Shellfish Conservation Ordinance
Town of Cranberry Isles, Maine

Please Note: This web version of the ordinance is provided by the webmaster solely for your convenience.  I have corrected obvious spelling or other errors inside square brackets -- for example: sedn [send].  Interested parties should consult the official printed ordinance for the final say.


1.) AUTHORITY: This ordinance is enacted in accordance with 12 M.R.S.A. Section 6671.

2.) PURPOSE: To establish a shellfish conservation program for The Town of Cranberry Isles which will insure the protection and optimum utilization of shellfish resources within its limits. These goals will be achieved by means which include:

A. Licensing
B. Limiting the number of shellfish harvesters.
C. Restricting the time and area where digging is permitted.
D. Limiting the minimum size of clams taken.
E. Limiting the amount of clams taken daily by a harvester.

3.) SHELLFISH CONSERVATION COMMITTEE: The Shellfish Conservation Program for the Town of Cranberry Isles will be administered by the Shellfish Conservation Committee consisting of five members to be elected annually at town meeting or appointed by selectmen/council for terms of three years.

The committee's responsibilities include:

A. Establishing annually in conjunction with the Department of Marine Resources the number of shellfish digging licenses to be issued.

B. Reviewing annually the status of the resource using the results of clam flat, harvester or dealer surveys and other sources of information and preparing in conjunction with and subject to the approval of the department a plan for implementing conservation measures.

C. Submitting to the Board of Selectmen proposals for the expenditures of funds for the purpose of shellfish conservation.

D. Keeping this ordinance under review and making recommendations for its amendments.

E. Securing and maintaining records of shellfish harvest from the Town's managed shellfish areas and closed areas that are conditionally opened by the Department of Marine Resources.

F. Recommending conservation closures and openings to the Board of Selectmen or Council in conjunction with the Area Biologists of the Department of Marine Resources.

G. Submitting an annual report to the Municipality and the Department of Marine Resources covering the above topics and all other committee activities.

4.) DEFINITIONS:

A. RESIDENT: The term "resident" refers to a person who pays real estate taxes to the Town of Cranberry Isles.

B. NON-RESIDENT: The term "non-resident" means anyone not qualified as a resident under this ordinance.

C. SHELLFISH, CLAMS, AND INTER TIDAL SHELLFISH RESOURCES: When used in context of this ordinance the words "shellfish", "clams", and "inter tidal shellfish resources" mean soft shell clams (Mya Arenaria), quahog, hen clams and oysters.

D. MUNICIPALITY: Refers to the Town of Cranberry Isles, ME.

5.) LICENSING: A Municipal Shellfish Digging License is required. It is unlawful for any person to dig or take shellfish from the shores and flats of this municipality without having a current license issued by this municipality as provided by this ordinance. No commercial digging will be allowed within the municipality for the immediate future (next five years from approval of this ordinance). The Shellfish Conservation Committee, in conjunction with the DMR, shall review conservation efforts regarding commercial digging and make a determination in 2008 as to opening Town of Cranberry Isles flats for commercial shellfish purposes.

A. DESIGNATION, SCOPE, AND QUALIFICATION:

1.) RESIDENTIAL RECREATIONAL SHELLFISH LICENSE: The license is available to residents and real estate taxpayers of this municipality and entitles the holder to dig and take no more than one peck of shellfish in any one day for the use of himself and his family.

2.) NON-RESIDENT RECREATIONAL SHELLFISH LICENSE: The license is available to any person not a resident of this municipality and entitles the holder to dig and take not more than one peck of shellfish in any one day for the use of himself and his family.

3.) LICENSE MUST BE SIGNED: The licensee must sign the license to make it valid.

B. APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Any person may apply to the Town Clerk for the licenses required by this ordinance on forms provided by the municipality.

1.) CONTENTS OF APPLICATION: The application must be in the form of an affidavit and must contain the applicant's name, current address, birth date, height, weight, signature and whatever information the municipality may require.

2.) MISREPRESENTATION: Any person who gives false information on a license application will cause said license to become invalid and void.

C. FEES: The fees for the license must accompany in full the application for the respective license. The Town Clerk shall pay all fees received to the Town Treasurer except for $1.00 of each license which will be retained by the clerk as payment for issuing the license. Fees received for shellfish licensing shall be used by the Town for shellfish management, conservation and enforcement.

Residential Recreational:$16.00
Non-Residential Recreational:$31.00

D.l LIMITATION OF DIGGERS: Clam resources vary in density and size distribution from year to year and over the limited soft clam producing area of the Town. It is essential that the Town carefully husband its shellfish resources. If, following the annual review of the Town's clam resources, its size distribution, abundance and the warden's reports, as required by Section 3, the Shellfish Conservation Committee, in consultation with the DMR area biologist, may determine limiting commercial or recreational shellfish licenses is an appropriate shellfish management option for the following year:

1.) PRIOR TO JANUARY 1ST the committee shall report its findings and document recommendations for the allocation of commercial and recreational licenses to be made available for the following license year to the Commissioner of Marine Resources for concurrence.

2.) After receiving approval of proposed license allocations from the Commissioner of Marine Resources and prior to FEBRUARY 1, the Shellfish Conservation Committee shall notify the Town Clerk in writing of the number and allocation of shellfish licenses to be issued.

3.) Notice of the number of licenses to be issued and the procedure for application shall be published in a trade or industry publication, or in a newspaper or combination of newspapers with general circulation, which the municipal officers consider effective in reaching persons affected, no less than 10 DAYS prior to the PERIOD OF ISSUANCE and shall be posted in the municipal offices until the period concludes.

4.) The Town Clerk, or her designate should they be located on a different island within the municipality, shall issue licenses to residents and non-residents as allocated (subparagraph 1).

D.2 OPEN LICENSE SALES: When the Shellfish Conservation Committee determines that limiting shellfish licenses is not an appropriate shellfish management option for one or more license categories for the following year:

1.) Notice of the dates, places, times and the procedures for license sales shall be published in a trade or industry publication, or in a newspaper or combination of newspapers with general circulation, which the municipal officers consider effective in reaching persons affected, not less than 10 days prior to the initial sale date and shall be posted in the municipal offices. A COPY OF THE NOTICE SHALL BE PROVIDED TO THE COMMISSIONER OF MARINE RESOURCES.

2.) For each category, the Town Clerk shall issue one license to non-residents when six licenses are issued to residents, and one more to non-residents when four more are issued to residents; thereafter, one non-resident license will be issued for every ten additional licenses issued.

Sequence: Resident   Non-resident  
  6 = 1 then,
  4 = 1 then,
each additional 10 = 1  

E.) LICENSE EXPIRATION DATE: Each license issued under authority of this ordinance expires at midnight on the LAST day of February, next following date of issuance.

F.) RECIPROCAL HARVESTING PRIVILEGES: Licenses from any other municipality cooperating with this municipality on a joint shellfish management program may harvest shellfish according to the terms of this license.

G.) FEE WAIVERS: Recreational shellfish license fees will be waived for residents and non-residents, 60 years or older and 12 years or younger.

H.) SUSPENSION: Any shellfish licensee having three convictions for a violation of this ordinance shall have his shellfish license automatically suspended for a period of thirty (30) days.

1.) A licensee whose shellfish license has been suspended pursuant to this ordinance may reapply for a license only after the suspension period has expired.

2.) The suspension shall be effective from the date of mailing of a Notice of Suspension by the Town Clerk to the licensee.

3.) Any licensee whose shellfish license has automatically been suspended pursuant to this section shall be entitled to a hearing before the Shellfish Conservation Committee upon the filing of a written Request for Hearing with the Town Clerk within thirty (30) days following the effective date of suspension. The Licensee may appeal the decision of the Shellfish Conservation Committee before the Board of Selectmen/Town Council by filing a written Request for Appeal with the Town Clerk within seven (7) days of the decision of the Shellfish Conservation Committee.

6.) OPENING AND CLOSING OF FLATS: The Municipal Officers, upon the approval of the Commissioner of Marine Resources, may open and close areas for shellfish harvest. Upon recommendations of the Shellfish Conservation Committee and concurrence of the Department Of Marine Resources area biologist that the status of the shellfish resource and other factors bearing on sound management indicate that an area should be opened or closed, The Municipal Officers may call a public hearing, and shall send a copy of the notice to the Department of Marine Resources. The decision of the Municipal Officers made after the hearing shall be based on findings of fact.

7.) STATE CLOSURE: Any area closed by the State must then be opened by the State, this area will remain closed by the Town until further notice from the State.

8.) MINIMUM LEGAL SIZE OF SOFT SHELL CLAMS: It is unlawful for any person to possess soft shell clams within the municipality which are less than two (2) inches in the longest diameter except as provided in Subsection B of this section.

A. DEFINITIONS:

1) LOT: The word "lot" as used in this ordinance means the total number of soft shell clams in any bulk pile. Where soft shell clams are in a box, barrel, or other container, the contents of each box, barrel, or other container constitutes a separate lot.

2) POSSESS: For the purpose of this section, "possess" means dig, take, harvest, ship, transport, hold, buy and sell retail and wholesale soft shell clam shell stock.

B. TOLERANCE: Any person may possess soft shell clams that are less than two inches provided less than one peck is undersize out of four pecks taken at random from various parts of the lot, or by a count of the entire lot if it [the lot] contains less than one peck with no more than 10 percent being under 2 inches in size.

C. PENALTY: Whoever violates any provision of this section [8] shall be punished as provided by Title 12 M.R.S.A. Section 6681. This means that a person found to have 20% of his/her clams under 2 inches in size may be found guilty of a class D crime and fined no less than $300 for the first offense and no less than $500 for subsequent offenses.

9.) PENALTY: A person who violates this ordinance shall be punished as provided by 12 M.R.S.A. Section 6671 (10) in that the fine of not less than $100 shall be imposed, provided the offense is other than possessing undersize clams. For undersize clams see paragraph 8.C above.

10.) EFFECTIVE DATE: This ordinance, which has been approved by the Commissioner of Marine Resources, shall become effective after its adoption by the municipality provided a certified copy of the ordinance is filed with the Commissioner within twenty (20) days of its adoption.

11.) PERIOD OF ORDINANCE: This ordinance shall remain in effect for a period of five (5) years from the effective date.

12.) SEPARABILITY: If any section, subsection, sentence or part of this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance.

13.) REPEAL: Any ordinance regulating the harvesting or conservation of shellfish in the Town and any provisions of any other Town ordinance which is inconsistent with this ordinance is hereby repealed.

Revised and Renewed at the March 2004 Annual Town Meeting



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