FISH AND GAME
FISH, SHELLFISH, LOBSTERS AND CRABS
Salt Water Fish, Clams, Etc.
I. The purpose of this section is to encourage the orderly development of aquaculture in the state, while ensuring that aquaculture operations do not adversely impact upon the state's aquatic and marine resources and do not pose unacceptable disease, ecological, environmental, health, safety or welfare risks to persons, the environment, aquatic species or marine species.
II. In this section:
(a) "Aquatic species" include, but are not limited to, all fish, crustacea, mollusks, invertebrates and aquatic plants which usually inhabit fresh water.
(b) "Aquaculture" means the propagation and rearing of aquatic species and marine species and includes the planting, promoting of growth, harvesting and transporting of these species in, on, or from the waters of this state, or the operation of a fishing preserve.
II-a. The executive director shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to license types, fees, bonding, insurance and the taking, permitting, inspection, possession, processing, sale, propagation, rearing, planting, growth promotion, harvesting, releasing and transportation of aquatic or marine species as related to aquaculture or fishing preserve operations including, but not limited to:
(a) The size, sex, number and quantity that may be taken, processed, or imported.
(b) The areas to be opened or closed to their taking, rearing, harvesting, releasing, planting, and growth promotion.
(c) The method and manner of their taking.
(d) The transportation within or through the state of New Hampshire and its waters.
(e) The sale, inspection, processing, and marking.
(f) Method of keeping.
(g) Method of recapture.
(h) All fees for bids, applications, review, monitoring, lease or rent, harvest, processing, and any other costs to the department for the issuance or renewal of a license or permit.
(i) Appropriate definitions.
II-b. The executive director shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, for the issuance of 5-year licenses under this section to oyster aquaculture operations in the Great Bay estuary, and the fees, terms, and conditions therefor as authorized under paragraph II-a. The executive director shall establish a surcharge on each license issued under this section of not more than $25 nor less than $10 to be deposited in the derelict fishing gear and coastal cleanup fund established in RSA 211:77, and shall adopt rules for implementing and collecting the surcharge. Any person who satisfactorily demonstrates to the executive director that he or she is participating in a coastal cleanup program shall not be required to pay the surcharge. The executive director shall adopt rules pursuant to RSA 541-A to determine satisfactory participation in a coastal cleanup program and to account for licensees who are exempt from the surcharge each year.
III. (a) A person may be granted an aquaculture license by the executive director, under such terms and conditions as he may deem necessary, to release and recapture domestically reared anadromous fish in state waters.
(b) No license shall be issued which may interfere with the natural or established runs of anadromous fish, result in waste or deterioration of fish, or when the proposed operation is on a stream or river below a state or federal fish hatchery or egg taking station.
(c) All fish released into the wild under the authority of this section, while they are in the wild, will lose their status as private property and may be taken by duly licensed anglers as defined under RSA 207:1.
(d) Any license granted by the executive director pursuant to this section shall contain the following conditions:
(1) Domestically reared anadromous fish released into state waters shall be marked if the executive director determines it practicable. Any marking shall be approved by him.
(2) If the executive director finds that the operation described in the license and conducted pursuant to this section is not in the public interest, he may alter the conditions of the license to mitigate the adverse effects, or cause an orderly termination of the operation under the license. An orderly termination shall not exceed a 3-year period and shall culminate in the revocation of the license in its entirety. During this period, the licensee may continue to take specified domesticated anadromous fish according to the provisions of the license but shall be prohibited from releasing any additional fish.
(3) If the executive director finds that the operation has caused deterioration of the natural or established runs of anadromous fish in the waters covered by the license he shall require the licensee to return the run to the same condition as it was prior to the issue of the license. If the licensee fails to take appropriate action, the executive director may take such action and the licensee shall bear any cost incurred by the agency.
(4) Prior to the release into state waters all fish shall be examined by a qualified pathologist approved by the executive director and certified that they are not diseased or affected with any disease which in the opinion of the executive director may be detrimental to the resources of the state.
(5) If the licensed operation is located on a stream or river which does not have a state or federal fish passage facility the licensee shall have the right to divert all fish returning to the stream or river to an inspection area as authorized by the executive director, and shall be allowed to examine all fish for the purpose of identifying domestically reared fish that have returned. No unmarked fish may be transported from the trapping facility and must immediately be returned unmarked to the stream or river.
(6) If the operation is located on a stream or river possessing a state owned fish passage facility, fish and game department personnel will examine all fish and separate and hold any marked domestically reared fish that have returned. The licensee shall reimburse the fish and game department for actual expenses incurred.
Source. 1978, 40:26. 1979, 254:1. 1992, 171:4-7, 12, III. 1995, 238:3, 4. 2008, 72:1, eff. July 20, 2008. 2012, 90:1, eff. July 28, 2012. 2021, 208:2, Pt. V, Sec. 6, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.