[58 PA. CODE CH. 61]
[28 Pa.B. 1840]
The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend Chapter 61 (relating to seasons, sizes and creel limits). The Commission is publishing these amendments as a notice of proposed rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to the Fish and Boat Code) (code). The proposed amendments relate to fishing.
A. Effective Date
These proposed amendments will, if approved on final rulemaking, go into effect on January 1, 1999, or upon publication of an order adopting the regulations, whichever occurs later.
B. Contact Person
For further information on the proposed changes, contact Laurie E. Shepler, Assistant Counsel (717) 657-4546), P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000. This proposal is available electronically through the Commission's Web site (http://www.fish.state.pa.us).
C. Statutory Authority
These proposed amendments are published under the statutory authority of section 2102 of the code (relating to rules and regulations).
D. Purpose and Background
The proposed amendments are designed to update, modify and improve Commission regulations pertaining to fishing. The specific purpose of the various amendments is described in more detail under the summary of proposal.
E. Summary of Proposal
Sections 61.1 and 61.2 (relating to Commonwealth inland waters; and Delaware River and River Estuary). Management of American shad, hickory shad, gizzard shad and river herring (alewife and blueback herring) stocks are a real challenge to todays fisheries managers. Restoration efforts to one extent or the other for one or more of these species are occurring in the Susquehanna River basin and the Delaware River drainage, specifically the Lehigh River and to a lesser extent the Schuylkill River.
Recently, the Commission amended its prohibition of harvest of American shad in the Susquehanna River to include hickory shad and river herring (alewife and blueback herring) and increased the coverage to include all tributaries. Hickory shad are listed as a candidate species in § 75.3 (relating to candidate species) and, as such, could achieve endangered or threatened status in the future. The Commission is concerned that existing regulations, particularly as applied to the Delaware River, Estuary and tributaries, are not in harmony with the candidate species listing or the intent of restoration efforts.
Also, river specific and Statewide regulations are not clear as to the harvest of gizzard shad, particularly those longer than 8 inches (those 8 inches or less are considered baitfish) taken by hook and line either for personal consumption or use as bait for larger gamefish, such as muskellunge or striped bass. Gizzard shad occur in various waters across this Commonwealth with many landlocked populations maintained through natural reproduction, while others are of a migratory nature congregating in large concentrations downstream of dams. Harvest of this species should pose no threat to the stock but needs to be regulated from the standpoint of natural resource conservation ethics. Therefore, the Commission proposes to amend § 61.1 by adding no open season for hickory shad, by adding gizzard shad with an open year-round season with a 50 fish possession limit, and by adding a 50 fish daily possession limit for herring. The Commission also proposes to amend § 61.2 by adding hickory shad with a no open season.
The proposed amendments will not increase paperwork and will create no new paperwork requirements.
G. Fiscal Impact
The proposed amendments will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The proposed amendments will impose no new costs on the private sector or the general public.
H. Public Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about the proposed amendments to the Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, within 30 days after publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.
Comments also may be submitted electronically at ''email@example.com.'' A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each transmission. If an acknowledgment of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt.
PETER A. COLANGELO,
(Editor's Note: A proposal to amend § 61.1 remains outstanding at 28 Pa.B. 45 (January 3, 1998).)
Fiscal Note: 48A-80. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 61. SEASONS, SIZES AND CREEL LIMITS
§ 61.1. Commonwealth inland waters.
* * * * *
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, the following seasons, sizes and creel limits apply to inland waters of this Commonwealth and the Youghiogheny Reservoir:
SPECIES SEASONS MINIMUM SIZE DAILY LIMIT * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * [SHAD * * * *] [Open year-round] [No minimum]  AMERICAN SHAD * * * * Open year-round No minimum 6 HICKORY SHAD * * * * Closed year-round 0 GIZZARD SHAD * * * * Open year-round No minimum 50 HERRING Open year-round No minimum [No daily limit]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
§ 61.2. Delaware River and River Estuary.
* * * * *
(d) The following seasons, sizes and creel limits apply to the Delaware River and to Delaware River tributaries from the mouths of the tributaries upstream to the limit of the tidal influence:
SPECIES SEASONS MINIMUM SIZE DAILY LIMIT * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * [SHAD] [Open year-round] [No minimum]  AMERICAN SHAD Open year-round No minimum 6 HICKORY SHAD Closed year-round 0 * * * * *
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 98-596. Filed for public inspection April 17, 1998, 9:00 a.m.]
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