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General Laws

Section 1. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following words shall have the following meanings and the following rules of construction shall apply:

“Angling”, fishing with hand line or rod, with naturally or artificially baited hook.

“Canned lobster meat or crab meat”, lobster meat or crab meat preserved by heat processing, freezing, or refrigeration, and packed in a container impervious to contamination and so sealed that once opened it cannot be re-sealed and re-used for its original purpose.

“Clam”, a marine mollusk of the species Mya arenaria commonly called the soft-shell clam.

“Close season”, the time during which fish cannot lawfully be taken.

“Coastal waters”, all waters of the commonwealth within the rise and fall of the tide and the marine limits of the jurisdiction of the commonwealth, but not waters within or above any fishway or dam nor waters above any jurisdictional boundary legally established pursuant to section five of chapter one hundred and thirty in rivers and streams flowing into the sea.

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of the department of fish and game.

“Dealer”, any person who commercially handles fish.

“Department”, the department of fish and game of the executive office of energy and environmental affairs.

“Director”, the director of the division of marine fisheries.

“Division”, the division of marine fisheries.

“Fish”, any animal life inhabiting the ocean or its connecting waters including any crustacean or marine fish, whether free swimming or free moving, and any shellfish or sea worms, whether or not imbedded in the soil. All provisions of the chapter relative to fish shall, so far as apt, apply also to lobster meat and crab meat after the same has been taken from the shell.

The verb, “to fish”, in all of its moods and tenses, to take or to attempt to take fish by any method or means, whether or not such method or means results in their capture.

“Fish car”, a box or other contrivance in coastal waters, whether floating or sunken, used for keeping fish alive.

“Lobster”, the common American lobster, of the species Homarus americanus.

“Marine fisheries”, all fisheries in coastal waters.

“Open season”, the time during which fish may lawfully be taken.

“Quahaug”, a marine mollusk of the species Venus mercenaria commonly called the hard-shell clam.

“Recreational saltwater fishing”, the non-commercial taking or attempted taking of finfish for personal or family use; provided, however, that the finfish are not sold, traded or bartered.

“Registered under the laws of the state”, any vessel from a Massachusetts port which is licensed to operate for commercial fishing purposes under the authority of this chapter, or any vessel from a Massachusetts port which is operated for commercial fishing purposes by any person licensed under the authority of this chapter.

“Retail dealer”, any person not a wholesale dealer who distributes fish commercially.

“Scallop”, a marine mollusk of the species Aequipecten irradians, commonly known as the cape scallop or bay scallop.

“Sea scallop”, a marine mollusk of the species Pecten magellanicus, commonly known as deep water scallop.

“Seed clam”, a soft-shell clam of a size less than the minimum prescribed in section sixty-nine and useable for planting purposes only.

“Seed quahaug”, a quahaug of a size less than the minimum prescribed in section sixty-nine and useable for planting purposes only.

“Seed scallop”, an immature scallop without the annual growth line as described in section seventy.

“Shellfish”, clams, conchs, limpets, mussels, oysters, periwinkles, quahaugs, razor clams or razor fish, scallops, sea clams, sea quahaugs, sea scallops and winkles.

“Short lobster”, any lobster measuring less than prescribed in section forty-four.

“Territorial waters”, the same as coastal waters.

“Truckman”, any person other than a common carrier, using a truck or other vehicle in distributing fish.

“Wholesale dealer”, any person who distributes fish commercially in bulk or for resale by a dealer, or who operates branch stores for the retail sale of fish.

A person who knowingly counsels, aids or assists in a violation of any provision of this chapter or of any rule or regulation made thereunder or knowingly shares in any of the proceeds of said violation by receiving or possessing fish, shall be deemed to have incurred the penalties imposed thereby upon the person guilty of such violation.

Whenever the taking of fish is authorized, reference is had to taking by lawful means and in a lawful manner.

Any reference to the taking or having in possession of a fish shall include the taking or having in possession of any part or portion thereof.

This chapter and regulations made under the authority thereof shall apply to all marine fisheries and fish within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth and to all vessels registered under the laws of the commonwealth. This provision shall not be construed to limit the authority of the director to protect anadromous fish by providing for their passage from the coastal waters to spawning grounds in streams and ponds in inland waters and to regulate fisheries contained therein for the taking of such anadromous fish.

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