Section 9-12-33

Culling and sacking of oysters.

(a) All oysters taken from the public reefs of this state shall be culled and sacked, and each sack tagged and identified in accordance with the requirements of the rules of the state Department of Public Health, prior to leaving the public reefs or water bottoms where taken or oyster management stations, and all oysters which measure less than three inches in length and all cultch material shall be immediately replaced by scattering and broadcasting upon the public reefs or water bottoms from which they have been taken. It shall be unlawful for any captain or person in charge of any vessel or any canner, packer, commission man, dealer, or other person to purchase, sell, or have in his or her possession or under his or her control any oysters off the public reefs or water bottoms not culled according to this section, or any oysters from the reefs or water bottoms under the legal size. Any excess of over five percent of cultch material and oysters under the size prescribed in this section shall be considered a violation of this section. In order that the conservation enforcement officer may arrive at the percentage of unculled oysters the officer may cause to be culled according to law all or any part of cargo or stock on hand, provided that, if any sack in the cargo or stock on hand is found to contain more than 10 percent of cultch material and oysters under three inches in length, it is a violation of this section and the officer may condemn the cargo and stock on hand and cause the same to be reculled and cause the shells and young oysters to be taken to some place designated by an agent of the Division of Marine Resources.

(b) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section or any rule promulgated hereunder shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction for his or her first offense, he or she shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than two hundred dollars ($200). Upon a second conviction thereof, he or she shall be punished by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than three hundred dollars ($300). Upon a third conviction within two years of the first conviction, he or she shall be punished by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) and by the suspension of his or her commercial oyster license privileges for six months.

(Acts 1936-37, Ex. Sess., No. 169, p. 192, §9; Code 1940, T. 8, §131; Acts 1945, No. 307, p. 500, §1; Acts 1953, No. 708, p. 964, §1; Acts 1963, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 25, p. 192; Act 2010-699, p. 1692, §1.)