Hearing on proposed fisheries changes set for Nov. 5 in Old Lyme

Old Lyme – The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will host a public hearing about proposed changes to regulations pertaining to fisheries and lobster harvest regulations at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at DEEP Marine Headquarters, 333 Ferry Road.

A second hearing on the proposals will take place at 3 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science & Technology Center, 60 St. Stevens Road.

Most of the proposed changes will revise regulations to conform with actions DEEP has already taken by commission’s declaration, said David Simpson, director of marine fisheries at DEEP. Other changes are being made to bring state regulations into compliance with mandatory provisions of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission, he said.

The changes pertain to: commercial fishing gear and lobster traps; when commercial licenses are not required; the legal harvest size for lobster; the harvest of sharks; recreational fishing seasons and minimum sizes for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, winter flounder, weakfish, striped bass, tautog and menhaden. Other proposed changes would affect fishing regulations for coastal sharks, Atlantic herring and spiny dogfish.

One of the proposals would allow fishermen to filet striped bass while on board vessels, provided the filets are at least 18 inches long and have the skin attached. Simpson said that currently, striped bass must be filleted on shore to ensure they are of legal size, but the department has received complaints from marinas and users of boat launch areas about problems disposing of the waste from the unused portions of the fish. DEEP worked with charter boat companies to determine a minimum filet size that corresponds to the legal size for striped bass, he said.

Copies of the proposed regulations can be found at: www.ct.gov/deep/publicnotices. Written comments will be accepted by email at: deep.marine.fisheries@ct.gov or by mail at: DEEP Marine Fisheries Division; P.O. Box 719; Old Lyme, CT 06371-0719.

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