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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Give state fisheries the attention they deserve

Senate passes Sosnowski legislation for new Division of Marine Fisheries Management

Squid is Rhode Island's top catch
The Senate passed legislation introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would create a marine fisheries division within the Department of Environmental Management.

The legislation (2017-S 0785) would amend the law enumerating the divisions within the department by creating a Division of Marine Fisheries Management to manage saltwater fish and plant harvesting.

“The health and delicate balance of Rhode Island’s marine resources is of tremendous importance to this state both economically and ecologically,” said Senator Sosnowski, who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture. 

“This legislation makes a single division responsible for existing mandates that are currently spread over various other divisions. That way the agency can focus on marine fisheries and coordinate various efforts to improve the health of the state’s marine life.”


The division would be responsible for the administration, management, and harvest of marine animal and plant species found in Rhode Island marine waters, including stock assessments of marine species; harvest of marine species regulated under a fisheries management plan; the review of aquaculture applications before the Coastal Resources Management Council; a commercial fishing licensing program; fixing seasons, bag limits, size limits and possession limits.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2017-H 5805) has been introduced by Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.