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§20-2.1-4  Licenses – General provisions governing licenses issued. –

Published: 2015

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Fish and Wildlife

CHAPTER 20-2.1

Commercial Fishing Licenses

SECTION 20-2.1-4

   § 20-2.1-4  Licenses – General

provisions governing licenses issued. –

(a) Licenses and vessel declarations required. It shall be unlawful for

any person in Rhode Island or the waters of the state: (1) To catch, harvest,

or to hold or transport for sale in Rhode Island any marine finfish,

crustacean, or shellfish without a license issued under the provisions of this

title, provided, however, that marine finfish, crustaceans, or shellfish may be

transported by a duly licensed dealer if the marine finfish, crustaceans, or

shellfish have previously been sold by a duly licensed person; or (2) To engage

in commercial fishing from a vessel unless the vessel has been declared a

commercial fishing vessel as provided in § 20-2.1-5(2) and has a decal

affixed to it or is displaying a plate.

   (b) Validation of license. No license issued under

this chapter shall be valid until signed by the licensee in his or her own


   (c) Transfer or loan of license. Unless otherwise

provided for in this title, a license issued to a person under this chapter

shall be good only for the person to whom it is issued and any transfer or loan

of the license shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of that license

pursuant to § 20-2-13.

   (d) Reporting and inspections condition of license.

All persons granted a license under the provisions of this chapter are deemed

to have consented to the reporting requirements applicable to commercial

fishing actively that are established pursuant to this title and to the

reasonable inspection of any boat, vessel, net, rake, bullrake, tong, dredge,

trap, pot, vehicle, structure, or other contrivance used regularly for the

keeping or storage of fish, shellfish or crustaceans, and any creel, box,

locker, basket, crate, blind, fishing, or paraphernalia used in conjunction

with the licensed activity by persons duly authorized by the director. The

provisions of § 20-1-8(a)(7)(ii) shall apply to these inspections.

   (e) Possession, inspection, and display of license.

Every person holding a license issued under this chapter shall have that

license in his or her possession at all times while engaged in the licensed

activity and shall present the license for inspection on demand by any

authorized person. Any person who shall refuse to present a license on demand

shall be liable to the same punishment as if that person were fishing without a


   (f) Application for license. Every person entitled to

a license under this chapter shall file an application with the director, or

the director's authorized agent, properly sworn to, stating the name, age,

occupation, place of residence, mailing address, weight, height, and color of

hair and eyes of the applicant for whom the license is wanted and providing any

other information that may be required pursuant to rule in order to effectuate

the purposes of this chapter, and pay the fees as provided in this chapter. All

licenses issued under this chapter shall be valid only for the calendar year of

issuance, unless otherwise specified in this chapter or in the rules and

regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter. If the person will be either the

owner or the operator as provided in § 20-2.1-5(5) of a commercial fishing

vessel, the person shall declare, on the application for each commercial

fishing vessel, the vessel name, length, horsepower, registration number,

federal permit number, if any, gear type(s), the principal fishery or

fisheries, and average projected crew size.

   (g) Application deadline, grace period for renewals, and

limitation on appeals after the deadlines. For commercial marine fishing

licenses provided for in §§ 20-2.1-5 and 20-2.1-6, the following

provisions shall apply: (1) Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, an

individual qualified to obtain a license must submit an application to the

department of environmental management no later than February 28 of each year;

license application shall be deemed valid if submitted to the department prior

to the close of regular office hours on February 28 or if postmarked by

February 28; (2) Unless otherwise specified in this title, no new or renewed

licenses shall be issued after February 28 of each year, unless an applicant

has submitted an application by the February 28 deadline required by this

section; (3) The department shall notify all license holders, in writing,

regarding the December 31 expiration and the February 28 renewal deadline no

later than November 1 of each year; (4) For renewals of existing commercial

marine fishing licenses that expire on December 31 of the immediately preceding

year, there shall be a sixty-day (60) grace period from the renewal deadline of

February 28; licenses issued during the grace period shall be subject to a late

fee in the amount of two-hundred dollars ($200) in addition to all other

applicable fees; (5) Except as provided for in subsection (g)(4) or §

20-2.1-5 (1)(iv)(A), the department shall not accept any applications submitted

after February 28; and (6) There shall be no right to request reconsideration

by the commercial fishing license review board or appeal to the department of

environmental management's administrative adjudication division (AAD) for the

rejection of any new license applications submitted after February 28, or any

license renewal applications submitted after the sixty (60) day grace period,

except in the case of a documented medical hardship as defined herein.

   (h) Lost or destroyed licenses and duplicate licenses.

Whoever loses, or by a mistake or accident destroys his or her certificate of a

commercial marine fisheries license, may, upon application to the department

accompanied by an affidavit fully setting forth the circumstances of the loss,

receive a duplicate certificate for the remainder of the year covered by the

original certificate, for a fee of ten dollars ($10.00) for each duplicate


   (i) Revocation of licenses.

   (1) License revocation. The license of any person who

has violated the provisions of this chapter, or rules adopted pursuant to the

provisions of this chapter, or rules and regulations that pertain to commercial

fishing and reporting issued pursuant to this title, may be suspended or

revoked by the director as the director shall determine by regulation. Any

person aggrieved by an order of suspension or revocation may appeal this order

in accordance with the provisions of the administrative procedures act, chapter

35 of title 42.

   (2) False statements and violations; cancellation of

license. Any person who willfully makes a false representation as to

birthplace or requirements of identification or of other facts required in an

application for license under this chapter, or is otherwise directly or

indirectly a party to a false representation, shall be punished by a fine of

not more than fifty dollars ($50.00). A license obtained by any person through

a false representation shall be null and void, and the license shall be

surrendered immediately to the director. No license shall be issued under this

title to this person for a period of one year from the date of imposition of a

penalty under this section.

   (3) False, altered, forged, or counterfeit licenses.

Every person who falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits, or who causes

to be made, altered, forged, or counterfeited, a license issued under this

chapter or title or purporting to be a license issued under this chapter or

title, or who shall have in his or her possession such a license knowing it to

be false, altered, forged, or counterfeit, is guilty of a misdemeanor and is

subject to the penalties prescribed in § 20-1-16.

   (j) Expiration. Unless otherwise specified in this

title, all licenses issued under this chapter shall be annual and shall expire

on December 31 of each year. It shall be unlawful for any person to fish

commercially in Rhode Island waters on an expired license; and the application

and grace periods set forth in subsections (g)(1) and (g)(4) above shall not

extend the validity of any expired license.

   (k) Notice of change of address. Whenever any person

holding any commercial fishing license shall move from the address named in his

or her last application, that person shall, within ten (10) days subsequent to

moving, notify the office of boat registration and licensing of his or her

former and current address.

History of Section.

(P.L. 2002, ch. 47, § 4; P.L. 2004, ch. 8, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 16,

§ 3; P.L. 2015, ch. 177, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 199, § 1.)