CHAPTER 256

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 543

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO COMMERCIAL EEL FISHING.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Part 1, Title 7 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Chapter 18 to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 18. EEL FISHING

§1801. Definitions

1. 'Commercial eel fishing gear' shall include the following items:

a. A fyke net or hoop net of a diameter not exceeding thirty (30) inches when more than one such net is being fished by a person;

b. Eel pots when more than two such pots are being fished by a person;

c. Any seine net with a mesh size of less than one (1) inches and greater than one hundred (100) feet in total length; and

d. A minnow trap when more than two such traps are being fished by any person.

2. 'Non-commercial eel fishing gear' shall include the following items:

a. A fyke net or hoop net of a diameter not exceeding thirty (30) inches when only one is in use by a person;

b. Eel pots when two or less pots are being fished by a person;

c. A seine net less than or equal to 100' in length;

d. A cast net;

e. A lift net or umbrella net less than or equal to 5' in diameter;

f. A dip net less than or equal to 3' in diameter;

g. Spear, arrow or gigs;

h. A minnow trap when less than two are being fished by an person;

i. Hooks and lines when an individual places, sets or tends three (3) or less separate lines with any one line having no more than three (3) hooks attached. (Double and treble hooks counted as one (1) hook); and

3. 'Initially sold' shall mean the first transaction of eel exchange between the person catching the eels and another person for monetary, material or services exchange.

4. 'Eels' shall mean American eels, Anguilla rostrata.

5. 'Department' shall mean the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

6. 'Person' shall mean any human being.

7. 'Resident' shall mean a person who has resided in this State continuously for one year.

8. 'Tidal waters' shall mean those waters where the tide regularly rises and falls.

9. 'Secretary' shall mean the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control or his duly authorized designee.

10. 'Delaware Bay' shall mean all those waters and submerged lands under the jurisdiction of the State located within an area bordered on the North by a straight line drawn between Liston Point, Delaware and Hope Creek, New Jersey and bordered on the South by a line drawn from Cape May Light to Harbor of Refuge Light; thence to the northermost extremity of Cape Henlopen, but not including any tributaries thereto.

11. 'Delaware River' shall mean all those waters and submerged lands under the jurisdiction of the State located within an area to the North of a straight line connecting Liston Point, Delaware and Hope Creek, New Jersey, but not inlcuding any tributaries thereto.

12. 'Non-tidal waters' shall mean those waters where the tide does not regularly rise and fall.

13. 'To fish' shall mean to attempt to take, take, catch, kill or reduce to possession any eel by any means whatsoever.

14. 'Commercially fish' shall mean for any person to attempt to take, take, catch, kill or reduce to possession any eel for the purpose of selling, trading or exchanging for money, materials or services with another or to set or fish any commercial eel fishing gear as defined herein.

§1802. Commercial eel fishing license requirements; restrictions

a. It shall be unlawful for any person to initially sell or offer for sale twenty-five (25) or more eels per day unless the person selling or offering such eels for sale has a valid commercial eel fishing license issued by the Department.

b. It shall be unlawful for any person to fish for eels with commercial eel fishing gear in the tidal waters of this State unless the person has a valid commercial eel fishing license on board the vessel used to fish issued by the Department.

c. It shall be unlawful to fish for eels for the purpose of initially selling such eels in non-tidal waters within the State unless authorized to do so by the Department.

d. A commercial eel fishing license shall be valid from January 1 through December 31 next ensuing.

e. Application for a commercial eel fishing license shall be made on the forms provided by the Department.

f. The fee for a commercial eel fishing license to take eels shall be $100 for residents and $1,000 for non-residents.

g. A licensee may designate a resident of such licensee's state as an alternate on his license application who shall be approved by the Department to fish for eels with the licensee's commercial eel fishing gear in the event that said licensee is unable to fish his commercial eel fishing gear already in the water and capable of catching eels.

h. It shall be unlawful for an alternate to any commercial eel fishing licensee to sell or offer for sale any eels without the written consent of the licensee and without prior notification to the Department.

§1803. Use of funds derived from sale of commercial eel fishing licenses

a. All funds derived from the issuances of commercial eel fishing licenses shall be deposited by the Department in the General Fund.

§1804. Reciprocity for commercial eel fishing, non-resident licenses

a. When by or pursuant to the laws or regulations of any other state, should any other state impose any tax, other fee, or restrictions on non-residents for the privilege of commercially eel fishing within its boundaries, which tax, or other fee is in the aggregate greater or restriction is greater, to include the non-availability of a license for non-residents, the same taxes, other, fees, license requirements, and restrictions shall be imposed by the Department upon residents of the State who seek to apply for a license to commercially fish for eels within the boundaries of this State.

§1805. Commercial eel fishing license number

a. The Department shall assign a number to all commercial eel fishing licensees.

b. It shall be unlawful for a commercial eel fishing licensee to fish with commercial eel fishing gear without fixing his assigned number in two inch (2") block numbers prefixed by 'E' to each piece of gear in a conspicuous place on the floats, markers, stakes or flags observable above the surface of the waters at'all times.

§1806. Prohibited fishing devices and substances

a. It shall be unlawful for any person to make use of any net, trap, catching device, contrivance, explosive, chemical or substance whatsoever, except commercial eel fishing gear or noncommercial eel fishing gear as defined in §1801 for the purpose of taking or attempting to take eels for any reason whatsoever in any waters of this State. Said devices and/or substances when found unlawfully in use may be confiscated by tie Department. Said devices and/or substances shall be destroyed or disposed of by public auction. Costs of the auction will be taken from the proceeds; any balance from the auction will revert to the General Fund of the State of Delaware.

b. It shall be legal for the Department and its authorized agents to use chemicals, electrofishing apparatus and other devices deemed appropriate for use in eel management, research and other scientific purposes; provided consent is obtained from owners of privately owned waters, or in the event such owners cannot be located after a reasonable search, a notice will be posted on those waters and surrounding shores of the intended use of these devices, chemicals or devices five (5) days prior to their use.

§1807. Illegal use or destruction of eel fishing gear; penalty

a. It shall be unlawful for any person to fish, lift, remove or willfully damage or destroy any commercial or non-commercial eel fishing gear owned by another person, except that employees

of the Department may inspect commercial eel fishing gear to insure compliance with this Chapter.

§1808. Penalties

of the Peace Court shall have jurisdiction over offenses under this Chapter."

Section 2. Amend 6902, Chapter 9, Title 7, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new sub-paragraph (c) to read as follows:

"(c) The provisions of Chapter 18 of this Title shall govern eel fishing, anything in this section to the contrary notwithstanding."

Section 3. Amend 6904, Chapter 9, Title 7, Delaware Code by i'-serting after the word "fish" and before the word "other" as the same appear in sub-paragraph (3) thereof the words "except eels".

Section 4. Amend 6908, Chapter 9, Title 7, Delaware Code by striking the words "an eel pot" in their entirety as the sane appear in the first sentence thereof.

Section 5. Amend 6910, Chapter 9, Title 7, Delaware Code by inserting at the end of the first paragraph thereof the following:

"The provisions of Chapter 18 of this Title shall govern eel fishing, anything in this section to the contrary notwithstanding."

Section 6. Amend 6917, Chapter 9, Title 7, Delaware Code by inserting at the end of the first paragraph thereof the following:

"The provisions of Chapter 18 of this Title shall govern eel fishing, anything in this section to the contrary notwithstanding."

Section 7. Amend 61101, Chapter 1, Title 7, Delaware Code by striking the period "." at the end thereof in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"and Chapter 18 of this Title."

Section 8. Amend 41105, Chapter 11, Title 7, Delaware Code by striking the words "any eel under the length of 12 inches" as the same appear in the first sentence thereof in their entirety.

Section 9. Amend 61115, Chapter 11, Title 7, Delaware Code by inserting at the end of the first paragraph thereof the following:

"The provisions of Chapter 18 of this Title shall govern eel fishing, anything in this section to the contrary notwithstanding."

Approved May 1, 1978