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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XIX AGRICULTURE AND CONSERVATION
  • CHAPTER 131 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME AND OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES
  • Section 4 Powers of director

Section 4. The director may:

(1) destroy from time to time license books, stubs, licenses and license blanks after the same have been properly audited by the state auditor, and such other documents as the director deems advisable after the same have been noted in the official records;

(2) notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, but subject to federal law, rules and regulations, take or in writing authorize other persons to take and possess fish, fish spawn, birds, the nest or eggs thereof, mammals, reptiles or amphibians at any time or in any manner for purposes of observation, research, control or management for which a fee shall be charged, the amount of which shall be determined annually by the commissioner of administration under the provision of section three B of chapter seven, and, in the director’s discretion, excuse certain persons so authorized from any licensing provision of this chapter and he may, subject to federal law, rules and regulations, regulate the trapping and taking of raptors for the purpose of falconry in accordance with rules and regulations established under the provisions of section five;

(3) investigate questions relating to reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds or mammals and, personally or by agents, institute and conduct inquiries pertaining to such questions and conduct such biological research as will, in his opinion, tend to conserve, improve and increase the supply of reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds and mammals.

(4) occupy not more than four great ponds within the commonwealth at any one time for the purpose of scientific study or experiment; make rules and regulations relative to fishing within said waters, such rules and regulations being subject to section thirty-seven of chapter thirty; and from time to time close or open such waters, or any part thereof, for fishing; provided, that no great pond shall be occupied as aforesaid unless notice of such proposed occupation shall have been given, at least thirty days prior thereto, by the director to the mayor of the city and the selectmen of the town where the pond is located; and, provided further, that if a petition relating to any such great pond, signed by not less than twenty-five persons, shall be filed with the director within thirty days, after notice to a mayor or selectmen, the director shall hold a public hearing and shall not occupy such pond until ten days thereafter;

(5) if, in his opinion, the presence in any great pond or in waters acquired for public fishing grounds of any species of fish having destructive proclivities toward other fish constitutes a hindrance or detriment to the promotion and development of fishing therein, by order, suspend, with respect to such waters, the operation of any or all provisions of law establishing closed seasons on such species of fish having such destructive proclivities and regulating the number and length of fish of such species that may be lawfully taken or had in possession. Any such suspension shall become effective upon the filing of the order of suspension in the office of the director, but no such suspension shall be terminated until after notice of such termination has been conspicuously posted on the shores of such waters and filed with the clerk of each city and town bordering thereon;

(6) with the approval of the riparian owners and all persons owning any right of fishing in the waters affected, establish restricted areas in any nonnavigable brook or stream, or portion thereof, or in any pond other than a great pond, or portion thereof, when, in his opinion, such brook, stream or pond, or portion thereof, is a suitable area for the breeding of fish, and make rules and regulations for the taking of fish within such area;

(7) screen such of said ponds, brooks and streams in the commonwealth not used as sources of water supply by cities and towns as he deems necessary for the protection of fish therein, except that mercantile and manufacturing rights existing on April thirtieth, nineteen hundred and twenty, shall not be affected;

(8) cause any great pond to be stocked or restocked with such fish as he judges best suited to the waters thereof, and in every such instance he may prescribe and enforce such reasonable regulations relative to fishing in the pond or its tributaries, or both, as he deems for the public interest, but this paragraph shall not apply to ponds used as sources of public water supply;

(9) manage any natural or artificial pond or any brook or stream by reclaiming and by stocking and restocking with such fish as he judges best suited to the waters thereof; provided that in respect to privately owned ponds such management and stocking shall only be with the written consent of the owner or lessee thereof, and shall not prevent such owner or lessee from drawing down or making such use of said waters for commercial or other purposes as appear to him to be advisable, in conformance with the provisions of section forty-eight; and, provided further, that the owner or lessee of such privately owned waters shall agree in writing with the director that such stocked waters shall be open for public fishing, and the public may thereafter fish therein. Such agreement may be terminated by the owner or lessee by giving written notice to that effect to the director at least twenty-four months before the effective date of such termination. Nothing in this clause shall be construed to prohibit the director from providing common sunfish, Lepomis Gibbosus, and bluegills taken from salvage operations to stock private waters wherein members of youth organizations may fish, notwithstanding that the public is prohibited from fishing in such waters;

(10) at any time in any inland waters where the loss of fish from any cause is apparent, salvage fish for distribution, and, with the approval in each instance of the commissioner of environmental protection, from time to time remove fish from any reservoir used as a source of public water supply when permitted by the proper authorities in charge, for the purpose of stocking or restocking any inland waters of the commonwealth wherein any holder of a sporting or fishing license issued under this chapter is entitled to fish;

(11) in the performance of his duties, enter upon and pass through or over private lands, whether or not covered by water, and may authorize his agents in writing so to do. He and they may, in the course of such duties, remedy conditions caused by wildlife, resulting or likely to result in damage to property;

(12) for the purpose of this chapter and of chapter one hundred and thirty, establish suitable markers designating the jurisdictional bounds established pursuant to section five of chapter one hundred and thirty. Thereupon, the director shall file a plan or maps showing the location of said markers with the clerk of the city or town wherein the marker has been established. A person shall not alter, remove or destroy any marker so established by the director.

(13) conduct statewide information and promotion programs in wildlife conservation, including the utilization of wildlife compatible with good conservation principles;

(13A) Conduct investigations into non-game species of wildlife and wild plants to obtain information relating to population, distribution, habitat requirements, limiting factors, and other biological and ecological parameters deemed necessary to understand the status of such biota and based upon such investigations to promulgate rules and regulations, subject to the provisions of chapter thirty A, listing those species of wildlife and wild plants which are determined to be endangered, and such list shall include, but not be limited to, the United States List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Wild Plants.

(14) if he deems that the presence of anadromous fish in any of the inland waters of the commonwealth is essential for the management of fish, birds or mammals in, or on lands adjoining, said waters, for the purpose of providing suitable passage for said anadromous fish coming into fresh water to spawn; he may (a) together with his agents, environmental police officers and members of the state police in areas over which they have jurisdiction, seize and remove, summarily, if need be, at the expense of the owner of or person using and maintaining the same, all illegal obstructions, except dams, mills or machinery, to the passage of such fish; (b) examine all dams and other obstructions to such passage in brooks, rivers and streams, where in his judgment fishways are needed; (c) determine whether existing fishways, if any, are suitable and sufficient for the passage of such fish in such brooks, rivers and streams or whether a new fishway is needed for the passage of such fish over such dam or obstruction; and prescribed by written order what changes or repairs, if any, shall be made therein, and where, how and when a new fishway shall be built, and at what times the same shall be kept open, and shall serve a copy of such order upon the owner of or person using or maintaining the dam or obstruction.

A certificate of the director that service has been made under clause (14) shall be sufficient proof thereof. The supreme judicial or the superior court shall, on petition of the director, have jurisdiction in equity to enforce any such order and to restrain any violation thereof. If the director deems that a passage for anadromous fish should be provided, or if he finds that there is no fishway in or around a dam or obstruction where a fishway is required by law to be maintained, he may enter with workmen and materials upon the premises of the person required to maintain a fishway there and may, at the expense of the commonwealth, if in his opinion the person required by law to construct or maintain such fishway is unable to afford such expense, otherwise at the expense of the owner of or the person using or maintaining, such dam, improve an existing fishway, or cause one to be constructed if none exists, and may, if necessary, take the land of any other person who is not obliged by law to maintain said fishway. If a fishway has been constructed in accordance with this section he shall not require the owner of or the person using or maintaining the dam or other obstruction to alter such fishway within five years after its completion. All damages caused by taking land under this paragraph shall be recovered from the commonwealth under chapter seventy-nine. The amount so recovered shall be a charge against the person required by law to construct and maintain such fishway and shall be recovered in contract in the name of the commonwealth, with costs and with interest at the rate of twelve per cent per annum.

(15) The director, after consultation with the director of the division of law enforcement, may issue an order prohibiting the possession or use, during the period from October first to the following April first in any place where birds or mammals may be found, of any rifle chambered to take larger than twenty-two long rifle ammunition. Any such order shall be in effect forty-eight hours after publication in one or more newspapers circulated in the area. When, in his opinion, the director determines that such order is no longer necessary, he shall, by like publication, rescind such order.

No order issued under this clause shall be deemed to prohibit the possession or use of any rifle during the daylight hours on any target range used primarily for target shooting purposes or the use of a primitive firearm with a rifled bore if authorized by the director with the approval of the board acting under the provisions of section five.

Whoever violates any order issued under the provisions of this clause shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months.

(16) enter into such contracts as the director, in consultation with the commissioner, deems necessary or appropriate in order to fulfill the responsibilities and mandates of the agency, including, but not limited to, contracts for the cutting and sale of timber on lands managed by the division, and shall deposit monies received from such contracts into the Inland Fisheries and Game Fund pursuant to section 2C; provided, however, that it shall be a condition of each contract for the cutting and sale of timber that clear-cutting timber on lands managed by the division is specifically prohibited.