08.02.05.21

.21 Black Sea Bass.

A. Recreational. The recreational size limit, catch limit, and season for black sea bass shall be established and may be modified through a public notice issued in accordance with §F of this regulation.

B. Commercial.

(1) Minimum Size. An individual who harvests black sea bass for commercial purposes may not catch or possess a black sea bass less than 11 inches in total length, excluding the tail filament.

(2) Quotas.

(a) The annual quota for Maryland is 11 percent of the annual Atlantic coast quota determined by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

(b) Quota Allocation.

(i) The total pounds of black sea bass that may be harvested by a black sea bass landing permit holder who applies for a permit for 2011 and subsequent years shall be based on the proportion of the total black sea bass harvest allocated to the permit holder in the previous year.

(ii) In addition to the quota allocation, as described in §B(2)(b)(i) of this regulation, the Department shall reallocate equitably among permit holders the quota of any permit holder who fails to apply for a permit for the following year, or who leaves the fishery without transferring the permit.

(c) A Maryland black sea bass landing permit holder (permittee) may annually transfer up to 100 percent of the permittee’s individual quota to another permittee upon notification of and approval by the Department. However, an individual may not hold more than 20 percent of the total fishery allocation.

(d) An individual who possesses a Maryland black sea bass landing permit in accordance with §C of this regulation and lands more than the assigned permit allocation, including any quota transfers, shall have the overage deducted from the permit allocation for the following year.

(3) Daily Catch Limits. A vessel that does not have an individual on board who possesses a valid Maryland black sea bass landing permit may not catch, possess, or land more than 50 pounds of black sea bass per day.

(4) Black sea bass harvested for commercial purposes from Maryland waters of the Atlantic Ocean or from the waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and landed in Maryland shall be sold to a federally permitted dealer.

C. Licenses and Permits.

(1) A person shall be licensed to fish for commercial purposes in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-701, Annotated Code of Maryland, in order to catch, possess, or land black sea bass.

(2) A vessel which is used to catch, possess, or land black sea bass for commercial purposes from the waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Atlantic Ocean shall be permitted by the National Marine Fisheries Service in accordance with 50 CFR §648.4.

(3) A permittee may catch, possess, or land black sea bass for commercial purposes on a vessel other than the vessel declared on the permittee's permit if in possession of the permit issued to the permittee, and the undeclared vessel is permitted by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

(4) Declaration.

(a) A tidal fish licensee shall declare their intent to fish for black sea bass by August 31 of each year.

(b) A tidal fish licensee who has not declared by August 31 of the current year, and who has not declared late in any of the 3 preceding years, may apply until September 14 of the current year, or the next business day if September 14 occurs on a weekend, to the Director of Fisheries Service, provided the licensee shows good reason why the application should be processed.

(c) An exception to the September 14 deadline will be considered only for an individual who can provide satisfactory documentation of a physical or mental incapacity that prevented that individual from meeting the declaration time period established in this subsection.

(d) The federally registered name or the State registration numbers of the permitted vessels owned by the permittee shall be indicated at the time of application for the permit and declared on the Maryland black sea bass landing permit.

(e) Any change in vessel ownership shall be reported to the Department so that a revised permit card may be issued.

(5) Black Sea Bass Landing Permit.

(a) No more than 14 black sea bass landing permits may be issued by the Department. The number of black sea bass landing permits is based on the reported catch and landing records of black sea bass in Maryland during 1996—2001.

(b) The Department may issue a permit to catch and land black sea bass in Maryland to a person who is licensed in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-701, Annotated Code of Maryland, owns or has a share of ownership in a federally permitted vessel, and:

(i) Declared or was eligible to declare, in the previous year, an intent to fish for black sea bass in accordance with §C(4) of this regulation and has not transferred the permit; or

(ii) Received a black sea bass landing permit through a permanent business transfer in accordance with §C(6) of this regulation.

(6) Permanent Transfer of a Landing Permit. The Department may approve a permanent transfer of a Maryland black sea bass landing permit to an individual who applies to the Department requesting the transfer on forms provided by the Department.

(7) Temporary transfers of black sea bass landing permits are not permitted.

(8) Operators.

(a) An operator means an individual who is not a permittee and acts as an agent of a permittee.

(b) The name of the vessel on which the operator is working shall be declared on the Maryland black sea bass landing permit.

(c) An operator may catch, possess, or land black sea bass for commercial purposes on a vessel owned by a permittee and in possession of that permittee's permit.

(9) Regardless of the number of authorized individuals with Maryland black sea bass landing permits on board a federally permitted vessel, no more than two black sea bass quotas may be fished from one vessel per trip.

D. Gear Restrictions.

(1) Trawls.

(a) Except for an individual landing less than a total of 500 pounds of black sea bass from January 1 through March 31 or 100 pounds of black sea bass from April 1 through December 31, a person may not use a trawl with mesh less than 4-1/2 inch diamond mesh applied throughout the:

(i) Codend for at least 75 continuous meshes forward of the end of the net; or

(ii) Entire net for codends with fewer than 75 meshes.

(b) An individual may not use a roller rig trawl with a roller diameter in excess of 18 inches.

(2) Pots and Traps. A pot or trap used to catch black sea bass shall have:

(a) Two unobstructed escape vents located in the parlor portion of the trap that are each at least a:

(i) 2-1/2 inch diameter circular opening;

(ii) 2 inch by 2 inch square opening; or

(iii) 1-3/8 inch by 5-3/4 inch rectangular opening; and

(b) One panel or door that is a minimum of 3 inches by 6 inches that has hinges and fasteners made of one of the following degradable materials:

(i) Untreated hemp or jute string of 3/16 inch in diameter or less;

(ii) Magnesium alloy fasteners; or

(iii) Ungalvanized, uncoated iron wire of 0.094 inch diameter or smaller.

E. Reporting and Penalties.

(1) In addition to the requirements of Natural Resources Article, §4-206, Annotated Code of Maryland, an individual in possession of a Maryland black sea bass landing permit shall record the harvest of black sea bass on the permit daily and submit the completed permit to the Department within 14 days from the end of the black sea bass season.

(2) A dealer shall transmit information weekly, or as requested, on each black sea bass transaction through the Department-approved reporting system.

(3) The Department may withhold quota allocation for a black sea bass landing permit for failing to comply with §E(1) of this regulation during the previous season.

(4) The Department may deny an application for a black sea bass landing permit for failing to comply with §E(1) of this regulation during the previous season.

F. General.

(1) The Secretary may establish or modify catch limits, size limits, quotas, and seasons for black sea bass in order to implement the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Black Sea Bass, by issuing a public notice on the Fisheries Service website.

(2) The public notice shall state its effective hour and date and shall be published on the Fisheries Service website at least 48 hours in advance of the effective hour and date.

(3) The Secretary shall make a reasonable effort to disseminate a public notice through various other media so that an affected individual has a reasonable opportunity to be informed.

(4) The Department shall make a reasonable effort to modify quotas to ensure that the Maryland portion of the coastwide quota is harvested and not exceeded.

(5) A violation of the restrictions set by the Secretary in accordance with §F of this regulation is a violation of this regulation.