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:-
If the measurement of any such lobster taken from 1 or the other eye sockets is of the required length, such lobster shall be deemed to be a legal lobster. In all prosecutions under this section, any mutilation of any lobster which affects its measurement as aforesaid 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 in the commonwealth 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 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 in the commonwealth by any wholesale dealer, retail dealer or food establishments and such food product may be possessed by a consumer. The processing, possession or sale of frozen or unfrozen lobster tails pursuant to this section shall be limited to lobster tails weighing 3 ounces or more. The packaging of processed frozen or unfrozen shell-on lobster parts or tails pursuant to this section as a food product shall be labeled in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations. This section shall not apply to common carriers having lobster in possession for the purpose of transportation.
This section 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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