Town of Southampton, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton as Ch. 56 of the 1979 Code; amended in its entirety 6-12-1984. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Beaches and waterways — See Ch. 111.
Protection of natural resources — See Ch. 229.
Wetlands — See Ch. 325.
Management of Town waters — See Ch. A340.

§ 278-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Shellfish Ordinance of the Town of Southampton."

§ 278-2 Purpose; effect on other provisions.

The regulations for control of the taking of shellfish from the waters and lands under waters in the Town of Southampton are deemed to protect the propagation of such shellfish, to preserve public peace and good order and to protect the public health and welfare. The provisions hereof do not, and they shall not be deemed to, impair or invalidate the Rules and Regulations for the Management and Products of the Waters of the Town of Southampton, adopted on January 15, 1973, by the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Southampton, presently in force and effect and as the same may, from time to time, be amended or supplemented by such Trustees.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A340, Management of Town Waters.

§ 278-3 Definitions.

In this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMERCIAL PURPOSE
The taking of shellfish for any use or purpose other than for food consumption by the person so taking or by such person's immediate family or household.
FREEHOLDER
Any person who owns real property in the Town of Southampton which is his or her principal place of abode and domicile or any member of his or her immediate family, under 19 years of age, actually residing on said property.
PERSON
A natural person, whether male or female.
RESIDENT
A person who, during the period of not less than 12 months immediately preceding his or her application for a permit hereunder, has had a principal place of abode and domicile in and shall have actually and continuously resided within the Town of Southampton for said twelve-month period. Notwithstanding the foregoing and solely for purposes of obtaining a commercial shellfish permit, "resident" shall mean a person who, at the time of application therefor, has a principal place of abode and domicile within the Town of Southampton.
[Amended 1-10-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995]
SHELLFISH
Includes oysters, escallops, hard clams, soft clams, razor clams, crabs, shrimp, all kinds of mussels, skimmer or surf clams, periwinkles, conchs and quarterdeckers, also known as "slipper shells."
STUDENT RESIDENT
A person duly registered in Southampton College and certified by the Dean of the College to have been a student for a period of at least 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for a permit hereunder. Such person shall be deemed to be a resident, as defined herein.
TAKING
The actual taking or catching and all lesser acts, such as but not limited to disturbing, aiding in the harvesting or using any implement or device commonly used to take shellfish or other products of the water, whether the result is taking or not, and includes every attempt to take.
TAXPAYER
A person who owns real property as shown on the assessment rolls of the Town of Southampton but is not a resident as defined herein.
TEMPORARY RESIDENT
A person who is temporarily visiting and occupying living quarters within the Town of Southampton.
TOWN WATERS
Includes all waters and lands below the mean high-water mark in any harbor, bay, pond, lake, creek or river in the Town of Southampton.
TRUSTEES
The Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Southampton.

§ 278-4 Persons allowed to take shellfish; permit required; fees.

A. 
No person shall take shellfish from Town waters unless such person:
(1) 
Is a freeholder, a resident, a temporary resident or a taxpayer, as defined herein.
(2) 
Has obtained a permit as prescribed by this chapter.
B. 
Shellfish may be taken by a freeholder, resident or taxpayer upon first applying for and obtaining a shellfish permit from the Trustees. There shall be no fee for such permit, and such permit shall expire the last day of the third year after the date of issue.
[Amended 2-22-2011 by L.L. No. 6-2011]
C. 
Shellfish may be taken by a temporary resident upon first applying for and obtaining a temporary resident permit from the Trustees, which shall have a duration of 15, 30 or 90 days. Fees for the temporary resident permits shall be set by the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Southampton, which is undertaken outside of the adoption of the Town annual operating budget pursuant to Chapter 8, Budget. Permits shall expire on the date marked thereon.
[Amended 2-9-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010; 2-22-2011 by L.L. No. 6-2011]
D. 
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in Subsection B hereof, shellfish may be taken for commercial purposes by a freeholder or resident over the age of 16 years upon first applying for and obtaining a commercial permit from the Trustees. The fee for such permit shall be $100 and shall be retained by the Trustees. Such permit shall expire on the 31st day of December in the year of issue. A freeholder or resident under the age of 16 may obtain a commercial permit with parental consent. The required proof of qualification for such permit and any restrictions on the use thereof shall be as established from time to time by the Trustees.
[Amended 4-14-1992 by L.L. No. 9-1992; 1-10-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995]
E. 
Shellfish may be taken without obtaining a permit hereunder by one guest of a permittee, if accompanied by such permittee, or by a child under the age of 16 years who is a member of the immediate family of a freeholder, resident or taxpayer. A guest shall be deemed to be one person with the permittee for all purposes hereunder. This subsection shall not apply to a commercial permittee.
F. 
No person shall take shellfish of any kind from the waters of the Town of Southampton by means of or with the aid of any device or implement commonly used in the art or practice of scuba diving or by means of or with the aid of any device designed to permit submergence beneath the surface of the water beyond normal capability. Such taking is permitted with the use of a snorkel device.

§ 278-5 Application for permit; permit requirements.

A. 
Any person qualified as set forth above may obtain a permit for taking shellfish from the waters or lands under the waters of the Town of Southampton by making any application therefor and paying the fee as set forth above.
B. 
Such application shall be made in duplicate, in writing, in the form prescribed by the Trustees and shall state:
[Amended 1-10-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995]
(1) 
The applicant's name.
(2) 
The applicant's residence with street and number, if any.
(3) 
The length of the applicant's residence in the Town of Southampton.
(4) 
The applicant's age, sex, height, color of eyes and hair.
(5) 
The applicant's domicile outside the Town of Southampton.
(6) 
The applicant's real property owned in the Town of Southampton with street and number, if any.
C. 
Any permits issued hereunder shall become void if the holder ceases to be a freeholder, resident, temporary resident or taxpayer.
D. 
Permits shall be in the form prescribed by the Trustees and shall contain the matters set forth upon the application.
[Amended 1-10-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995; 2-22-2011 by L.L. No. 6-2011]
E. 
Permits shall not be transferable, and any person engaged in taking shellfish from the waters and lands under waters of the Town of Southampton shall be obligated to disclose his name, address and current permit number to any enforcement officer. Failure to do so shall be presumptive evidence that such person has not obtained such permit.
F. 
The Trustees, when any permit hereunder is issued, shall deliver simultaneously to the permittee a copy of the Rules and Regulations for the Management and Products of the Waters of the Town of Southampton then in force and effect.[1]
[Amended 1-10-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995; 2-22-2011 by L.L. No. 6-2011]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A340, Management of Town Waters.

§ 278-6 Taking of shellfish restricted to certified waters.

[Amended 10-10-2006 by L.L. No. 51-2006]
The taking of shellfish is restricted to such Town tidal and brackish bodies of water as are certified for the taking of shellfish by the Trustees and the Department of Environmental Conservation of the State of New York.

§ 278-6.1 Freshwater bodies.

[Added 10-10-2006 by L.L. No. 51-2006]
The taking of shellfish from all bodies of freshwater within the Town is prohibited.

§ 278-7 Oysters.

A. 
No oyster shall be taken from the bottom of the waters of the Town of Southampton by any dredge or mechanical device operated or powered either by sail or by an engine or motor.
B. 
No oyster shall be taken from the bottom or from any object affixed or appended to the bottom of the waters of the Town of Southampton between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
C. 
In Mecox Bay, oysters shall be taken only by means of hand-operated oyster tongs or an eagle-claw or scratch rake not to exceed 24 inches in width.

§ 278-8 Escallops.

A. 
Escallops may be taken with a dredge or scrape, such dredge or scrape having an opening at the mouth not to exceed 36 inches in width, when towed by a boat operated by mechanical power or other means, provided that such dredge or scrape is brought aboard without the use of a mechanical device, only from the bottom of the following-described waters within the Town of Southampton:
(1) 
Shinnecock Bay.
(2) 
The Upper and Lower Coves of Sag Harbor.
(3) 
All of the waters from Tiana Bay westerly to the westerly boundary of the Town of Southampton at Seatuck.
B. 
No escallops shall be taken from Town waters between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
C. 
Escallops may be taken from the Town waters of the Town of Southampton during the period from the first Monday in November to March 31, both inclusive, in each year. Bay escallops shall not be taken on Sundays by use of a dredge or other device operated by power.
[Amended 11-27-2007 by L.L. No. 58-2007]
D. 
Only bay escallops having an annual growth line or measuring not less than 2 1/4 inches from the middle of the hinge to the middle of the bill may be taken. Bay escallops which do not meet the requirements of this section shall be returned immediately to the waters where taken.
[Amended 4-8-2008 by L.L. No. 19-2008]
E. 
No escallops shall be taken from Town waters by any device when towed by a boat operated by mechanical power except as heretofore provided in Subsection A of this section.

§ 278-9 Hard clams.

A. 
No clams shall be taken from Town waters between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
B. 
Hard clams measuring less than one inch in thickness shall be returned immediately to the waters of the place where taken.
C. 
No hard clams shall be taken from the bottom of the waters of the Town of Southampton by any tool, instrument or device except the common rake and tongs used and operated by hand alone.
D. 
No hard clams shall be uncovered or located by any mechanically operated or power-driven propeller or by any other mechanically operated or power-driven device or means, and no cover, whether plant life or bottom material, shall be removed by any such mechanically operated or power-driven means.

§ 278-10 Soft clams.

A. 
No clams shall be taken from Town waters between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
B. 
Soft clams measuring less than 1 1/2 inches in length shall be returned immediately to the waters of the place where taken except for propagation purposes in Town waters, and this may be done only after a written permit therefor has been granted by the Town Trustees upon written application therefor, subject to the supervision of said Trustees or a committee thereof.

§ 278-11 Crabs.

[Amended 1-10-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995]
A. 
No person shall take female crabs bearing eggs visible thereon from Town waters or offer for sale or possess the same within the Town of Southampton.
B. 
Crabs may be taken with a dredge, such dredge having an opening at the mouth not to exceed 36 inches in width, when towed by a boat operated by mechanical power or other means, provided that such dredge is brought aboard by hand power without the use of a mechanical device.
C. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall take blue-claw crabs less than five inches point to point by any means from any Town waters.

§ 278-12 Return of fish and starfish to waters.

If any fish and/or crustacea are unintentionally taken contrary to any provision hereof, they shall be returned to the water at once without unnecessary injury. Starfish, drills, drum fish and moon-snails, when taken, shall not be returned alive to the waters of the Town of Southampton.

§ 278-13 Limits.

A. 
Escallops.
(1) 
A commercial permittee may take 10 bushels per day. Two or more such persons occupying the same boat while taking escallops may take, in the aggregate, not more than 20 bushels in one day.
(2) 
All other permittees may take, individually, one bushel per day.
(3) 
Whenever the total catch on board a boat exceeds the authorized limit, all licensed persons on board shall be deemed in violation.
B. 
All other shellfish, as defined herein, except escallops:
(1) 
Commercial permittee: no limit.
(2) 
All other permitees may take, individually, 1/2 bushel of combined shellfish, of which no more than 100 may be hard clams.
[Amended 12-23-1997 by L.L. No. 43-1997]
(3) 
Whenever the total catch on board a boat exceeds the authorized limit, all licensed persons on board shall be deemed in violation.
C. 
No person without a commercial license issued by the Town of Southampton shall take shellfish while in the company of or on board a boat with a commercial permittee.

§ 278-13.1 Management zones.

[Added 1-10-1995 by L.L. No. 4-1995]
A. 
The Trustees may, in their sole discretion, designate any portion of lands under all Town waters as a management zone for such period as they deem necessary to conserve and protect the shellfish located therein and/or to protect the public health and welfare.
B. 
In addition to any other areas that the Trustees may from time to time designate as management zones, all uncertified, conditionally and seasonally certified shellfish lands shall be designated management zones.
C. 
The Trustees may prohibit, restrict and regulate the taking of shellfish from a management zone. In making a determination whether to prohibit, restrict or regulate the taking of shellfish from a management zone, the Trustees shall give due consideration to the sanitary condition of the area, the quantity and size distribution of the shellfish present, the spawning periods and any other factors which may affect the productivity or viability of shellfish within the management zone or interfere with any shellfish management program.
D. 
The designation of management zones and any prohibitions, restrictions or regulations on the taking of shellfish related thereto shall be by resolution of the Trustees and shall be published in two Town-designated newspapers. In addition, any such resolution, so long as it shall remain valid, shall be available for public inspection at the offices of the Trustees and the Town Clerk of the Town of Southampton and shall be posted on the signboard in Southampton Town Hall.
E. 
No person shall violate the prohibitions, restrictions or regulations of the Trustees respecting the taking of shellfish from a management zone.
F. 
This section shall supersede any other provision in this chapter, where at any time inconsistent.

§ 278-14 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 5-23-2006 by L.L. No. 27-2006]
A. 
A first violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $350 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both. A second conviction shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both. A third conviction shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $750 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both. Each day’s continued violation shall constitute a separate additional offense.
B. 
All provisions and penalties herein contained are in addition to and in no way in contradiction or modification of any other provision of any laws or rules and regulations applicable thereto.

§ 278-15 Enforcement.

This chapter shall be enforced by any duly constituted law enforcement agency having jurisdiction within the Town of Southampton and the Bay Constables of the Town of Southampton.

§ 278-16 Amendments.

A. 
The Town Board shall not amend this chapter without obtaining the prior written expression of the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Southampton regarding the proposed amendment. The Town Board shall give written notice of any proposed amendment to the Trustees, who shall furnish the Town Board with their recommendation as to any such proposed amendment within 60 days thereof. Failure to make such recommendation within such sixty-day period shall be deemed as approval of such proposed amendment.
B. 
Upon receipt by the Town Board of a written recommendation by the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Southampton of proposed amendments to this chapter, the Town Board shall schedule a public hearing thereof and shall notify the Trustees, in writing, of the date, time and place of said hearing.