113-173. Recreational Commercial Gear License.

(a) License Required. - Except as provided in subsection (j) of this section, it is unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take fish for recreational purposes by means of commercial fishing equipment or gear in coastal fishing waters without holding a RCGL. As used in this section, fish are taken for recreational purposes if the fish are not taken for the purpose of sale. The RCGL entitles the licensee to use authorized commercial gear to take fish for personal use subject to recreational possession limits. It is unlawful for any person licensed under this section or fishing under a RCGL to possess fish in excess of recreational possession limits.

(b) Sale of Fish Prohibited. - It is unlawful for the holder of a RCGL or for a person who is exempt under subsection (j) of this section to sell fish taken under the RCGL or pursuant to the exemption.

(c) Authorized Commercial Gear. -

(1) The Commission shall adopt rules authorizing the use of a limited amount of commercial fishing equipment or gear for recreational fishing under a RCGL. The Commission may authorize the limited use of commercial gear on a uniform basis in all coastal fishing waters or may vary the limited use of commercial gear within specified areas of the coastal fishing waters. The Commission shall periodically evaluate and revise the authorized use of commercial gear for recreational fishing. Authorized commercial gear shall be identified by visible colored tags or other means specified by the Commission in order to distinguish between commercial gear used in a commercial operation and commercial gear used for recreational purposes.

(2) A person who holds a RCGL may use up to 100 yards of gill net to take fish for recreational purposes. Two persons who each hold a RCGL and who are fishing from a single vessel may use up to a combined 200 yards of gill net to take fish for recreational purposes. No more than 200 yards of gill net may be used to take fish for recreational purposes from a single vessel regardless of the number of persons aboard the vessel who hold a RCGL.

(d) Purchase; Renewal. - A RCGL may be purchased at designated offices of the Division and from a license agent authorized under G.S. 113-172. A RCGL may be renewed by mail.

(e) Replacement RCGL. - The provisions of G.S. 113-168.1(h) apply to this section.

(f) Duration; Fees. - The RCGL shall be valid from the date of issue for a period of 12 months as defined by G.S. 113-270.1B(b) and G.S. 113-270.1B(c). The fee for a RCGL for a North Carolina resident shall be seventy dollars ($70.00). The fee for a RCGL for an individual who is not a North Carolina resident shall be five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(g) RCGL Available for Inspection. - It is unlawful for any person to engage in recreational fishing by means of restricted commercial gear in the State without having ready at hand for inspection a valid RCGL. A holder of a RCGL shall not refuse to exhibit the RCGL upon the request of an inspector or any other law enforcement officer authorized to enforce federal or State laws, regulations, or rules relating to marine fisheries.

(h) Assignment and Transfer Prohibited. - A RCGL is not transferable. Except as provided in subsection (j) of this section, it is unlawful to buy, sell, lend, borrow, assign, or otherwise transfer a RCGL, or to attempt to buy, sell, lend, borrow, assign, or otherwise transfer a RCGL.

(i) Reporting Requirements. - The holder of a RCGL shall comply with the biological data sampling and survey programs of the Commission and the Division.

(j) Exemptions. -

(1) A person who is under 16 years of age may take fish for recreational purposes by means of authorized commercial gear without holding a RCGL if the person is accompanied by a parent, grandparent, or guardian who holds a valid RCGL or if the person has in the person's possession a valid RCGL issued to the person's parent, grandparent, or guardian.

(2) A person may take crabs for recreational purposes by means of one or more crab pots attached to the shore along privately owned land or to a privately owned pier without holding a RCGL provided that the crab pots are attached with the permission of the owner of the land or pier.

(3) A person who is on a vessel may take fish for recreational purposes by means of authorized commercial gear without holding a RCGL if there is another person on the vessel who holds a valid RCGL. This exemption does not authorize the use of commercial gear in excess of that authorized for use by the person who holds the valid RCGL or, if more than one person on the vessel holds a RCGL, in excess of that authorized for use by those persons.

(4) A person using nonmechanical means may take shellfish for personal use within the limits specified in G.S. 113-169.2(i) without holding a RCGL.

(5) A person may take fish for recreational purposes by means of a gig without holding a RCGL. (1997-400, s. 5.1; 1997-456, s. 55.7; 1998-225, s. 4.21; 1999-209, s. 9; 2000-139, s. 1; 2001-213, s. 2; 2003-340, s. 1.2; 2004-187, s. 4; 2005-455, s. 1.18; 2013-360, s. 14.8(m); 2014-100, ss. 14.9(g), 14.25(c).)