Waiting on the Wind
Native Kennebec Striped Bass Need Your Help

Department of Marine Resources NOTICE OF AGENCY RULE-MAKING PROPOSAL
RULE TITLE: Chapter 42.03 Striped Bass – Closed Area and Closed Season (Kennebec River and Sheepscot river areas)
CONCISE SUMMARY:
The proposed rulemaking would remove the marine bait prohibition and replace it with the requirement to use circle hooks while using marine bait when fishing in the Kennebec River closed area during the established May 1 to June 30th season. The closed area is also proposed to change from upstream and inside the line drawn from Cape Small to Cape Newagen to a line upstream and inside from Fort Popham, Phippsburg to Kennebec Point to Indian Point, Georgetown, and upstream from a line in the area called Robinhood between Lowe Point, Phippsburg to Newdick Point, Westport and downstream of the Route 144 Westport Island Bridge therefore removing the Sheepscot River from the Kennebec rules and placing it under the statewide regulations. The proposed rulemaking is available online at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rulemaking/ .
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: 12 M.R.S. §6171
PUBLIC HEARING: April 4, 2011, 6pm, Bath City Hall, 1st Floor Auditorium, 55 Front Street, Bath DEADLINE FOR WRITTEN COMMENTS: April 14, 2011 To ensure consideration, comments must include your name and the organization you represent, if any. Please be aware that any risk of non-delivery associated with submissions by fax or e-mail is on the sender.
AGENCY CONTACT PERSONS: AGENCY NAME: ADDRESS: WEB SITE:
Bruce Joule (207-633-9505) or Pat Keliher (207-287-9973) Department of Marine Resources PO Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04575-0008 http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rulemaking/
TEL: (207) 633-9584 FAX:(207) 633-9579 TTY:(207) 633-9500 (Deaf/Hard of Hearing) Hearing facilities: If you require accommodations due to disability, please contact Amanda Beckwith, at (207)
E-MAIL: laurice.churchill@maine.gov 287-7578.
Additional information:
The original rule adopted in 1990 was based on mortality concerns for native striped bass within the Kennebec River during their spawning season n May and June. This was due to the primary use of J hooks, which at the time posed an unacceptably high hook and release mortality. In 2010 the Department adopted a year round circle hook rule to improve the reduction of the discard mortality for striped bass caught and released by recreational anglers. Those rules become effective after two seasons to allow tackle shops to reduce inventory and as an education period.
The “Recreational Fishing Alliance” has requested the proposed rulemaking to open the Kennebec to bait fishing with circle hooks during May and June. In their opinion this request is consistent with the Department of Marine Resources’ objectives to reduce discard mortality through circle hooks while also opening these waters to bait fishermen and guide businesses currently prohibited from fishing these waters for a significant portion of the season. Therefore opening this area would have a positive impact on the recreational fishing industry.
Proposed rulemaking – see underlined or deleted text below:
Chapter 42 - Striped Bass 42.03 Striped Bass - Closed Area and Closed Season
A. Except as provided in Chapter 42.03 (B), from the 1st day of December to June 30, inclusive, it is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass from the tidal waters of the Kennebec River inside and upstream of a line drawn from the outer extremity of Cape Small to the outer extremity of Salter Island, thence to the outer extremity of Cape Newagen Fort Popham, Phippsburg to the southern end of Kennebec Point, Georgetown, thence east to the southernmost tip of Indian Point, Georgetown; and from Lowe Point, Georgetown to Newdick Point, Westport (Robinhood); plus downstream from the Route 144 Westport Island Bridge; and including Merrymeeting Bay and tributaries, the tidal waters of the Sheepscot River, Androscoggin River, Sasanoa River, and all other tidal tributaries of the Kennebec River. From July 1 through November 30, statewide regulations for striped bass apply to this area.
B. Special Hook and Release Season/Area. From May 1 to June 30, it shall be lawful to fish for striped bass in the waters described in Chapter 42.03(A) with a hook and line and single-hooked artificial lures (a hook may have one, two or three points), and with bait, solely as prescribed below in Chapter 42.03(C). Any striped bass caught during this special season/area fishery shall be immediately released and returned alive, without further injury, to the waters from which they were taken.
C. Waters Seasonally Closed to the Use of Bait. Use of Circle Hooks and Bait. From May 1 to June 30, inclusive, it is unlawful to use any hook other than a circle hook when using marine bait. For purposes of this chapter the definition of circle hook means a non-offset hook with a point that points 90o back toward the shaft of the hook. it is unlawful to possess or use bait while hook and line fishing for any finfish species in waters described in 42.03(A). During this closed season (May 1 to June 30), possession of hook and line fishing gear and bait on waters described in 42.03(A) is prima facie evidence of violating this regulation. For purposes of this section, "bait" is defined as any live or dead marine organism, or part thereof.
Note: No other changes are proposed in Chapter 42.

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