[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 65 ]
Fishing; Special Fishing Regulations
[46 Pa.B. 2557]
[Saturday, May 21, 2016]
The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend Chapter 65 (relating to special fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing this proposed rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code).
A. Effective Date
The proposed rulemaking, if approved on final-form rulemaking, will go into effect on January 1, 2017.
B. Contact Person
For further information on the proposed rulemaking, contact Laurie E. Shepler, Esq., P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7810. This proposed rulemaking is available on the Commission's web site at www.fish.state.pa.us.
C. Statutory Authority
The proposed amendment to § 65.24 (relating to miscellaneous special regulations) is published under the statutory authority of section 2307 of the code (relating to waters limited to specific purposes).
D. Purpose and Background
The proposed rulemaking is designed to improve, enhance and update the Commission's fishing regulations. The specific purpose of the proposed amendment is described in more detail under the summary of proposal.
E. Summary of Proposal
Foster Joseph Sayers Lake is located in Centre County and currently managed under § 65.11 (relating to panfish enhancement) for black and white crappie (9-inch minimum size limit and 20 fish/day creel limit). While there has been an increase in the trap net catch of legal-size crappie post panfish enhancement regulations, the proportion of legal-size fish is still relatively low at approximately 8%. The majority of adult fish are in the 7-inch and 8-inch length groups, just under the legal size limit. Age and growth analyses for crappie indicate an overall reduction in growth rates, especially for these size groups. Angler use, harvest and opinion surveys conducted at the lake indicate high angler effort directed towards crappie with high catch rates but reduced harvest under panfish enhancement regulations. In addition, angler satisfaction has slowly declined with both the number and size of crappie caught.
The current status of the crappie fishery is not satisfactory to many anglers and may be improved through an alternate regulation. Sayers Lake is one of the most productive reservoirs in this Commonwealth and has the ability to produce a higher quality crappie fishery than currently exists.
The Commission proposes that the daily creel limit be reduced from 20 fish/day to 10 fish/day and proposes a change in the number of fish both over and under 9 inches that can be harvested to better manage the population from overexploitation while also being acceptable to anglers. The proposed amendment will allow anglers to harvest 10 crappies/day, of which no more than 5 crappies may be greater than or equal to 9 inches in length. For example, anglers will be able to harvest 10 crappies less than 9 inches, or 9 crappies less than 9 inches and 1 crappie greater than or equal to 9 inches, or 8 crappies less than 9 inches and 2 crappies greater than or equal to 9 inches, and so on. Under this proposed amendment, anglers will have a reasonable expectation of harvesting 10 crappies/day should they choose to do so, while still providing some additional protection to the larger fish in the population. This is not the case under the current regulation. The creel limit reduction from 20 fish to 10 fish is designed to prevent an overharvest given the number of anglers that are expected to harvest fish under a less restrictive length limit.
In anticipation of a proposed changed, Commission staff interviewed 111 ice anglers on January 30, 2016, to obtain their feedback. A significant majority (74%) were in favor of a new regulation. A public information session was also held on February 23, 2016, at Bald Eagle State Park to gain additional angler input. Attendees were split between regulation options and preferred those that allowed more crappies to be harvested. Following the meeting, Commission staff conducted data reviews and modeling of the various regulatory options and arrived at the proposed amendment. This will allow an increased opportunity for harvest while providing sufficient protection for an increased number of fish to reach quality size exceeding 9 inches.
The Commission proposes that § 65.24 be amended to read as set forth in Annex A.
The proposed rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will not create new paperwork requirements.
G. Fiscal Impact
The proposed rulemaking will not have adverse fiscal impacts on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The proposed rulemaking will not impose 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 rulemaking to the Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000 within 30 days after publication of this proposed rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.
Comments also may be submitted electronically by completing the form at www.fishandboat.com/regcomments. If an acknowledgment of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt. Electronic comments submitted in any other manner will not be accepted.
JOHN A. ARWAY,
Fiscal Note: 48A-271. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 65. SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS
§ 65.24. Miscellaneous special regulations.
The following waters are subject to the following miscellaneous special regulations:
County Name of Water Special Regulations * * * * *
Blair, Huntingdon, Juniata,
Mifflin and Perry
Juniata River and its tributaries Rock bass—Daily creel limit is 10; open year-round; no minimum size limit. Centre Foster Joseph Sayers Lake Crappie—10 fish daily creel limit of which no more than 5 fish may be greater than or equal to 9 inches in length. Centre and Mifflin Penns [Creed] Creek, from
the confluence of Elk Creek
downstream 7 miles to 600
meters downstream of Swift Run
Open to fishing year-round. All tackle types are permitted. From 8 a.m. on the first Saturday after April 11 through Labor Day—the daily creel limit for trout is 2 (combined species). Trout must be at least 7 inches but less than 12 inches in length to be killed or possessed. From the day after Labor Day until 8 a.m. on the first Saturday after April 11, no trout may be killed or possessed. Inland regulations apply to all other species. This miscellaneous special regulation will remain in effect until December 31, 2020. * * * * *
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-863. Filed for public inspection May 20, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]
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