§ 2501 Size limit.
It shall be unlawful for any person to take from any waters within the jurisdiction of the State or have in that person’s possession at any time any American lobster with a minimum carapace length measuring less than 31/4 inches between January 1, 1989 and December 31, 1990; 39/32 inches between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 1991; and 35/16 inches after January 1, 1992, and 33/8 inches beginning July 1, 2004. The carapace, or body shell, is measured from the rear end of the eye socket along a line parallel to the center line of the carapace to the posterior end of the carapace. Further, it shall be unlawful for any person to take from any waters within the jurisdiction of the state or have in that person’s possession, at any time, any female American lobster with a carapace length measuring more than 51/2 inches except that beginning July 1, 2008, no male or female lobster may be taken or possessed that has a carapace length measuring more than 51/4 inches.
§ 2502 Female lobsters bearing eggs.
It shall be unlawful for a person to take, offer for sale or have in his or her possession at any time any female lobster bearing eggs visible thereon (berried lobsters) or any female lobster from which the eggs have been removed.
§ 2503 Landing of dismembered lobsters.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to bring to shore in Delaware or have in possession on the waters of this State any dismembered lobsters, detached tails or claws, picked or cooked lobster meat.
§ 2504 Commercial lobster pot license.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to catch or land lobsters for commercial purposes in this State unless said person has applied for, secured from the Department and has in his or her possession a valid commercial lobster pot license. The fee for a resident commercial lobster license shall be $57.50. The fee for a nonresident commercial lobster license shall be $575. Said license shall be valid only for the commercial taking of lobsters from 1 vessel operated by the applicant or designee as specified in the license.
(b) Residential commercial lobster licenses shall be issued only to residents of this State.
(c) In the event that a licensee is unable to tend his or her lobster pots from the vessel specified in his or her license application, said licensee shall apply to the Secretary for a written permit to be carried on his or her person to tend his or her pots from another specified vessel for a period to be specified by the Department.
§ 2505 Area permitted; method of taking.
(a) Potting for lobsters is permitted in any waters under the jurisdiction of the State.
(b) It shall be unlawful to take or attempt to take lobsters for commercial purposes by any method other than a lobster pot. The number of and design of said pots will be established by regulation.
(c) It shall be unlawful to take or attempt to take lobsters by dragging, dredging, trawling and spearing.
§ 2506 Marking of commercial lobster pots and vessels.
The buoys of all lobster pots placed for commercial purposes shall be marked with the color code and number that is assigned to each commercial lobster pot licensee. All buoys must be of a positive flotation material. The lobstering vessel specified on the license shall display the color code assigned to the licensee on a panel measuring at least 2 feet by 2 feet. Said panel must be fully visible from either side of said vessel. It shall be unlawful for any person to lift any commercial lobster pot from a vessel other than the 1 corresponding to the color code on that pot buoy. Any pot attached to a buoy, which is not marked as specified in the regulation, may be confiscated by the Department. Any person guilty of removing lobsters from any commercial lobster pot from a vessel other than the 1 corresponding to the color code on that pot buoy shall be guilty of a class C environmental violation.
§ 2507 Seasons; limits.
The Department will establish by regulation the seasons for the taking of lobsters and will determine the number of lobster pots which may be set by any 1 licensee. If, in its discretion, the Department determines from biological evidence that emergency restrictions are necessary to protect lobsters or other shellfish resources of the State, it may do so with advance notice as it deems necessary.
§ 2508 Noncommercial lobstering.
(a) A lobster pot placed by a person for noncommercial purposes shall be marked with a buoy painted white and have black lettering, and be marked with the initials “N.C.” followed by a dash and then followed by the owner’s initials (i.e., John Smith would mark his lobster pot buoys as follows: “N.C. — J.S.”). The use of more than 2 lobster pots by any individual or his or her agents shall constitute prima facie evidence of commercial intent and shall be unlawful.
(b) Noncommercial potting for lobster is permitted in any waters under the jurisdiction of the State.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person who is engaged in noncommercial lobstering to sell any lobsters.
(d) Any individual diver may catch, by hand, up to 2 lobsters a day.
§ 2509 Unloading locations.
It shall be unlawful for any person to unload lobsters taken from the waters or shellfish grounds within the jurisdiction of the State at any port or unloading facilities located outside the geographic boundaries of the State. Any person violating this section will be guilty of a class C environmental violation.