322 CMR 7.05 - Coastal Access Permit (CAP)

(1) The purpose of 322 CMR 7.05 is to help prevent:
(a) uncontrolled, opportunistic, new mobile gear fishing effort from developing in state waters by commercial fishermen not traditionally dependent on state waters' fisheries; and
(b) a shift of mobile gear effort from federal to state waters in response to the 50% fishing effort reduction scheduled by the New England Fishery Management Council to occur by 1998 and described in the Council's Amendment #5 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. Furthermore, its purpose is to establish the basis for developing a more comprehensive limited access program involving additional conservation measures and CAP transfers.
(2) Definitions. For purposes of 322 CMR 7.05, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

Baseline Vessel means the overall length of the authorized vessel listed on the permit when the permit was first issued in 1992 or the overall length of the most recently upgraded vessel.

Eligibility Period means January 1, 1989 through the April 2, 1992 commercial fisheries control date described in 322 CMR 7.04.

Mobile Gear means any movable fishing gear or nets which are set, towed, hauled, or dragged through the water for the harvest of fish, squid, and shellfish including, but not limited to, otter trawls, beam trawls, bottom and mid-water pair trawls, Scottish seines, Danish seines, pair seines, purse seines, and sea scallop dredges.

Vessel Overall Length means the horizontal distance between the outboard side of the foremost part of the stem and the outboard side of the aftermost part of the stern, excluding rudders, outboard motor brackets, and other similar fittings and attachments.

(3) Permit Holders. All mobile gear fishermen fishing in waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth shall obtain a coastal access regulated fishery permit endorsement, issued pursuant to 322 CMR 7.01(4). This permit endorsement is not required for shellfish fishermen who either hold a regulated fishery permit endorsement to operate an ocean quahog, surf clam, or bay quahog dredge or are authorized by city or town regulations to take shellfish under the authority of a local permit and are fishing only within those city and town waters.
(4) Permit Endorsements. The coastal access permit may be endorsed by the Director allowing the permit holder to participate in exempted mobile gear fisheries described in 322 CMR 4.06(2) and (5).
(5) Prohibition. It is unlawful for mobile gear fishermen to fish in waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth without a coastal access permit. The coastal access permit shall be carried by the holder at all times and shall be displayed forthwith on demand of any Environmental Police officer or other official authorized to enforce 322 CMR.
(6) Renewals. The Director shall renew all limited entry permits for which transfers are authorized by 322 CMR 7.06, in accordance with 322 CMR 7.01, provided that renewal applications and all required catch reports are received by February 28th of each year, and the renewal process, including late renewals approved for sufficient cause, is completed prior to June 30th of each year.
(7) Forfeiture. Beginning January 1, 2000, all limited entry permits subject to 322 CMR 7.06 which are not renewed in accordance with 322 CMR 7.06(2) shall be forfeited to the Division. All forfeited permits shall be retired.
(8) Moratorium. A Coastal Access Perrnit will be issued only to mobile gear fishermen who renew their permits in accordance with 322 CMR 7.05(6). Purse seiners fishing for sea herring, menhaden, may apply for a Coastal Access permit exclusively for purse seining and are exempted from the moratorium.
(9) Eligibility Criteria. (Reserved)
(10) Appeals Process. (Reserved)
(11) Coastal Access Permit (CAP) Endorsements Transfer Criteria. The transfer of Coastal Access Permit regulated fishery endorsements are authorized subject to the criteria in 322 CMR 7.06(4) and subject to the approval of the Director.
(12) Vessel Replacement.
(a) Guidelines. A Coastal Access Permit holder may change the authorized vessel listed on the permit provided that the replacement vessel's overall length does not exceed the overall length of the baseline vessel by more than 10%. Vessel length overall shall not exceed that specified in 322 CMR 7.05(13). Vessel upgrades may occur only once during any five-year period. The permit holder must document his or her ownership of the authorized vessel.
(b) Exception. Coastal Access Permit holders authorized to fish a vessel that measures 45 feet or less in length overall may appeal to the Director for an exemption to exceed the allowed increases in overall length provided the upgraded vessel length does not exceed 50 feet in overall length. The Director may not grant the appeal if the vessel being replaced remains in a federal fishery using mobile gear.
(13) Vessel Length Limit. The maximum vessel length limit for Coastal Access Permits shall be 72 feet overall length. The Director may require verification of overall length. Written certification of overall length shall be obtained by the vessel owner based on the vessel's construction plans or by a marine surveyor certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors or accredited by the Society of American Marine Surveyors, and shall be submitted to the Director.


322 CMR 7.05
Amended, Mass Register Issue 1262, eff. 6/6/2014. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1310, eff. 12/30/2015. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1324, eff. 10/21/2016. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1336, eff. 4/7/2017. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1353, eff. 12/1/2017. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1387, eff. 3/22/2019. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1416, eff. 5/1/2020. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1469, eff. 5/13/2022.

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