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  • MLCA

Bumpy Road to Zone C Closure

  1. The Council holds a Zone Council Meeting and may initiate the process to make the Zone Limited Entry by voting for a written survey of license holders to be conducted. At least 2/3 of the Council members must be present to have a quorum. A majority of the Council members present and voting must vote in favor of sending the survey.

  2. If the vote is in favor, the Council then sends a letter to the Commissioner stating that they have voted to conduct a survey. Upon receipt of the letter, the law requires that the Commissioner close the zone to new entrants while the survey is taking place. Students can still upgrade to a commercial license when they complete the apprenticeship program (AP).

  3. The closure of the Zone is in effect until either: the Council decides not to advance a proposal; or regulations defining an exit ratio are adopted; or the Commissioner determines he or she will not initiate rulemaking to establish Limited Entry.In no event can the Zone remain closed for longer than one year, unless Limited Entry regulations are adopted. When a Zone is “closed” lobster and crab fishing licenses for the current year (2016) can only be issued to people who held a license in the previous licensing year (2015) and indicated that zone as their fishing zone (no transfers). A Waiting List for new entrants wishing to enter the Zone will be established. Students will still be able to upgrade to a commercial license.

  4. The survey is mailed to all commercial lobster license holders in the Zone. The survey may ask: whether there is support for Limited Entry in the Zone (Yes or No); what the exit ratio to limit new entrants should be (1:1, 2:1, 3:1, etc.); what “currency” should be used for the yearly entry calculation (licenses not renewed or maximum number of trap tags associated with licenses not renewed) .When a zone proposes to establish an exit ratio for the first time to limit new zone entrants, it may also propose to the Commissioner to grandfather individuals that have completed at least 92% of the hours required (920 hours) and at least 92% of the days required (184 days) by the AP by the date the Commissioner receives written notification from the Zone Council. . The people who meet these requirements are able to get a commercial lobster license upon completion of the AP without going on the waiting list.

  5. After DMR tallies the results, the Council meets to review the survey results and determine if they want to make a proposal to the Commissioner.The Council is not required to submit the proposed exit ratio to the Commissioner and the proposed exit ratio does not need to receive approval through the survey in order for the Council to forward the proposal to the Commissioner.

  6. The Council may recommend an exit ratio and currency (licenses or tags) to the Commissioner, by sending a letter, if they are proposing that the Commissioner initiate the rulemaking process.

  7. A public hearing is held within the affected Zone, and people can also provide written comment.

  8. If the Commissioner advances the rulemaking to the DMR Advisory Council (AC), the AC may vote to adopt the regulations or may reject them.

  9. If there is an affirmative vote by the DMR AC, the rule is then filed with the Secretary of State, and becomes effective 5 days later.

  10. Once an exit ratio is adopted for a Limited Entry Zone, the Council may not vote to conduct a survey or make a proposal to the Department for a new exit ratio for a minimum of 24 months from the effective date of the regulation establishing the exit ratio.If an exit ratio is not adopted after a survey has been conducted in the Zone and the Council made a recommendation to the Commissioner regarding an exit ratio, the Council may not vote to conduct another survey for 36 months from the date of the previous vote by the Council to conduct a survey.

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