SECTION 1. Section 44 of Chapter 130 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
If the measurement of a lobster taken from 1 or the other eye sockets is of the required length, the lobster shall be a legal lobster. In a prosecution under this section, mutilation of a lobster that affects its measurement pursuant to this section shall be prima facie evidence that the lobster was or is shorter than the required length; provided, however, that the director shall, by regulation approved by the marine fisheries advisory commission, allow the on-shore processing of live lobsters of legal length into frozen, shell-on lobster parts or tails; and the importation of unfrozen shell-on lobster parts or tails, for the purpose of further processing by wholesale dealers that are licensed by the department of public health under section 77G of chapter 94.
Processed frozen shell-on lobster parts or tails may be possessed, sold or offered for sale by a wholesale dealer, retail dealer or food establishment and may be possessed by a consumer as a food product.
The processing, possession or sale of frozen or unfrozen lobster tails under this section shall be limited to lobster tails that weigh not less than 3 ounces. The packaging of processed frozen or unfrozen shell-on lobster parts or tails under this section as a food product shall be labeled in accordance with applicable federal and state laws.
This section shall not apply to a common carrier in possession of lobsters for the purpose of transporting lobsters.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect on April 1, 2019 during which time the division of marine fisheries shall promulgate regulations, in accordance with recommendations from the 2012 division of marine fisheries report entitled, "Analysis of Laws, Regulations and Policies Pertaining to the Processing, Possession and Sale of Processed Frozen Lobster Parts," to maintain enforcement of conservation rules and to ensure only legally sized lobsters are taken.
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