabs; Scuba Diver Recreational Lobster License.  Amend RSA 211:18 by inserting after paragraph II-a the following new paragraph:

II-b.(a)  A person who is a resident of this state and wishes to engage in scuba diving or freediving, also known as skin diving, as a recreational activity, and who is in compliance with RSA 270:31 through 270:32-a, and has attained 18 years of age, shall be permitted to take lobsters under a scuba diver recreational lobster license issued by the executive director.  The executive director shall make available a number of scuba diver recreational lobster licenses that is equivalent to the number of recreational lobster and crab licenses available in the prior calendar year under subparagraph III(a).

(b)  The executive director shall set the fee for the scuba diver recreational lobster license which shall be credited to the derelict fishing gear and coastal cleanup fund established in RSA 211:77.

(c)  The scuba diver recreational lobster license shall be valid for the months of September and October only.

(d)  The license shall consist of letters and or numbers which the person engaged in scuba diving shall affix to his or her diving tanks and regulation dive flag in a contrasting color making it readily visible to a conservation officer.

(e)  The number of lobsters taken per day by a scuba diver holding a license under this subparagraph shall not exceed 5 per license and shall be taken only for the consumption by the licensee, and the licensee's family and guests.

(f)  No person shall at any time take any lobsters by any method except by hand.  Use of a tickle stick, which is a straight or slightly bent stick used to agitate a lobster into coming out of its hole, shall be permitted.

(g)  All lobsters taken under a scuba diver recreational lobster license shall be of legal size, as provisioned by RSA 211:62 and in accordance with RSA 211:27, measured immediately upon capture on the seafloor before surfacing.  An equipped scuba diver shall not have in his or her possession more than 5 lobsters at any time.

(h)  The scuba diver recreational lobster license shall not be transferred to any other person.

(i)  Annual catch reports shall be required of all scuba diver recreational lobster license holders at the time of renewal or, if not renewing license, at year end.  Annual catch information, in a format determined by the executive director, shall be required of all divers before renewal application will be accepted.

(j)  The executive director shall adopt rules for the issuance of the license under this paragraph, and rules governing the sex and size of lobsters allowed to be taken under this paragraph, provided such rules conform with requirements applicable to non-commercial 5 pot licenses and commercial lobster license holders.

3  New Subparagraph; Lobsters and Crabs; Scuba Diver Recreational Lobster License.  Amend RSA 211:18, III-a by inserting after subparagraph (g) the following new subparagraph:

(h)  Scuba diver recreational lobster license.

4  Lobsters and Crabs; Prohibited Methods of Taking.  Amend RSA 211:23-a to read as follows:

211:23-a  Prohibited Methods of Taking.  No person shall at any time take from any waters under the jurisdiction of this state any lobsters by [diving,] spearing or dipping.

5  Lobster and Crabs; License; Version Effective January 1, 2028.  RSA 211:18, III(a) is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

(a)  If a person is a resident of this state and does not take lobsters or crabs for the purpose of sale and does not use more than 5 traps, the person may receive a recreational lobster and crab license.

6  Lobsters and Crabs; Prohibited Methods of Taking; Version Effective January 1, 2028.  RSA 211:23-a is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

211:23-a  Prohibited Methods of Taking.  No person shall at any time take from any waters under the jurisdiction of this state any lobsters by diving, spearing, or dipping.

7  Repeal.  The following are repealed:

I.  RSA 211:18, II-b, relative to the scuba diver recreational lobster license.

II.  RSA 211:18, III-a(h), relative to the scuba diver recreational lobster license.

8  Effective Date.  

I.  Sections 5-7 of this act shall take effect January 1, 2028.

II.  The remainder of this act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.