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General Laws

Section 75. The director may grant, and may revoke, written permits for the digging or taking of shellfish from an area determined under section seventy-four or corresponding provisions of earlier laws to be contaminated while such determination is in force, every such permit to be upon the express condition, which shall be set forth therein, that all shellfish dug or taken from the area or areas covered by such permit by the holder thereof shall, before being used or disposed of for consumption as food, be purified at a plant, or by a method, approved in writing by the commissioner of public health and upon such further conditions and regulations as will, in the opinion of the director, most effectively prevent the use of said shellfish as food until so purified. For the purpose of this paragraph the director, upon receipt of the proper fees, may issue the following classes of permits:—a master digger’s permit for an individual who digs or takes shellfish from such areas for such purification; a digger’s permit for an individual who digs shellfish for the holder of a master digger’s permit; and a bait permit for an individual who digs and takes shellfish from such areas for bait purposes only; provided, that no person shall be eligible for a bait permit hereunder who has a digger’s permit or who sells shellfish for food purposes. In order to assure full compliance with said conditions and regulations, the director shall require a bond to be obtained by a master digger in a sum not to exceed one thousand dollars for a master digger whose record includes no prior judicial or administrative convictions related to this chapter; not to exceed twenty-five hundred dollars for a master digger whose record includes one prior judicial or administrative conviction, related to this chapter; and, not to exceed five thousand dollars for a master digger whose record includes two or more prior judicial or administrative convictions related to this chapter. The director may require forfeiture of all or part of such bond for any violation of said conditions and regulations. Any city or town may develop a shellfish conservation and management plan containing such information as the director may require and shall submit said plan to the director for his approval. Any city or town having a plan approved by the director may require permits for the taking of shellfish from areas determined under section seventy-four to be contaminated, provided that all other permits and licenses required by law are obtained. Fees shall be reasonable and commensurate with the services provided by the city or town. If at any time the director finds any city or town in violation of any provision of its approved shellfish conservation and management plan he may forthwith withdraw his approval of such plan. No city or town permit shall be required by any master digger or subordinate on any mildly contaminated area where the director has withdrawn his approval of that city or town’s shellfish conservation and management plan as provided herein until such plan is deemed approved by the director. In evaluating the plan for approval, the director shall take into consideration the city or town’s efforts to fairly administer the distribution of, and fees for, local permits to be issued to residents and nonresidents.

Whoever, without a permit as provided in this section or contrary to the provisions of such permit, digs or takes shellfish for any purpose from any area determined under section seventy-four or section seventy-four A or under corresponding provisions of earlier laws to be contaminated, while such determination is in force, or knowingly transports or causes to be transported or has in his possession shellfish so dug or taken, shall be punished, if the violation occurred between one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after the following sunset, by a fine of not less than three hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or three times the value of such shellfish, whichever is greater, or by imprisonment for not more than two years in a jail or house of correction, or both, and if the violation occurred between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before the following sunrise, by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than two thousand dollars, or three times the value of such shellfish, whichever is greater, or by imprisonment for not more than three years in the state prison, or both. Any licensed wholesaler or retailer found in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than ten thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than three years, or both. The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to enforce this section and the rules and regulations of the director made hereunder and to restrain the violation thereof. In any prosecution for a violation of this section, the possession by a digger, licensed wholesaler or retail dealer, but not by a common carrier, of shellfish taken in apparent violation of this section shall be prima facie evidence of a violation thereof.

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