Limited Number of New Commercial Fishing Licenses Available for 2013
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that a limited number of new commercial fishing licenses will be made available this year. A total of 23 new quahog, 11 new soft-shell clam, and six new restricted finfish endorsements on commercial fishing licenses will be available for the 2013 fishing season. The new quahog endorsements will allow for the commercial harvest of quahogs; the new soft-shell clam endorsements will allow for the commercial harvest of soft-shell clams; and the new restricted finfish endorsements will allow for the commercial harvest of any of the six species of restricted finfish: summer flounder, scup, striped bass, black sea bass, tautog, and winter flounder. Applications for the new endorsements must be filed with DEM by February 28, 2013. The applications will be screened, and the new endorsements awarded, on the basis of the priority selection process set forth in the commercial licensing regulations.
Rhode Island residents may also obtain, without limits or restrictions, new commercial fishing licenses with the following endorsements: shellfish other, non-restricted finfish, and non-lobster crustacean. Also, any resident aged 65 or older may obtain a 65 & Over Shellfish license, and any resident who is a full-time student and under the age of 23 as of February 28th of the license year may obtain a Student Shellfish license (both of which allow for the commercial harvest of quahogs). Any non-resident may also obtain a new commercial license with a non-restricted finfish endorsement. Applications for all new licenses must be filed with DEM by February 28, 2013. Interested applicants are encouraged to review all guidance documents and applications located at www.dem.ri.gov under the "Hunting, Fishing, Boating Licenses" link on the main page.
Fishers are reminded that the marine license year runs from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. The renewal period runs from January 1 through February 28 for multi- purpose license holders, principal effort license holders, commercial fishing license holders, shellfish over-65 license holders, and student shellfish license holders. A late fee renewal period for certain license holders – shellfish over-65, multipurpose, principal effort license, commercial fishing license, and student shellfish license – runs from March 1 through April 29 and includes a $200 late fee in addition to the cost of the license. Renewals are not available after April 29.
Licenses may be renewed online through April 29 via DEM's website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Hunting, Boating and Fishing Licenses" from the homepage. License holders are reminded that prior to license renewal, all logbooks must be up to date with DEM's Marine Fisheries Program located at 3 Fort Wetherill Road in Jamestown. For questions concerning the log books, call the Marine Fisheries office at 401-423-1926. DEM's Boat Registration and Licensing Office will not accept log books.
In December, DEM's Office of Boat Registration & Licensing mailed approximately 4,500 marine license renewal applications to all commercial marine license holders as well as those applicants holding recreational pot/diver licenses, vessel declarations, and marine dealer licenses. Questions regarding licenses or endorsements may be directed to the licensing office at 401-222-6647.
Rhode Island's fisheries are important for their ecological value and the food, recreation, and other social and cultural benefits they provide. Our fisheries provide thousands of jobs and income and support an important economic sector. In 2011, Point Judith ranked 4th largest port in New England based on landings (behind New Bedford, Gloucester, and Portland) and 3rd largest based on value (behind New Bedford and Gloucester). The total value of sales of commercially-caught marine species landed in RI in 2010 was over $200 million. An estimated additional half a billion dollars was associated with imports. Total employment connected to harvesting, processing, distributing, and selling fish landed by RI home ported vessels with the commercial fishing industry is approximately 7,000 jobs.