N.J. Admin. Code § 7:25-18.16 - Horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus)

Current through Register Vol. 54, No. 7, April 4, 2022

(a) An individual shall not catch, take, or attempt to catch or take, land or possess horseshoe crabs from any beach or shoreline or from the marine waters of this State unless such individual has in his or her possession a valid permit to take horseshoe crabs issued by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. Subject to the limitations of this section, including any quotas specified in (d) below, any individual who wishes to harvest horseshoe crabs may be eligible to obtain a permit by completing an application available from the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Marine Fisheries, PO Box 400, Trenton, N.J. 08625-0400. The following persons, in the following circumstances, are not subject to this section:
1. Property owners, tenants or agents of property owners may, at any time, remove dead horseshoe crabs from their property for purposes of disposal. No sale, trade, or barter of horseshoe crabs is permitted under this paragraph.
2. Persons collecting horseshoe crabs for strictly scientific purposes only and operating under the terms and conditions specified by a required scientific collecting permit issued pursuant to 23:4-52 by the Administrator of the Marine Fisheries Administration within the Division.
3. Individuals in possession of a valid New Jersey miniature fyke or a valid New Jersey lobster or fish pot license and in possession of bona fide written documentation that the horseshoe crabs were obtained from a legal source.
(b) An individual is eligible for a horseshoe crab permit if the individual in each of two calendar years during the period of January 1, 1993 through May 29, 1997:
1. Possessed a valid New Jersey miniature fyke or lobster or fish pot license;
2. Possessed a valid New Jersey horseshoe crab permit; and
3. Reported landings of horseshoe crabs in New Jersey as verified by the Department on the basis of the reports submitted by the individual to the Department as required under this section since May 3, 1993.
(c) Horseshoe crab permits shall be nontransferable except that a horseshoe crab permit holder may transfer the right to the horseshoe crab permit at any time to the permittee's spouse, father, mother, son or daughter upon application to the Division. No permit shall be transferred without the prior determination by the Department that the transfer complies with this subsection.
(d) The annual horseshoe crab harvest quota for New Jersey from May 15, 2006 to December 31, 2007 shall be zero or as modified by the Commissioner pursuant to (h) below. Thereafter, the annual horseshoe crab harvest quota for New Jersey shall be no more than 150,000 or as modified by the Commissioner pursuant to (h) below. All landings of horseshoe crabs in New Jersey shall be applied to the New Jersey annual horseshoe crab quota.
1. The season for horseshoe crabs shall be April 1 through April 30 and June 8 through August 15. No person shall harvest or take any horseshoe crabs, dead or alive, during the period May 1 through June 7.
2. The Commissioner, or his or her designee, shall close the season for the commercial horseshoe crab fishery upon four days public notice of the projected date the annual quota shall be caught. Public notice shall include letters by first class mail to all New Jersey Horseshoe Crab Permit holders.
3. If the Commissioner, or his or her designee, closes the season prematurely because of unanticipated environmental events resulting in the quota not being landed by the projected date and at least one month remains in the current season, then the Commissioner, or his or her designee, may reopen the season for a specified period of time upon four days public notice. Public notice shall be made as specified in (d)2 above.
4. If the quota for any year is exceeded, the amount over harvested will be deducted from the following year's annual quota.
5. Beginning in 2001, the Department shall notify the previous year's holders of New Jersey Horseshoe Crab Permits of the current year's annual quota no later than January 31 of the year to which the annual quota applies. Notification shall be by first class mail to the previous year's permit holders.
(e) A person shall not harvest horseshoe crabs from the beaches and the adjacent waters and uplands within 1,000 feet of the bayfront mean high water line in that portion of Delaware Bay extending from the Cape May Canal in Cape May County to Stow Creek in Cumberland County at any time. Additionally, a person shall not harvest horseshoe crabs from the beaches and shoreline and the adjacent waters and uplands in the back bay area near Thompson's Beach bordered by, but not including, Adlers Ditch and Riggins Ditch in Cumberland County.
(f) An individual shall not harvest or land horseshoe crabs that have been taken by any method other than by hand harvest. The use of any implement (nets, rakes, spears, shovels, forks, etc.) to assist hand harvest is prohibited. Hand harvest is permitted in areas other than specified in (e) above only on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the season established under (d) above.
(g) It shall be illegal to possess horseshoe crabs on any vessel while having in possession any harvest gear except miniature fykes, conch pots, lobster pots, fish pots or minnow pots. The simultaneous possession of horseshoe crabs and any other harvest gear except those listed shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
(h) The Commissioner, with the approval of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council, may modify the annual quota and/or season in this section by notice in order to maintain and/or to come into compliance with any fishery management plan approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 5104(b). The Department shall publish notice of any such modification by filing a notice of administrative change with the Office of Administrative Law for publication in the New Jersey Register and publishing notice of the modification in the Division's commercial regulation publication. All such notices shall be effective when the Department files the notice with the Office of Administrative Law or as specified otherwise in the notice.
(i) All horseshoe crab permit holders shall telephone the Division's designated telephone number for horseshoe crab harvest each Friday during the horseshoe crab season and report the number of horseshoe crabs harvested during the previous week. If no horseshoe crabs were harvested during the previous week, a telephone report to that effect shall be provided. Any person harvesting horseshoe crabs shall also provide monthly reports within five working days following the end of the reported month to the Department on forms supplied to the permit holder. The monthly report shall include the number of horseshoe crabs harvested, the area of collection and any other information as the Department may deem necessary for management of the horseshoe crab resource. If no horseshoe crabs were harvested during the month, a report to that effect shall be provided. The permittee shall be personally responsible for guaranteeing the timely delivery of reports to the Division as well as the accuracy of all information contained therein. The Department may demand that a permittee provide proof of the truth of any data contained in any report submitted to the Division under this program. If the permittee fails to file a true, complete monthly report with the Division by the fifth day of any month, the Division, in its discretion, may contact the permittee by the most expeditious method available in order to secure a complete report.
(j) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in 23:2B-14 in addition to the suspension or revocation of the permittee's horseshoe crab harvesting privileges, according to the following procedures:
1. The Division shall notify the permittee in writing of the Division's intention to revoke the permittee's horseshoe crab harvesting privilege for the reasons stipulated in the notice, effective 20 business days after the date on the written notice (excluding the date on the notice) and of the Division's suspension of the permittee's horseshoe crab harvesting privileges in the interim, effective on a date stipulated in the notice but not sooner than 10 business days after the date of the notice (excluding the date on the notice).
2. The permittee may request a hearing to contest a proposed revocation of horseshoe crab harvesting privileges in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, 52:14B-1 et seq., and the Uniform Administrative Procedure Rules, N.J.A.C. 1:1. The request for an administrative hearing must be received in writing by the Department within 20 business days from the date on the Division's notice of suspension and intention to revoke, excluding the date on the notice. However, if a timely request for a hearing is not received by the Department, any allegation contained in the notice shall be deemed admitted by the permittee and horseshoe crab harvesting privileges shall be revoked as of the date stipulated in the notice, without any further action by the Division.
3. The Division Director may, in his or her sole discretion, stay the suspension of horseshoe crab harvesting privileges pending a hearing on the notice of proposed revocation of horseshoe crab harvesting privileges for any good cause set forth in a written petition from the permittee, including sworn statements from the permittee or other persons with knowledge relevant to the allegations on which the Division action is based. The petition and its supporting statements and documentation shall be made available to the court and all parties in advance of any hearing.
4. The Division shall reinstate horseshoe crab harvesting privileges suspended for late or incomplete reports, but no more than one time per permittee in any single permit year, if that permittee personally delivers any missing reports, completed, along with a credible written explanation for the delay and/or omissions to the Division within 20 business days from the date on the notice of suspension.
5. Any permittee who has had his or her horseshoe crab harvesting privilege revoked shall be disqualified from exercising any privilege associated with a horseshoe crab harvesting permit for 24 months following the effective date of an uncontested notice of proposed revocation of privileges, or whichever of the following is applicable:
i. The date of the Commissioner's Final Decision affirming revocation of horseshoe crab harvesting privileges, or
ii. The filing date of the court order affirming the Commissioner's Final Decision revoking horseshoe crab harvesting privileges.
6. The Division shall issue a horseshoe crab permit to an applicant pending resolution of a contested Division proposal to revoke that applicant's horseshoe crab harvesting privilege, but that permittee shall not exercise or enjoy any horseshoe crab harvesting privilege pending resolution of a proposed revocation until, as appropriate, one of the following occurs:
i. The Division Director lifts the suspension of that permittee's horseshoe crab harvesting privilege;
ii. The Commissioner issues a Final Decision reinstating that permittee's horseshoe crab harvesting privilege; or
iii. A court of competent jurisdiction orders reinstatement of that permittee's horseshoe crab harvesting privileges.


N.J. Admin. Code § 7:25-18.16
New Rule, R.1993 d.185, effective 5/3/1993.
See: 24 N.J.R. 2978(a), 25 N.J.R. 1876(b).
Amended by R.1996 d.218, effective 5/6/1996.
See: 28 N.J.R. 245(a), 28 N.J.R. 2375(a).
Emergency amendment R.1997 d.268, effective 5/30/1997 (expired July 29, 1997).
See: 29 N.J.R. 3084(a).
The emergency amendment substantially amended (a); rewrote (b) and (c); and deleted (d).
Emergency amendment R.1997 d.350, effective 7/29/1997 (to expire September 27, 1997).
See: 29 N.J.R. 3737(a).
In (a), substituted ", land or possess horseshoe crabs" for "horseshoe crabs except by hand collection or while using other gear allowed under this chapter and/or N.J.S.A. Titles 23 and 50" and inserted "be eligible to" preceding "obtain a permit"; added (a)3; inserted new (b) and (c); added (f) and (g); recodified former (b), (b)1, (c) and (d) as (d), (e), (h) and (i), respectively; deleted former (d)2 and 3; in (e), inserted reference to uplands; and in (h), for contents of monthly report, deleted to gear utilized.
Adopted concurrent proposal, R.1997 d.446, effective 9/25/1997.
See: 29 N.J.R. 3737(a), 29 N.J.R. 4900(a).
Deleted (g); changes upon adoption effective 11/17/1997.
Amended by R.1998 d.185, effective 4/6/1998.
See: 30 N.J.R. 262(b), 30 N.J.R. 1320(a).
Rewrote (c); and in (d), extended the horseshoe crab season from May 1 through June 30 to April 1 through August 15.
Amended by R.2001 d.73, effective 3/5/2001.
See: 32 N.J.R. 4435(a), 33 N.J.R. 874(a).
Amended by R.2001 d.346, effective 9/17/2001.
See: 33 N.J.R. 453(a), 33 N.J.R. 3352(a).
Rewrote (d), (e), and (g); added new (h); recodified former (h) as (i) and rewrote first sentence as new first and second sentences; and recodified former (i) as (j).
Emergency amendment, R.2002 d.223, effective 5/1/2003 (to expire June 30, 2003).
See: 35 N.J.R. 2366(a).
In (d), substituted "150,000" for "297,680" in the introductory paragraph; in (d)1, specified season for horseshoe crab; in (i), rewrote the first sentence and added a second sentence.
Adopted concurrent amendment, R.2003 d.305, effective 6/30/2003.
See: 35 N.J.R. 2366(a), 35 N.J.R. 3611(b).
Provisions of R.2002 d.223 adopted without change.
Emergency amendment, R.2005 d.215, effective 6/9/2005 (to expire August 8, 2005).
See: 37 N.J.R. 2565(a).
In (d), updated the horseshoe crab season dates in 1.
Emergency amendment, R.2005 d.215, expired August 8, 2005.
Public Notice: Horseshoe crabs.
See: 37 N.J.R. 4074(a), 5066(a).
Amended by R.2006 d.195, effective 5/15/2006.
See: 38 N.J.R. 873(a), 38 N.J.R. 2139(a).
In the introductory paragraph of (a), substituted "Subject to the . . . in (d) below, any" for "Any" in the second sentence and substituted "section" for "prohibition" in the third sentence; and rewrote the former first sentence of (d) as the first and second sentences.
Petition for Rulemaking. Horseshoe crabs.
See: 39 N.J.R. 700(b), 1528(a).
Petition for Rulemaking: Horseshoe crabs.
See: 40 N.J.R. 893(a), 2139(b), 2291(a), 3753(a).

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