24.0964 Giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus).

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(a) This section applies to the Giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus), also known as Ata’ata-uli or Vaolo.

(b) No person shall:

(1) Possess, deliver, carry, transport or ship by any means whatsoever Giant grouper or the body parts of any such species;

(2) Import, export, sell or offer for sale any such species or body parts of such species; or

(3) Take or kill any such species in American Samoa.

(c) If any Giant grouper is caught or captured, it shall be immediately released, whether dead or alive. If the Giant grouper is captured alive, it shall be released in a manner that affords it the greatest opportunity for survival.

(d) It is not a defense that the Giant grouper was caught or captured inadvertently, as bycatch, or from another fishery.

(e) For purposes of this section, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that any Giant grouper, or part of a Giant grouper, found in possession was possessed or transferred in violation of this section.

(f) Notwithstanding subsection (a), any person who holds a permit issued by the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources to conduct scientific research shall not be subject to the penalties of this section.

History: DMWR regs., Rule 02-12, eff 1 Nov 12.